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The 30 Best Shows and Movies on Apple TV+ Right Now (May 2022)

I hope you like giant monsters!

tim.jpg
Tim Surette

Apple TV+ is known for having some of the biggest celebrities star in its shows, but now it's going after the biggest creatures, too. The two newest shows on our list of the best TV shows and movies to watch on Apple TV+ both focus on frighteningly monstrous animals. Prehistoric Planet is a Planet Earth-style docuseries about dinosaurs, perfect for that 6-year-old (or 6-year-old at heart) in your life, and The Essex Serpent is a Victorian romance that sees Claire Danes searching for a legendary sea serpent in England. 

They join other non-monster additions to the list, including the espionage thriller Tehran, the sci-fi murder mystery Shining Girls, and the dark comedy Roar. Look further down the list and you'll find a Best Picture winner, a fantastic family movie, and an Emmy-winning comedy.  

This list was last updated May 23; newer additions are at the top.


Prehistoric Planet

For fans of: Thunder lizards, better than average CGI, David Attenborough
Number of seasons: 1

Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet

Apple TV+

The whole "it's a regular nature show, but with dinosaurs" thing has been attempted many times ever since we first caught a glimpse of a brachiosaurus in the original Jurassic Park. The results have been mixed, with most failing to deliver good-looking dinos, but technology is finally at a place where computers can whip up herds of dinosaurs that take a second glance to check if they're real or not. And that realism is important for the emotional impact; ever see a baby pterosaur in a life-or-death race with a predator? With Father Nature David Attenborough narrating and five episodes divided up by biomes, it's the closest we've come to Planet Earth for dinosaurs. -Tim Surette [Trailer]       


The Essex Serpent

For fans of: Mythological creatures, star-crossed romance, picturesque English countrysides
Number of seasons: 1

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddlseton, The Essex Serpent

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddlseton, The Essex Serpent

Apple TV+

Apple TV+'s adaptation of Sarah Perry's 2016 novel, in which a sea serpent — or at least the possibility of one — terrorizes Essex, England, in Victorian times, is the rare period romance and folk horror combo packed with star power. Claire Danes plays the naturalist hunting down the monster and Tom Hiddleston plays the reverend who is sort of the Scully to Danes' Mulder, while the townsfolk start to blame Danes' character for everything, including the possible presence of the serpent. What starts as a monster hunt quickly becomes a witch hunt. Lots of juicy metaphors here! The six-episode season is more of a simmer than a boil, but it's gorgeously shot and the performances are excellent. -Tim Surette [Trailer]      


Tehran

For fans of: Homeland, thrillers, stress, espionage
Number of seasons: 2

Glenn Close and Niv Sultan, Tehran

Glenn Close and Niv Sultan, Tehran

Apple TV+

Aside from Amazon's Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and whatever passes for a thriller on NBC these days, American television has mostly backed away from international espionage dramas that were once such a hot ticket. To get your spy thrills, you need to look elsewhere, like the Israeli spy thriller Tehran. The International Emmy winner for Best Drama last year, Tehran follows Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), a female Mossad agent navigating a world of espionage, double crosses, and her cultural quandary as she was born in Iran. After attempting to shut down Iran's plans for atomic weapons in Season 1, Glenn Close joined the cast in Season 2 as a British agent. -Tim Surette [Trailer]         


The Big Conn

For fans of: Scams and the colorful characters who pull them
Number of seasons: 1

The Big Conn

The Big Conn

Apple TV+

The spring of scam TV continues with The Big Conn, a docuseries about the biggest Social Security fraud case in history. Colorful lawyer Eric C. Conn was Appalachia's answer to Saul Goodman until he was imprisoned for stealing over half a billion dollars from the American government; the four-part series goes into detail on his outrageous lifestyle and the people he hurt. And his name is Conn! Con is in the name! Now I can never ask anyone to call me "the Big Conn." -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]


Shining Girls

For fans of: Brooding murder mysteries, sci-fi twists, early '90s Chicago indie rock
Number of seasons: 1

