Sigmund Judge

Billie Eilish Film Continues Positive Viewing Figures Trend for Apple TV+

Billie Eilish in '...The World's A Little Blurry' courtesy of Apple

R.J. Cutler's 'Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry' was by-far-and-a-way the most successful single piece of Apple TV+ content amongst young adults since the Apple streaming service launched 15 months ago.

According to a Deadline report, the Billie Eilish documentary film which premiered on Thursday, February 25th in over 100 countries drew a record-breaking 33% of new viewers to the service with close to half of that viewership coming from international viewers outside of the US including U.K., Australia, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Russia, the Netherlands, France, and more, per Apple.

Whilst Apple do not provide viewing data by-the-numbers for the service, this latest report follows on from similarly positive reports following the season 2 premiers of 'Dickinson,' 'Servant' and 'For All Mankind.' Apple TV+ has also seen a host of awards recognition increasing interest in its original series 'Ted Lasso' and original features 'On The Rocks,' 'Greyhound' and 'Wolfwalkers' - with the much-lauded animation today nominated for no-less-than 10 Annie Awards.

'Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry' tells the true coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global superstardom and comes highly recommended.

Sigmund Judge

Apple Release Trailer for ‘Calls,’ Coming to TV+ March 19th

Apple TV+ have released a teaser trailer for the upcoming series 'Calls' which is set to debut on the prestigious streaming service later this month.

Based on the French series of the same name by Timothée Hochet, 'Calls' promises to be a groundbreaking experience that masterfully uses audio and minimal visuals to tell bone-chilling stories centred around an apocalyptic event.

Calls - Official Trailer | Apple TV+

The Fede Álvarez ('Don’t Breathe') directed series is a Canal+ and Apple TV+ co-production consisting of nine episodes featuring the voices of Nick Jonas, Lily Collins, Rosario Dawson, Joey King, Pedro Pascal, Mark Duplass, Karen Gillan, Judy Greer, Aubrey Plaza, Danny Pudi, Paul Walter Hauser, Jaeden Martell, Riley Keough, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ben Schwartz, Jennifer Tilly, and more.

Apple TV+ subscribers can add 'Calls' to their Up Next queue in anticipation of the show's nine episode debut on March 19th.

Sigmund Judge

Apple TV+ Orders 'Roar,' a Starstudded 'Female-Driven Anthology' from Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch

Apple TV+ has ordered 'Roar,' a new anthology series starring Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Merritt Wever, and Alison Brie. Apple introduced the upcoming eight half-hour limited anthology series via press release.

This is the first project to be green-lit by Apple following last years overall deal with 'Glow' creators Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive. Bruna Papandrea and Nicole Kidman are set to executive produce having worked together previously on the international hit 'Big Little Lies.'

'Roar' is based on a darkly comic 2018 book of short stories by Cecilia Ahern ('P.S. I Love You') which explores - sometimes in fantastical ways - how women of all kinds navigate the world today.

Apple TV+ orders star-studded female-driven anthology series “Roar” from creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, and executive producers Nicole Kidman and Bruna Papandrea

Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Merritt Wever, Alison Brie and more to star in new Apple Original series

Apple TV+ today announced a series order for “Roar,” a new anthology series of darkly comic feminist fables that will star Academy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Nicole Kidman; Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo; Emmy Award winner Merritt Wever; Golden Globe nominee Alison Brie; and more to be announced soon.

Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch (“GLOW”), and based on a book of short stories by Cecelia Ahern, “Roar” is a collection of eight half-hour genre-bending episodes, told from a uniquely female point of view.

The series is the first to be released under Mensch and Flahive’s overall deal with Apple.

In addition to starring, Kidman will executive produce alongside Per Saari via Blossom Films. Emmy Award-winning producer Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky and Allie Goss will executive produce on behalf of Made Up Stories. Flahive and Mensch will create, showrun and serve as executive producers. Theresa Park will serve as executive producer for her Per Capita Productions and author Cecelia Ahern will executive produce through Greenlight Go. “Roar” will be produced for Apple by Endeavor Content.

