Last December, my iPhone started buzzing with a reminder. "REVIEW APPLE TV PLUS SUBSCRIPTION," the reminder read, jogging my memory that the year-long free trial of Apple's subscription streaming service I had started nearly 12 months earlier was about to come to an end.
At the time, dropping Apple TV Plus before that $4.99 monthly charge kicked in seemed like a no-brainer. The only Apple TV Plus show I had ever watched with any regularity was Ted Lasso, and I had already binged my way through both seasons. I enjoyed the musical series Schmigadoon!, but that seemed like a one-and-done kind of show. Other than the occasional Charlie Brown holiday special — and Apple tended to make those free to stave off public outcry over hiding It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown behind a paywall — I assumed I had explored all the mysteries Apple TV Plus had to offer.
- You too can get an Apple TV Plus free trial
So I cancelled the service, reallocated the $5 each month to other streaming pursuits and resolved to revisit an Apple TV Plus subscription when Ted Lasso Season 3 rolled around. Maybe.
Then, things happened. Lots of things:
- Coda, which sounded like a perfectly pleasant made-for-TV offering you could watch on just about any channel or service, started to generate big-time Oscar buzz, ultimately winning the award for Best Picture. And the completist in me kind of wanted to add it to my list of Oscar-winning best movies I've seen. (Only 52 so far, but give me time.)
- The Tragedy of Macbeth, a movie I am far more interested in, featuring actors I admire and a director whose movies are among my favorites, also arrived as an Apple TV Plus exclusive.
- The Afterparty, a comedy series that seems right up my alley, joined the ranks of Apple TV Plus shows I had an interest in watching, which had been a fairly exclusive club at this point.
- We can add Severance to that mix, too, since I'll want to be caught up before I see if Severance Season 2 can take on all those unanswered questions about the first season.
So yeah — Apple TV Plus, which had very few things I felt compelled to watch just a few months ago, now has a lot of things that have piqued my interest. Certainly, there's enough there to justify the $5 monthly fee and keep me occupied until Ted Lasso's inevitable return. Your mileage may vary, but colleagues at our site are also excited for the Shining Girls release date.
We haven't even discussed the arrival of Apple's Friday night baseball doubleheader, an Apple TV Plus addition that's near and dear to my heart. First, baseball remains my favorite sport, even if my local nine have punted on the concept of fielding a competitive team for the next couple seasons. Second, ever since Apple announced its streaming service, I've been clamoring for Apple TV Plus to add some form of live sports.
For me, live sports aren't the only reason to subscribe to a streaming service, but they are enough to keep me around once I have subscribed. I started paying for Peacock last year because I was taken with several of that service's original shows — first, Girls5eva, and later A.P. Bio, Rutherford Falls and We Are Lady Parts. But by the time I worked my way through all of those shows, the English Premier League season had gotten underway, and that was all the hook I needed to stick around.
Will a couple of baseball games on Friday nights be enough to keep me tethered to Apple TV Plus? It's hard to say at the moment, but it certainly doesn't hurt, especially in those fallow periods where streaming services find themselves in between compelling shows.
I still think Apple TV Plus has more growing to do. Adding a library of movies would help it join the ranks of Peacock and Hulu, two of the best streaming services in my mind. They're also two services I've subscribed to without interruption because of their mix of fun originals, a strong back catalogue of movies and shows and (in Peacock's case at least) live programming. Apple TV Plus could take a page from their book... and based on what I've seen the past few months, it seems like Apple is.
In other streaming news, don't make the same mistake my colleague made: watch this HBO Max show already or feel silly you waited.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.