Apple TV Plus has rapidly risen to become one of the best streaming services. It's quickly become my favorite. If I had to pick one streaming service to keep, it'd probably be Apple TV Plus. Apple has chosen quality over quantity when it comes to its shows, and I've found that a lot of the shows I've liked the most over the past few years have come from Apple TV Plus — not Netflix or Disney Plus.
But despite not having the deepest content library, there are quite a few Apple TV Plus shows that have slipped through the cracks and missed out on the mainstream hype that others — namely Ted Lasso — have achieved. And these aren't shows people missed out on because they weren't good. All five are critically well-regarded and I've personally found them worth watching.
So without further ado, here are my picks for the five best Apple TV Plus shows you’re probably not watching. Hopefully after reading this, they'll be the five best Apple TV shows you're watching right now.
Despite the fact that I cannot shut up about it, Slow Horses definitely still fits in the “underrated” category. But after you watch it you’ll understand why this is one of the best TV shows out there — period. And if you start watching now, you’ll be ready for season 3, which is dropping on November 29. The trailer is out on YouTube now and I for one and beyond excited for the next batch of six episodes.
Slow Horses stars Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, a washed-up spy babysitting MI5’s rejects. The Slough House chief wants nothing more than to sit at his desk, drink, smoke and spew insults at his subordinates. It’s also a role made for Oldman, who executes it to perfection. Plus, if you like a nice, tightly-paced show, each season is only six episodes so there’s no filler. You’ll be through the entire series before you know it.
Despite an incredible cast that includes Jason Segel, Jessica Williams and Harrison Ford, Shrinking doesn’t get discussed the way Ted Lasso does. And that’s odd because Bill Lawrence — who created Ted Lasso — is the genius mind behind this clever dramatic comedy. He’s also joined by Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent from Ted Lasso) and Jason Segel in the writers’ room, so it won’t surprise you when I tell you that this show is incredibly well-written.
And that writing is brilliantly executed by Shrinking's cast. Segel in particular is hilarious and charming as therapist Jimmy Laird, who is trying to get other people through their lives while having to deal with the grief of losing his wife. Spoiler alert: it’s not going great. That is until he finally snaps and starts telling his patients what he really thinks, which leads to some initial breakthroughs. Segel and Williams both received Emmy nominations for their performances, so don’t pass up this potentially award-winning comedy next time you need something to watch.
Loot stars Maya Rudolph as Molly Novak, wife to tech billionaire John Novak (Adam Scott) until she catches him cheating on her during her 45th birthday party. After her divorce, she’s suddenly left with $87 billion to spend and after some soul searching (partying) ends up at the foundation that she forgot she even founded. She then decides to make something of herself and the Foundation to prove that she doesn’t need her cheating ex.
In full honesty, Loot isn’t quite as strong as Shrinking. If you had to pick only one comedy from this list to watch, I’d watch Shrinking. But if you want something to put on instead of Friends or The Office for the thousandth time, Loot is definitely a great choice. While it lacks Shrinking’s depth, it is undeniably hilarious thanks to an excellent cast of comedic actors and — of course — Rudolph herself.
Pachinko is one of the best TV shows I’ve watched in years. Based on a book of the same name. The story follows a Korean family across three generations, focusing on point-of-view characters Sunja (Youn Yuh-jung [old]/Kim Min-ha [young]), the grandmother of the family, and Solomon (Jin Ha), her grandson who grew up in Japan but studied in America. It starts with Sunja as a young woman in Korea and follows her to the present day with her family now living in Japan.
In the backdrop of all this is the struggle of Koreans adapting to Japanese rule before World War II and then trying to survive in Japan where they are looked down on as an “other.” But not all family members go through that struggle in the same way. Solomon’s father Baek (Soji Arai) takes to life in Japan easier than Sunja, and Solomon knows nothing other than being nearly fully assimilated into Japanese society. The show has an incredible trick to showcase these differences too. In Pachinko Korean subtitles are in yellow, Japanese subtitles are in blue and English subtitles are in white. Watching which languages the characters use with each other goes a long way to showing you a glimpse into who they are.
I was sick recently, stuck in bed with nothing to do but binge TV shows. And I had heard about Foundation, Apple’s adaptation of the famed Isaac Asimov series of novels. So I thought, “Why not give it a shot?” Fast forward a few days later and I had binged the entire 20 hours of episodes. I couldn’t stop watching.
While the show differs greatly from the novels in some cases, fans of the science fiction genre will still want to watch this show. And if you’re more of a casual TV watcher, the show is (and this is super reductive) what Dune would be like if it was a TV show. There’s a galactic empire starting to crumble, impressive technology and just a bit of fantastical mysticism powering it all. Plus, the second season has a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so it only gets better the more you watch.