One of the earliest shows we got wind of Apple working on back in 2017 was a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s classic Amazing Stories anthology series, which came to light around the same time as the then-untitled Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon drama that would ultimately become The Morning Show. However, while Apple put Steven Spielberg up on stage at its big unveil last March to tease the new series, we heard very little more about it, and when Apple TV+ actually launched on Nov. 1, Amazing Stories was surprisingly absent from the debut lineup.
Although Apple started working on the Amazing Stories reboot very early on, it did seem that the project hit a roadblock when Apple lost two of its production staff over “creative differences” that many at the time believed stemmed from Apple’s desire to keep its content more family-friendly. Early reports suggested that showrunner Bryan Fuller was looking to create a more edgy show in the style of Black Mirror, and he and his partner, Hart Hanson, left the project in early 2018 to be replaced by Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis of Lost and Once Upon a Time fame.
Although early reports suggested that Apple was trying to avoid risqué content entirely, its debut lineup of shows would seem to turn that notion on its head. Both The Morning Show and See were rated TV-MA across the board, while For All Makind drifted between TV-14 and TV-MA on a per-episode basis. However, it seems that as far as Apple is concerned, any “edgy” content should serve the storyline, and not simply be thrown in gratuitously for its own sake, as seemed to be the case in the gritty Richard Gere drama that Apple scrapped.
As for Amazing Stories, some inside sources suggested that Apple had initially wanted the series to debut on Nov. 1 with the launch of Apple TV+, but that these production delays held it back. However, it’s also possible that Apple has simply been choosing to spread out its content to ensure that it keeps the momentum going for its service. Whatever the reasons, however, Apple has announced that Amazing Stories will be coming to Apple TV+ on March 6.
The show is said to be a “reimagining of the original anthology series” and unlike Apple’s other recent releases, will only debut with an initial five episodes on March 6, with no specific word on what the release schedule will be for subsequent episodes.
There’s More Coming
Apple’s announcement came as part of its presentation at the Television Critics Association’s 2020 Winter Press Tour, during which the company also debuted a whole slew of other new shows that will be released in the coming months. Some of these we’ve already heard bits and pieces about, but there were a few surprises in here too.
Home Before Dark
We’d heard a few murmurings back in November about this new show, but little solid information other than it being a young detective series, which provided our first clue that Apple could be working on a lot of projects that don’t seem to leak out as readily as others.
Now officially announced for an April 3 release,Home Before Dark is a dramatic mystery series that was inspired by the reporting of a young investigative journalist, Hilde Lysiak, and follows a young girl who leaves Brooklyn to visit a small town that her father originally came from, and discovers an old cold case nobody in the town wants anybody digging into.
Home Before Dark will debut with the first three episodes, and then unfold weekly after that. Despite the story being about a relatively young girl, however, the TV-14 rating suggests that it’s not a kids’ show, and probably has more in common with Stranger Things.
Apple’s latest documentary series has been on the books for a while, so this one isn’t a big surprise, but we now know that it will be coming on April 17. Home will consist of nine episodes, each of which will give viewers a look into some of the world’s most innovative homes.
From what we can tell, however, this isn’t a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” look at opulent mansions, but rather focuses on extremely unique and innovative living spaces around the world. Images already shared include a home in Sweden that looks like a giant greenhouse and one in Bali that appears to be a more rustic treetop home.
Another series that Apple seems to have been more secretive about, Defending Jacob is based on a 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name by William Landay, and is described as a “gripping, character-driven thriller.” It stars Chris Evans in the lead role, along with Michelle Dockery, Jaedan Martell, Cherry Jones, Schreiber, Betty Gabriel, and Sakina Jaffrey, and revolves around a shocking crime that upends a small town in Massachusetts and the life of an assistant district attorney who “finds himself torn between his sworn duty to uphold justice and his unconditional love for his son.”
The series is being produced by Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content, the latter of which is also the studio behind Dickinson. It’s expected to land on Apple TV+ on April 24 in the same format as most of Apple’s other drama series — a three-episode debut followed by subsequent weekly releases.
Apple has also announced the debut of its first original series from the U.K. — something that should help appease European regulators — in the form of a new comedy, Trying that tells the story of a young couple, Jason and Nikki, who want a baby but can’t seem to make it happen. It’s described as a series “about growing up, settling down, and finding someone to love.”
The series will feature eight half-hour episodes and is scheduled to debut on May 1, and while there’s no word on whether all of the episodes will drop at once, this seems likely based on Apple’s approach to comedy series’ thus far.
Scheduled to make its debut on June 5, Dear… is a new documentary from Emmy Award and Peabody Award winner R.J. Cutler that will take a look at some of today’s most iconic figures through the lens of letters written by those whose lives have been changed by their work.
Inspired by Apple’s groundbreaking “Dear Apple” spots, some of the individuals the series will profile include Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem Spike Lee, Stevie Wonder, and even Big Bird.
We’ve known about this one for almost two years, and now it’s set to actually launch on Apple TV+. Apple has yet to offer a specific release date beyond “early summer,” but the new series, which hails from the team behind Bob’s Burgers — Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith — and is being executive produced by Josh Gad of Frozen fame, is an animated musical comedy about a family that lives in New York’s Central Park, and must deal with the daily challenges of life in the world’s most famous park while also fighting to keep a big real estate developer from turning it into condos.
The Second Half of 2020
While this likely completes the Apple TV+ lineup for the first half of 2020, it’s worth noting that the Television Critics Association holds a Summer Press Tour in July, so it seems likely that this is when we’ll hear about Apple’s full lineup for the back half of this year, although it’s entirely possible that certain high-profile shows may get earlier announcements as well.
Further, everything that Apple has already aired has been renewed for a second season, so its seems like a safe bet that Apple’s fall lineup will once again be filed by The Morning Show, For All Mankind, Dickinson, and See, plus whatever other new projects the company has in store.