“Roar” will join a growing lineup of Apple Original anthology series including the Film Independent Spirit, GLAAD and NAACP Image Award-nominated “Little America.” The new series will also make its global debut on Apple TV+ alongside highly anticipated female-led Apple Originals including “Physical,” a new dramedy from creator Annie Weisman, and starring and executive produced by Rose Byrne that will premiere this summer; “The Last Thing He Told Me,” starring Julia Roberts, and written by Oscar winner Josh Singer and Laura Dave; “High Desert,” from creator and writer Nancy Fichman, and starring and executive produced by Patricia Arquette; “Lessons in Chemistry,” starring and executive produced by Brie Larson, and written and executive produced by written by Susannah Grant; the second season of Emmy, Critics Choice and SAG award-winning and Golden Globe Award-nominated series “The Morning Show”; the second season of NAACP Image Award-winning “Truth Be Told,” from creator Nichelle Tramble Spellman, and starring Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson; and more.

Apple TV+ is home to award-winning Apple Originals from today’s most imaginative storytellers. Apple TV+ offers premium, compelling drama and comedy series, feature films, groundbreaking documentaries, and kids and family entertainment, and is available to watch across all your favorite screens. After its launch on November 1, 2019, Apple TV+ became the first all-original streaming service to launch around the world, and has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service. Apple Originals have been honored with 271 awards nominations and 71 wins in just over a year, including Critics Choice Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Daytime and Primetime Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, an NAACP Image Award, a Peabody Award and more.

Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung, LG, Sony and VIZIO smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, Chromecast with Google TV, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device.1

Sigmund Judge

Apple TV+ Wins First Golden Globe: Jason Sudeikis Best Actor TV Series, Musical or Comedy for Ted Lasso

“…the best actor is the person you are acting with.”

Apple TV+ picked up its first Golden Globe this evening with Jason Sudeikis winning Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy for his title role in Apple original comedy series Ted Lasso. Apple's first Golden Globe marks another success for its awards campaign team with the service accumulating over 200 nominations and over 60 awards at the time of writing.

Jason Sudeikis accepted his award during the twilight hours in London via live video-link during an all virtual award ceremony whilst representing his siblings New York based dance studio.

"Wow, that's nuts! Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press.
This is for me the coolest thing that a group of... that's nuts.
I want to thank everybody that works on the show. I'm reading a book to my son Otis called the three questions by Leo Tolstoy and he has these three questions. When's the best time to do things? What is the right thing to do? and who is the most important one? (the answer to) that last question is whoever is the person that you're with. So, I kind of reject the premise of being best actor because in my humble opinion the best actor is the person you are acting with. I want to shout out to all of the people I get to act with on this show because they're incredible. Do they make me the best? no. But I know for a fact that they make me better. Better than I am, better than I thought I could be and better than I thought I could do."

Production is currently underway in London for Ted Lasso season 2 and 3 and is expected to conclude in May with the premiere of season 2 expected to air on Apple TV+ in the summer.

Ted Lasso's award winning first season is now available to stream on Apple TV+.

Sigmund Judge

Up Next: This Week's Apple TV Releases

Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry

Apple TV+ | 2 hrs 20 min | R

The much anticipated documentary focusing on the rise of a teenage icon is now available to watch on Apple TV+. Award-winning filmaker R.J. Cutler follows Billie Eilish's journey on the road, onstage, and at home with her family as the writing and recording of her debut album changes her life. Our review of the incredible music documentary can be found here.

Losing Alice

Apple TV+ | S1, E8 | 43 min | TV-MA

After eight episodes the season finale of Losing Alice is upon us. The events that ended the filming of Room 209 are revealed as Alice and David prepare for its film festival premiere.  

Dickinson

Apple TV+ | S2, E10 | 27 min | TV-14

'You cannot put a fire out' marks a sad farewell to season 2 of Alena Smith's wonderful comedy/drama centered around the life of Emily Dickinson. While the whole town attends the christening of Jane's baby, Emily fights to get her poems back from Sam.