Elisabeth Moss and Wagner Moura, Shining Girls

Elisabeth Moss and Wagner Moura, Shining Girls

Apple TV+

Somewhere underneath Elisabeth Moss's innocent exterior is a goth girl with a love for the morbid. Following dark roles in The Handmaid's TaleTop of the Lake, and The Invisible Man, things don't get any cheerier in Shining Girls, in which she plays a woman working at the Chicago Sun-Times who is hunting down a serial killer (Jamie Bell) who previously assaulted her during a murder attempt. The twist here is that she finds herself slipping through different realities — multiverse? wormhole? an extreme practical joke? — with the only real constant being the killer and the case. Wagner Moura plays the reporter helping her, and Chris Chalk plays a Times photographer who is also someone a lot closer to her, at least in one reality. Moss is her usual excellent self, Bell is certifiably creepy, and it checks all the boxes for being a competent murder mystery. Plus, Leonardo DiCaprio produced it! -Tim Surette [Trailer]         


More recommendations:

Roar

For fans of: Wild comedy, stories about women being weird, excellent casts
Number of seasons: 1

Alison Brie, Roar

Alison Brie, Roar

Apple TV+

The trailer for Roar, a surreal new anthology series from the creators of GLOW, opens with Nicole Kidman stuffing a whole photo in her mouth and eating it, which is probably all fans of ambitious TV need to hear to be interested in Roar. The eccentric comedy told from female POVs also features ghosts, a wife returning her husband, and a woman who has a relationship with a duck. Look, we said "eccentric" and we meant it. Episodes also star the likes of Merritt WeverCynthia Erivo, and GLOW alumni Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]        


Slow Horses

For fans of: Spy dramas, incredibly British things, Gary Oldman rippin' toots
Number of seasons: 1

Gary Oldman, Slow Horses

Gary Oldman, Slow Horses

Apple TV+

It's been a bit since we've had a good spy drama, which makes Slow Horses a refreshing watch in these times of true crime and tech CEOs behaving badly. The series follows a group of MI5 agents who have been relegated to Slough House because of past mistakes, where they're supposed to disappear and do grunt work while superstar agents get the glory. Gary Oldman plays the team leader, a disgruntled man who can no longer give an F about anything, while Jack Lowden plays the new member of Slough House who isn't willing to fade away. It's darkly funny and thrilling. [Trailer]     



Severance

For fans of: The weekend, r/antiwork, brain-melting thrillers
Number of seasons: 1

Adam Scott, Severance

Adam Scott, Severance

Apple TV+

The whole idea of work-life balance gets revisited with a technological twist in this sci-thriller that will make you want to quit your day job. Mark (Adam Scott) works at Lumon Industries, where a new procedure implants a chip into employees' brains that severs their consciousness into their work life and personal life, splitting their life in two so that neither knows what the other does. Obviously, Lumon is up to no good, and as the employees get closer to the truth, the line between their work lives and personal lives blurs. Scott is joined by a tremendous cast that includes Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken, and Ben Stiller and Aoife McArdle work magic behind the camera with one of the best-looking shows in a while. It is WEIRD, yet weaves a complicated conspiracy that will have you hooked. [Trailer



The Sky Is Everywhere

For fans of: Teen love, teen grief, trees, emotion visualized

Jacques Colimon and Grace Kaufman, The Sky Is Everywhere

Jacques Colimon and Grace Kaufman, The Sky Is Everywhere

Apple TV+

Two emotions get the most out of teenagers: grief and love. They collide in A24's teen romance The Sky Is Everywhere, a sensory triumph from director Josephine Decker, who melds imagination with stark reality when a high school girl, Lennie (Grace Kaufman), is torn between two boys after her older sister's sudden death. Decker bounces between truly fantastical moments — a new boy at school's trumpet literally drops waves of musical notes that send those who hear it swooning and collapsing — with the natural beauty of the California Redwoods — Decker uses the light between the trees as brushstrokes to illuminate her characters — for a film that's hard to take your eyes off of. While the story itself is packed with teen melodrama, it's the raw emotion and visual storytelling that make this worth a watch if you're pining for an escape, not to mention the love triangle, with one of those points being Lennie's sister's ex-boyfriend. Does she choose the one who understands her grief, or the one who may be her ticket out of it? [Trailer



