Apple tv+

Why you should never watch sci-fi series on streaming channels

Jason Dessen, the hero (and, as you’ll discover shortly, anti-hero) of Apple TV’s latest sci-fi caper Dark Matter, is a physics professor at a second-rate university in Chicago. You can tell he’s not that good at his job because he introduces the concept of Schrödinger’s cat (surely the only interesting bit in the entirety of physics) five minutes before the end of a lecture. ‘Oh and the cat dies,’ he says to the uninterested students as they file hurriedly out of class. With no time constraint, sci-fi series on streaming channels can keep spinning you along for all eternity Still, at least he’s happy. His teenage son might have been

Compelling and somewhat heartbreaking: Girls State, on Apple TV+, reviewed

Here’s a fun thought experiment: instead of entrusting the future of American democracy to one of two old men, what if you put it in the hands of 500 teenage girls? Girls State, the sister documentary to Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’s award-winning 2020 film Boys State, follows the events of a week-long civic engagement camp where high-schoolers create an all-female democracy from scratch. A feminist manifesto is much easier to compose than a real solution to culturally ingrained inequality Girls State and Boys State programmes have given argumentative American teens an education in the necessary evil of politics since the 1930s. Each state has its own variations of the

Still the best thing on TV: Apple TV+’s Slow Horses reviewed

Slow Horses is the best thing on television. And it’s now so successful and popular it can afford to launch series three with a sequence worthy of James Bond: Istanbul location budget; spectacular chase sequences involving cars and speedboats with some thrillingly dangerous manoeuvres round a huge container vessel; a beautiful, immaculately dressed female agent meeting (spoiler alert, though to be fair you can see this one coming a mile off) a tragically sticky end. Except it’s better than Bond – not that difficult these days, it must be said – because it is missing all that grim portentousness, over-earnestness and pomposity. The cars are beaten up and gadget-free; the

Spooky, classy dystopian sci-fi: Apple TV+’s Silo reviewed

Back once more to our favourite unhappy place: the dystopian future. And yet again it seems that the authorities have been lying to us about the true nature of reality. This time – in Silo – the lie concerns the nature of the world outside the enormous silo in which our heroes and about 10,000 other survivors have been hiding for the past 100-odd years since some nameless apocalypse. Is it really as dangerous as the Powers That Be say? Or is this an illusion, maintained over a century of relentless official propaganda, designed to keep the enclosed populace frightened and in check? Silo began life in 2011 as a

The dark side of Ted Lasso

You’ll know where you are with Ted Lasso – the third season of which has just started on Apple TV – as soon as you hear the Marcus Mumford co-written theme song. It peddles a sort of sub-Coldplay uplift, with a lot of big, meaningless anthemic ‘yeah’s in the chorus. Bright, accessible, catchy and instantly forgettable, you still enjoy hearing it every time you watch a new episode. And that’s the show in microcosm: cheery, amusing and utterly inconsequential. Yet somehow the Jason Sudeikis vehicle has become not only Apple TV’s biggest hit to date, but the most Emmy-nominated comedy in recent years. It has won for everyone from Sudeikis (who has

Didn’t deserve an Oscar: Coda reviewed

This year the Oscar for best film went to the drama Coda – ‘Child of Deaf Adults’ – but the ceremony will now probably only be remembered for Wsscrfmhw (‘Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock For Mocking His Wife’). And we thought that mix-up over envelopes was exciting! But back to the film, which beat the favourite, The Power of the Dog, although Jane Campion did win best director, making her the third woman ever to do so. That’s three women in 93 years of the awards. If we carry on at that rate, by the turn of the next century it may even be five. Coda is only viewable on

The best TV spy drama since Smiley’s People: Apple TV+’s Slow Horses reviewed

How thriller writers must miss the Cold War! Early John le Carré and Len Deighton had it easy when trying to create a convincingly menacing enemy: the Soviets, obviously. But their successors are forced to go through all manner of desperate contortions to generate their bad guy McGuffin. They can’t do Muslims because that’s Islamophobic; they can’t do the Chinese because the entertainment industry (like everywhere) is too in thrall to the CCP. So they end up promoting paper tigers like ‘right-wing extremism’, as Mick Herron does in the first of his Slow Horses series. Herron has been rightly hailed as the new Le Carré. His black-comedy novels about a