Servant

Apple TV+ | S2, E7 | 29 min | TV-MA

Whilst last week's episode likely asked more questions than it answered, 'Marino' does not guarantee answers as last weeks tragedy raises more questions about Leanne. Uncle George's presence in the house creates a problem for the Turners. This week's episode is directed by Nimrod Antal (Bear, Cricket).

For All Mankind

Apple TV+ | S2, E2 | 56 min | TV-14

Ronald D. Moore's masterful alt-history space-race drama continues after a nerve-racking season premiere. Margo must lead a seemingly impossible mission. Danielle wants to return to the moon and Gordo grapples with his life on Earth.

Other Apple TV Highlights:

Golden Globes

NBC | Feb 28th | Unrated

The 78th Annual Golden Globes are upon us. As usual the show will be broadcast live on NBC but this year we will also be hosting a watch-along on YouTube as we give our live reactions to the evenings results following four nominations for Apple TV+ content; Best Motion Picture, Animated Motion Picture– “Wolfwalkers,” Best Television Series Musical or Comedy – “Ted Lasso,” Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In An Motion Picture – Bill Murray in “On The Rocks” and Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy Series – Jason Sudeikis in “Ted Lasso.”

Minari

Apple TV App | 1 hr 55 min | PG-13

A surefire contender for best picture at this years Academy Awards this tender and sweeping story about Americana follows a Korean-American family after they move to an Arkansas farm in search of the American dream. Directed and written by Lee Isaac Chung, this A24 drama has received heaps of praise and shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Tom & Jerry: The Movie

HBO Max | 1 hr 41 min | PG

Tom & Jerry reprise their decades old rivalry in New York City's finest hotel on the eve of "the wedding of the century," forcing the events planner to hire Tom to get rid of him. This blend of classic animation and live action is available through the end of the month on HBO Max and in theatres and stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Rob Delaney and comedian Ken Jeong.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Hulu | 2 hr 10 min | Not Rated

Billie Holiday spent much of her life adored by fans but in the 1940's the U.S. government targeted Holiday in an effort to racialize the war on drugs, ultimatley aiming to stop her performing her ballad "Strange Fruit." Andra Day stars as Holiday in the latest The United States vs. Hulu special feature.

Paramount+ Launch

March 4th | $9.99 per month

CBS All Access is rebranding to Paramount+ on March 4th launching with a "mountain of catalogue content" with 36 new original shows promised in 2021 and 30,000 total hours of television from CBS, MTV, Showtime, BET and other networks, including news and NFL content. It will also host 2,500 existing movies, new scripted shows, tie-in series to Paramount movies 'Fatal Attraction' and 'Grease,' an animated movie featuring 'Beavis and Butt-head,' and a revival of 'Frasier.' Keep an eye on Screentimes.net for the full slate of Paramount+ launch day content as and when its made available.


Apple Arcade Updates:

Please check back later for this week's Apple Arcade updates.

Sigmund Judge

'Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry' Review

A personal look at the rise of a teenage icon.

Billie Eilish image courtesy of Apple 

Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry - Premieres February 26th, Apple TV+

There’s nothing quite like watching your favourite music artist stay true to their ambitious vision and subsequently shoot to the moon on a rocket-fuelled by universal adulation. The latest film from award-winning documentarian R.J. Cutler captures that experience first-hand in a way that is equally as raw and unpretentious as its on-screen subject.

Billie Eilish at age nineteen has reached the stratospheric heights of fame and popularity through her music and unique visual stylings which not only entertain but exude the kind of vulnerability one would expect from a teenager juggling her career with the kind of anxiety and ponderous questions that tend to overwhelm us all both during and beyond adolescence. It's that type of vulnerability that has been key to her success and what makes the two-plus hours of this verité-style documentary a brilliantly authentic introduction to the human and the support network behind a generational talent. A talent unearthed at age thirteen when Billie's brother posted a song they had written for a dance recital to the internet.

That home recording of 'Ocean Eyes' is just one of the many clips of family home videos spliced with RJ Cutler's footage that fortuitously captured the rise of a star from late 2018 through Eilish's historic Grammys success in 2020. Go Pro's document the creative process within her family's Los Angeles home studio which leads to the much-celebrated sophomore album 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?' The work of spooky-sibling telepathy between Eilish and her exceptionally talented older-sibling Finneas O'Connell. A traditional camera crew follow Eilish on tour around the world and her ever-present parents document the typical teenage milestones and creative differences between their son and daughter.