The Afterparty

For fans of: Murder mysteries, your favorite comedians, genre switching
Number of seasons: 1

Sam Richardson and Ben Schwartz, The Afterparty

Sam Richardson and Ben Schwartz, The Afterparty

Apple TV+

This comedic murder mystery limited series combines the plot mechanics of Knives Out with the sense of humor of an Upright Citizens Brigade sketch. The all-star cast (who, even if they're not super-famous, are all stars) includes Ben SchwartzSam RichardsonIlana GlazerJohn EarlyTiffany HaddishIke Barinholtz, and Jamie Demetriou. Most of them are playing old classmates of a pop star (Dave Franco) who was murdered at his own afterparty for his high school reunion. They all had a motive, and each episode tells a different party guest's side of the story from their POV, which is further separated from the others by being cloaked in a different movie genre. It's very silly, but it's also a genuine murder mystery, with an investigation run by unlikely buddy cops Haddish and Early. It's directed by Christoper Miller of the acclaimed filmmaking duo Lord & Miller (The Lego Movie21 Jump Street) in a solo effort. -Liam Mathews [Trailer



The Tragedy of Macbeth

For fans of: Willy Shakespeare, a Coen brother, Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Apple TV+

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star in this adaptation of Shakespeare's Scottish play. It's the first solo film from a Coen brother — McDormand's husband Joel directs, adapts, and produces along with her. If you love art movies, there's not much else that needs to be said to get you to watch this. I mean, it's Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as Lord and Lady Macbeth. It's kind of historic, in all its black-and-white, Expressionist glory. It was nominated for three Oscars and didn't win any, which only bolsters its artistic credibility.  -Liam Mathews [Trailer



Dr. Brain

For fans of: Science fiction, the afterlife, surreal dreamlike sequences
Number of seasons: 1

Lee Sun-kyun, Dr. Brain

Lee Sun-kyun, Dr. Brain

Apple TV+

Apple TV+'s first Korean drama is a science-fiction series about brains. Specifically, what would happen if the contents within could be transferred to the mind of another. It's set up from the perspective of a renowned brain scientist (Parasite's Lee Sun-kyun) who discovers a method of moving memories from one brain to another, even if the source brain is from a corpse. That comes in handy when he's trying to figure out what happened when tragedy strikes his wife and child. But as is usually the case when you mess with the natural order, it doesn't go smoothly. These memory transfers play out as dream sequences, leading to some of the most visually astounding TV sequences of the year. [Trailer]



The Velvet Underground

For fans of: Art films, innovation, rock band turbulence

The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground

Apple TV+

Film auteur Todd Haynes directed this documentary on one of America's most groundbreaking rock bands, The Velvet Underground. But rather than the simple talking heads, live footage, repeat structure used in most rock docs, Haynes gets to the essence of the band by making the film an arthouse gem that Lou Reed and company would have loved. Don't worry, it's still loaded with VU tunes and insight into the tumultuous relationship between Reed and his bandmates, it just looks extra trippy while doing so. Put simply, this is one of the best music documentaries ever made. [Trailer]



Acapulco

For fans of: Hard work, sunny vibes, telenovelas
Number of seasons: 1

Enrique Arrizon, Acapulco

Enrique Arrizon, Acapulco

Apple TV+

If you need to wash the day away, you can't do much better than checking into the Las Colinas resort in Acapulco, the setting for this comedy about a young man who gets a dream job working at a high-end resort in Mexico. The 1980s-set bilingual comedy -- it's about 50/50 English and Spanish -- is like Jane the Virgin meets The White Lotus meets How I Met Your Mother, as Maximo (Enrique Arrizon) works his way up from pool boy in 1984 to wealthy hotelier in the present-day timeline. It's charming, it's sunny, and it's got a pair of lounge singers who belt out '80s classics in Spanish. [Trailer]



