It took me a few episodes of The Morning Show (Apple TV+) to really warm up to its soapy charms, but when it finally got its hooks into me I was powerless to resist.
The Covid-delayed second season premiered on the streaming service last night and I’m happy to report the new episodes are just as good.
Season one ended in barnstorming fashion with Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon’s breakfast TV hosts taking the nuclear option by publicly naming and
shaming their bosses live on air for presiding over a toxic workplace.
The new series rejoins their characters months later, on New Year’s Eve 2019, when their televised tirade has gone viral and prompted a slew of sackings and suspensions at the station.
The new series examines the fallout of their #metoo moment and introduces a new foe – Covid-19.
In some ways, The Morning Show is a bit of a throwback to the workplace dramas, like The West Wing or ER, that used to be so prevalent on TV in the early 2000s.
Fans of those shows’ walk and talks – those moments when characters pace the hallways spitting out snappy dialogue and one-liners at each other – will be very
Although the overarching theme of sexual harassment is a serious one – and The Morning Show is at its best when it shines an uncomfortable light on the moral ambiguity connected with the topic – let’s not kid ourselves, this is pure soap
opera with glamorous stars, lavish settings and juicy plot twists.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch all 10 episodes of season two and my lips are sealed about where it all heads, but fans of the first series will not be disappointed – and might even shed a few tears along the way.
Apple TV+ offerings haven’t been great so far, but The Morning Show is more than worth the price of subscription.
Searingly powerful look at care homes
Although I was lucky enough not to have any close relatives in care homes during the coronavirus pandemic, I feel as though I have a better understanding of what went on after watching the ferociously powerful one-off drama Help (Channel 4).
Jack Thorne is one of the country’s most humanistic dramatists – This Is England, The Virtues, Kiri and National Treasure are a few of his highlights – but he outdid himself with this grimly realistic look at life inside a care home during the early days of the pandemic.
Everyone involved, including Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham, were simply exceptional.
Expect BAFTAs to arrive by the boatload.
How they spiced up our lives
Although the title makes it sound like a shallow Channel 5 cuttings job, Spice Girls: How Girl Power Changed Britain (Channel 4) was actually a lot more substantial.
Although the new series looks at the creation and careers of the girl power princesses, that was really just a jumping-off point for a broader story about the culture in the mid-to-late ’90s.
I’m a sucker for anything about the particular era, so the fact most Spice Girls songs make my toes curl was beside the point.
It’s an undeniably fascinating origin story even for non-fans like me, so I can only imagine how pleasurable this must be to viewers who came of age to the music of Scary, Baby, Ginger, Sporty and Posh.
Channel 4 served up an ace to viewers
I don’t know how much Channel 4 paid for the rights to show the US Open women’s final, but it was more than worth it.
I can take or leave tennis at the best of times, but watching Britain’s Emma Raducanu power her way to victory was a joy to watch.
I doubt there will be a more enjoyable or tense bit of television this year.
Only downside is I think it took about 10 years off my life.
Film of the week: Lonely Are The Brave (Film4, Tuesday, 12.50pm)
Kirk Douglas called this underseen movie one of his proudest achievements – and it’s easy to see why.
He plays cowboy Jack Burns, a man out of pace with everything around him. When we first meet Jack, he is sleeping in the New Mexico countryside with his stubborn horse Whiskey by his side.
But as a jet roars across the bright blue sky we realise this isn’t the west of old. Things have changed and Burns is a man at a crossroads in life.
The ranges that he loves so much are now split by highways and the world he knows is slipping away. So does he succumb to the new order or does he cling on to the ways of the old West?
With a supporting cast that includes Walter Matthau and the great Gena Rowlands, this gem of ’60s cinema is a delight from start to finish and really should be more well known.