Billie Eilish and Patrick O'Connell image courtesy of Apple 

I was a fan of Billie's and Finneas's before, I am now as much a fan of their mom Maggie Baird and father Patrick O'Connell. The two ever-present parents pride for their children radiates the screen and their protective instincts leave a measure of reassurance to anyone with the first-hand experience of an industry fraught with potential dangers. In one scene Billie is sat alongside her publicist discussing the potential pitfalls of making broad anti-drug statements early on as a public figure only for her mom to chime in "Are you actually not going to let her be authentic to who she is now, in case she grows up to do drugs?."

Another stand-out scene sees father Patrick channel Richard Linklaters 'Boyhood' as he talks to the camera shortly after his daughter sets off on her first car ride. "We live in denial. You can't think too hard, or you won't let her do anything. I had a drink of something and I completely choked on it. I had water the other day and it came out of my nose, my eyes welled up and I think it's remarkable that we stay alive at all. We're this delicate system. You have to have faith and do your best. Live your best life and then you have to live in denial."

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell image courtesy of Apple 

There is relatability on show interweaved with the unpredictable nature of superstardom not often given screen time or column inches; the joy of touring juxtaposed with the fear of not being missed by those left behind. The quiet backstage disappointment with a self-perceived sub-par performance. The breaking down of a body and the constant reminder of a passion shelved out of necessity. The pressure put on an individual to save face and not let that mask slip for a moment. Love loss and depression. This film tackles all this and more.

More importantly 'The World's A Little Blurry' offers compassion and empathy toward fandom. Billie Eilish explains early on how she feared that her love for her idol and fellow pop-superstar Justin Bieber would ruin any romantic life going forward, worried no-one could live up to him. So worried was her mother that she considered taking Billie to therapy. Fast forward to April 2019 and after having played one of the main stages at Coachella on the back of her debut album topping charts around the world, she is faced with her adolescent crush only to break down for a full 30 seconds. At that moment she could just have easily been any one of the millions of fans that idolise her. That is why she is so real to so many.

Sigmund Judge

Paramount+ Launches Next Week for $10/month; $4.99/month Tier in June

Earlier today ViacomCBS has confirmed the pricing for Paramount+, the new streaming service replacing CBS All Access. The new streaming service which promises a "mountain of entertainment" is priced at $9.99 per month in the US with a cheaper ad supported on-demand only tier launching in June for $4.99 per month.

Alongside a slick rebrand comes a substantial expansion of the streaming service's on-demand lineup whilst maintaining access to live CBS networks and sports content. The streaming service will include programs from CBS, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and The Smithsonian Channel alongside new original programming and movies 30-45 days after their theatrical debut.

Paramount+ will include more than 30,000 episodes, 2,500 movie titles at launch with the promise of over 50 original series to premiere over the next two years including reboots of old favourites like Frasier with Kelsey Grammar reprising his award-winning role, Mike Judge animation Beavis and Butthead, Rugrats, Criminal Minds and 90's reality TV pioneer The Real World.

New series coming to the service include Halo, iCarly, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, alongside shows from the Avatar, Star Trek, and SpongeBob SquarePants universe, and more.

Paramount+ will replace CBS All Access with subscribers automatically switched over to a comparable tier on the new service. CBS All Access subscriptions routed through Apple TV Channels need not worry as they to will receive access to Paramount+ in a promised seamless transition.


You can currently get 50% off a one-year subscription to Paramount+ if you sign up to CBS All Access before March 4th. To receive the discount enter the code "PARAMOUNTPLUS" at checkout following sign up.

Sigmund Judge

Apple TV+ Unveil Slate of Shows at TCA 2021 Winter Press Tour

A recap of an exciting afternoon for television critics.

Apple presented a slate of shows to the Television Critics Association on Friday, highlighting seven scripted original shows including recent hits, returns and new original series joining the award winning streaming service later this year.