Foundation

For fans of: Hard science-fiction, great special effects
Number of seasons: 1

Leah Harvey, Foundation

Leah Harvey, Foundation

Apple TV+

Isaac Asimov's epic sci-fi novels finally get adapted for the screen courtesy of David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman, and the result is the visually spectacular hard sci-fi series that Apple TV+ has been looking for. The series follows a ruling empire in the future whose grip on control comes at risk when a mathematician (Jared Harris) uses a mathematical model to predict the empire's demise and mankind's descent into dark ages. Critics are split on the overall quality of the show, but everyone agrees that it looks great! [Trailer]



CODA

For fans of: Heartwarming movies, Deaf culture

Emilia Jones, Coda

Emilia Jones, Coda

Apple TV+

A remake of the 2014 French film La Famille Bélier, CODA (which stands for Child of Deaf Adults) is a coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old girl (Emilia Jones) who is the only hearing member of her Deaf family, and must choose between pursuing her own dreams of becoming a singer or helping her mother and father with the family business. It's a crowd-pleasing tearjerker, with a wonderful performance from Jones. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, the first movie released by a streaming service to do so. [Trailer]



Physical

For fans of: Jazzercise, internal dialogue filled with nasty insults
Number of seasons: 1

Rose Byrne, Physical

Rose Byrne, Physical

Apple TV+

If you miss Netflix's GLOW, you might find some solace in this 1980s-set dramedy that follows a housewife (Rose Byrne) who finds strength in the aerobics craze that's just starting to sweep across the nation's malls. But don't expect the cheery underdog story from GLOW; Byrne's character is struggling with bulimia and spends much of her days hurling nasty body-shaming insults at other women. Byrne excels in the role as an antihero breaking free from the expectations of a traditional housewife in her own morally questionable way. [Trailer]



Schmigadoon!

For fans of: Musical comedies, corn pudding
Number of seasons: 1

Schmigadoon!

Schmigadoon!

Apple TV+

Despite being perfectly enjoyable, musical comedy series don't have the most successful track record (Galavant, where art thou?). But Apple TV+'s genre-busting series Schmigadoon! is bucking the trend in a good way. Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong star as a couple who come across a magical town where everyone seems stuck in a 1940s musical. They get stuck in the town, which makes it a bit of a Twilight Zone episode or horror movie where everyone sings about corn pudding. Also, Martin Short plays a leprechaun. This show is goofy on the outside, but secretly twisted. [Trailer]



Losing Alice

For fans of: Psychological and erotic thrillers, getting mindf---ed, delicious subtext
Number of seasons: 1

Lihi Kornowski, Losing Alice

Lihi Kornowski, Losing Alice

Apple TV+

One of the most intriguing new releases of 2021, the Israeli psychological drama is lathered up in erotically charged mystery that takes cues from the greats of the film world. Writer-director Sigal Avin leans on Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, and more for influences in her story about an aging female director (Ayelet Zurer) who becomes obsessed with a young, seductive screenwriter (Lihi Kornowski) and the film that might save her career but destroy her marriage. It's wonderfully shot and loaded with beautiful people, if that's your thing. [Trailer]



Ted Lasso

For fans of: Making fun of Americans, making fun of the British, sports, feeling good
Number of seasons: 2 (renewed for Season 3)

Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Apple TV+

If any show can be credited with restoring faith in humanity after the whirlwind of 2020, it is Ted Lasso. The titular Ted (Jason Sudeikis) is an American college football coach who heads to England to coach an actual football (soccer, for the uninitiated) team. While the setup seems like a farce -- Ted's hiring is part of an elaborate scheme by an embittered woman looking to ruin the beloved football team of her cheating ex-husband -- Ted's seemingly unshakeable good nature and determination to see the best in everyone, even those actively trying to do him harm, is downright inspiring. He doesn't just bring a glow to everyone around him; he leaves viewers with hope that things can get better and that doing your best is enough. He's the hero we didn't know we needed. [Trailer] -Megan Vick



Mythic Quest

For fans of: Workplace comedies, the video game industry
Number of seasons: 2 (+special episodes)

Mythic Quest

Apple TV +

 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Rob McElhenney is smart enough to know that video games are funny, but they're not to be made fun of. Gamers are legion, after all. The game biz gets a loving sendup in Mythic Quest (which was subtitled Raven's Banquet in Season 1) without making games the joke, as McElhenney plays the egotistical creative director of a popular MMORPG about to release its first expansion pack. There's a fantastic cast that includes F. Murray AbrahamDanny Pudi, and Charlotte Nicdao, a midseason standalone episode that's a great story of creativity vs. profits, and a bonus episode made during the pandemic that's probably the best quarantine episode of the COVID era. [Trailer]



Boys State

For fans of: Politics, Lord of the Flies, the future of America, chaos

René Ortero, Boy's State

René Ortero, Boy's State

Apple TV+

Boys State was one of the best documentaries of 2020. The film follows the annual Boys State, a summer camp (this particular one's in Texas) sponsored by the American Legion in which more than 1,000 high school boys come together to form their own two-party government, complete with elections, voting, and mudslinging. It's a remarkable look at the pitfalls of our current political system, hyper-masculinity among teen boys, and the future of America (it looks like we're in both good and bad hands). Beyond the fascinating subject matter, the filmmaking is superb and gorgeous, feeling more like a scripted movie than a guerilla-shot documentary, which is a compliment in this case. If you like Lord of the Flies or Kid Nation (which, how can you not?), you're going to love this. [Trailer]



Dickinson

For fans of: Period pieces with anachronisms, Wiz Khalifa
Number of seasons: 3

Dickinson

Dickinson

Michael Parmelee, Apple

Every early headline about Dickinson, an Apple TV+ show about Emily Dickinson, felt like a fever dream: John Mulaney guest starring as Thoreau! Wiz Khalifa playing Death! The show, which stars Hailee Steinfeld as the great American poet in her younger years, is the sort of beautiful gamble that could either soar or fall on its face, with almost no room for anything in between. It worked out — Dickinson totally rules. A delirious, anachronistic period piece, it's both a very funny show and a surreal elegy for all the great art lost to misogyny. It's as bold and haunting as the work of its heroine. [Trailer] -Kelly Connolly



For All Mankind

For fans of: Putting boots on the moon (and Mars), space travel, the volatile politics of the '60s and '70s
Number of seasons: 2 (renewed for Season 3)

For All Mankind

For All Mankind

Seth Gordon, Apple

Few moments in history captured the attention of the world like the moon landing in 1969, but what if that hype never waned? For All Mankind asks how the great space race would have changed had Russia landed a tin can on the moon before the United States and the competition for space superiority stayed heated for years after. The alternative history drama comes from Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore and follows not just the men and women (yes, in this alternate history, progressiveness refreshingly came earlier) who went into the stratosphere, but the astronauts' significant others and eggheads back at mission control trying to make permanent residence on the moon. It's great for space geeks and anyone into speculative fiction. Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Wrenn Schmidt, and Sarah Jones star. [Trailer]



Little America

For fans of: The immigrant experience, anthologies, crying your eyes out in a good way
Number of seasons: 1 (renewed for Season 2, date TBD)

The Cowboy, Little America

Apple TV +

If you need a nice pick-me-up from the ills of the world, this anthology series from Kumail NanjianiEmily V. Gordon, and Master of None's Alan Yang is a good bet. Each episode of Little America is based on the true stories of immigrants in America, showing off their successes and experiences in humorous and heartwarming fashion, like the Indian spelling bee whiz who ran his parents' hotel after they were deported and petitioned Laura Bush to help him get them back. The best part of the show is that it focuses on the systemic challenges they face rather than on hate from racist individuals, and the stories vary wildly so they don't feel repetitive. [Trailer]