For the second year in a row Apple shunned the usual tradition of an executive session with neither video heads Zack Van Amburg nor Jamie Erlicht involved in the presentation. Instead Apple gave full focus to those creating those magical rays of light that flood out of our screens, showcasing a number of existing shows, returning shows and new original series with sessions for 'Physical,' 'The Mosquito Coast,' 'Losing Alice,' 'Servant,' 'Lisey's Story,' 'Mythic Quest: Season 2,' 'For All Mankind' and ''Schmigadoon!'

Finally, Apple closed this years presentation to esteemed television critics with a showcase of more Apple Originals coming in Spring 2021 and beyond including 'Foundation,' 'Mr. Corman' and 'The Shrink Next Door,' as well as upcoming second seasons for award-winning series 'Home Before Dark,' 'The Morning Show,' 'Trying,' 'Truth Be Told,' 'Central Park' and 'See.'

In a series of tweets that followed shortly afterward, Apple have confirmed when to expect the return of successful original series and the debut of new originals not presented earlier. Spring sees the return of 'Ghostwriter' season 2 part 2 whilst subscribers can expect to see the return of  'Central Park,' 'Home Before Dark,' 'The Morning Show,' 'Ted Lasso' and 'Truth Be Told' in the Summer along with new original series 'Mr. Corman.' Season 2 of 'SEE' will premier in the Fall along with the debut of 'Foundation.'

Here's a roundup of everything Apple confirmed today coming to Apple TV+ screens later this year:

Physical

Comedy | 10 episodes | Summer

Rose Byrne 'Physical' first look image courtesy of Apple

'Physical' is a 10-episode 1980's dramedy chronicling the journey of  Sheila Rubin - Played by Rose Byrne - as a woman that finds financial independence yet still lacks agency which leads her to a journey of empowerment. Created by Annie Weisman, credits on the series are predominantly female with the show being described as a companion piece to the FX hit 'Mrs America' as the lead character is an active feminist in the same era as the aforementioned show.

Apple TV+ press release follows:

Set in the idyllic but fragile beach paradise of sunny 1980s San Diego, “Physical” is a half-hour dark comedy following Sheila Rubin, a quietly tortured, seemingly dutiful housewife supporting her smart but controversial husband’s bid for state assembly. But behind closed doors, Sheila has her own darkly funny take on life she rarely lets the world see. She’s also battling a complex set of personal demons relating to her self-image… that is, until she finds release through the unlikeliest source: the world of aerobics.

At first hooked on the exercise itself, Sheila’s real road to empowerment comes when she discovers a way to merge this newfound passion with the burgeoning technology of videotape to start a revolutionary business. The series tracks her epic journey from a stifled, overlooked enabler to a powerful, confident economic force, as Sheila transforms into someone we take for granted today (but was entirely radical at the time) — the female lifestyle guru.

'Physical' is expected to debut later this summer on Apple TV+.

The Mosquito Coast

Drama | 7 episodes | April 30th

'The Mosquito Coast' image courtesy of Apple

Based on the 1981 novel of the same name, 'The Mosquito Coast' explores what lines we would cross to protect the ones we love. The high stakes drama promises shocking twists, and a new adventure which follows the dangerous journey of a radical idealist and brilliant inventor, Allie Fox (Justin Theroux) who uproots his family for Mexico seeking a safe haven. The limited series also stars Melissa George, Logan Polish & Gabriel Bateman and is executive produced by Neil Cross & Rupert Wyatt.

Justin Theroux is the nephew of the novels author Paul Theroux and said that he viewed the the story through a slightly different prism from the novel, which is great to hear as the novel had already been adapted for screen in a 1986 feature starring Harrison Ford. Justin Theroux told those in attendance how he had unprecedented access to his uncles thoughts on Allie Fox and the different aspects of the family that make him what he is.

Apple TV+ press released a brief description and teaser for the upcoming show:

Adapted from the best selling novel, “The Mosquito Coast” is a gripping adventure and layered character drama following the dangerous journey of a radical idealist and brilliant inventor, Allie Fox (Justin Theroux), who uproots his family for Mexico when they suddenly find themselves on the run from the US government.