The Morning Show

For fans of: The Newsroom, #MeToo, A-listers
Number of seasons: 2

The Morning Show

The Morning Show

Apple

When Apple TV+ launched, it seemed to do so on the back of The Morning Show, its big-budget, high-profile, star-studded drama that was going to win every award out there. Jennifer Aniston AND Reese Witherspoon starring in the same show as rival anchors for a popular morning show? Well, reviews were mixed, and early episodes were less than impressive, but the show righted many of its wrongs as its season continued. And though its central plot about a male anchor (Steve Carell) getting fired after sexual harassment allegations against him may seem a little dated given how much has happened in the last two years, it's a conversation that needs to continue. Plus, did we mention Aniston and Witherspoon? [Trailer]



Servant

For fans of: Psychological horror from M. Night Shyamalan, babies, food
Number of seasons: 3 (renewed for fourth and final season, date TBD)

Servant

Servant

The claustrophobic thriller Servant, created by Tony Basgallop and executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, began as a wild-eyed but mechanically precise story about a family unraveling in the wake of a tragedy. In Season 1, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell) hired live-in nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) to care for the lifelike "reborn doll" that a grieving Dorothy believed was her son — only for the doll to somehow become a living baby. Now, the show has gone full-on supernatural as Leanne's true nature has come out. It's the details that make this show stand out, like the rich wallpaper of the Turners' Philadelphia brownstone, the wet, wet, shoes of Leanne's weird uncle (Boris McGiver), and the most unsettling food design since Hannibal. [Trailer] -Kelly Connolly



Tiny World

For fans of: Planet Earth, adorable wittle cuddle creatures
Number of seasons: 2

Tiny World

Tiny World

Apple TV+

The BBC and Discovery no longer corner the market on nature documentaries, and Apple TV+ is pushing to release some of the best series about wildlife that don't feature Sir David Attenborough's narration. This series puts the microscope on the smaller creatures in the world, exposing a world and struggle for survival not often seen in other shows of its ilk. Paul Rudd, Ant-Man himself, appropriately narrates the technological marvel featuring minuscule frogs, beetles, birds, and more. Apple TV+ is also home to the wonderful nature documentary film The Elephant Queen, which follows a herd of elephants and other animals in Africa. [Trailer]



Visible: Out on Television

For fans of: The LGBTQ+ community, the progressive movement, television history

Asia Kate Dillon, Visible: Out on Television

Asia Kate Dillon, Visible: Out on Television

Apple

Apple TV+'s expansive and carefully paced history of LGBTQ+ people on TV deserves kudos for its thoughtful, authoritative, and exhausting summation. Even if it weren't packed with the most well-known queer people on TV, Visible: Out on Television does an excellent job of tracking how gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary people have been depicted on television from its earliest days — including the frantic, hyper-paranoid news reports of the 1950s declaring queer people a menacing threat. It's practically a college course, methodically chronicling representation throughout the decades through archival footage, news reports, and the like, but its abundant first-person testimonials from practically every living LGBTQ+ TV star you can think of (plus allies like OprahBilly Crystal and more) make Visible: Out on Television an invaluable educational tool for everyone who watches. [Trailer] –Malcolm Venable



Wolfwalkers

For fans of: The wonderful Cartoon Saloon films, wolves, Irish accents

Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers

Apple TV+

The beautifully animated film Wolfwalkers came out in theaters in November, but there's about a 99% chance you didn't see it because of, well, obvious reasons. It's the third in a series of films based on Irish folklore from the studio Cartoon Saloon, following the critically acclaimed The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea (highly recommended), and tells the story of a young girl who heads to Ireland with her dad to kill off the last wolf pack but ends up befriending a young girl who is part of a tribe of humans who become wolves at night. It's less Disney and Pixar and more Hayao Miyazaki, and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Pop some corn and gather the family for movie night. [Trailer]

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