'The Mosquito Coast' will premiere April 30th on Apple TV+.

Lisey's Story

Thriller | 8 episodes | Summer

'Lisey's Story' image courtesy of Apple

Stephen King's romantic suspense thriller is getting a screen adaptation starring Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joan Allen, Dane DeHaan and Ron Cephas Jones. The 2006 novel tells the story of Lisey Landon, the widow of a famous and wildly successful novelist, Scott Landon. The novel is comprised of two stories—Lisey's story in the present, and the story of her dead husband's life as remembered by Lisey.

Apple TV+ press released release follows:

Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, and adapted by the author himself, “Lisey’s Story” is a deeply personal thriller that follows Lisey Landon (Academy Award winner Julianne Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (Academy Award nominee Clive Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind.

An Apple Original limited series, “Lisey’s Story” is directed by Pablo Larraín, and hails from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. King, Moore and Larraín executive produce alongside Abrams, Ben Stephenson and Juan de Dios Larraín. Every episode of the series was personally written by King. Joan Allen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Dane DeHaan star alongside Moore and Owen.

'Lisey's Story' s expected to premiere this summer on Apple TV+.

Mythic Quest: Season 2

Comedy | 10 episodes | May 7th

'Mythic Quest' Season 2 image courtesy of Apple

Mythic Quest returns for it's second season (with a new logo might I add), exploring the challenges of creating a new game expansion, working with a dysfunctional team, and navigating HR-approved relationships. The second season finds (almost) everyone back in the office.

During today's panel co-creator Rob McElhenney noted that unlike his other show 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' the characters don't stay the same for 15 years and that in season 2 Ian and Poppy's relationship is less combative and more collaborative. Before everyone goes crazy thinking that collaboration could lead to love, executive producer Megan Ganz had this to say:

"I see Poppy & Ian being in a non-sexual child rearing relationship. The child is the game. We won't ever make that a romantic relationship. All of their love is put into the game, they are putting their time into it"

Apple TV+ press released a brief description and teaser for the upcoming season:

With the quarantine finally over, the new season of "Mythic Quest” finds everyone back in the office (well, almost everyone), attempting to build upon the success of Raven's Banquet by launching an epic new expansion, but Ian (Rob McElhenney) and the newly promoted co-creative director, Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao), struggle with the game’s direction. Meanwhile, C.W. (F. Murray Abraham) reconciles some unresolved issues from his past, the testers (Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim) test the bounds of an office romance, and David (David Hornsby) loses yet another woman in his life as Jo (Jessie Ennis) leaves him to assist Brad (Danny Pudi).

'Mythic Quest' returns for season 2, premiering May 7th on Apple TV+.

Schmigadoon!

Comedy | 6 episodes | Summer

'Schmigadoon!' Cecily Strong & Keegan-Michael Key first look image courtesy of Apple 

'Schmigadoon!' brings Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key together for a sing-song in a "deconstruction" of 1940's golden age musicals in this new original limited comedy series. They play a bickering couple whose relationship is put to the test after a walk through the forest lands them in a quirky town out of classic musical.

Created and Executive Produced by Cinco Paul, the production called for everyone to sing and dance live on set (no pre-recorded tracks) so of course they went to people who had legitimate musical chops. The cast will be a joy for fans of stage and includes Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen, Kristin Chenoweth, Aaron Tveit, Dove Cameron, Ariana DeBose, Jaime Camil, Dickinson's Jane Krakowski and Ann Harada. The extraordinary cast and the promise of easter-eggs and hidden references make for a show thats sure to be an absolute blast!

Apple TV+ press released release follows:

Apple TV+ unveiled a first look at “Schmigadoon!,” a new musical comedy series executive produced by Lorne Michaels, and starring Emmy Award nominee Cecily Strong and Emmy Award winner Keegan-Michael Key that is set to make its global debut this summer on Apple TV+, presented today at the Television Critics Association Winter 2021 Press Tour.

“Schmigadoon!,” a parody of iconic musicals, stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple on a backpacking trip designed to reinvigorate their relationship when they discover a magical town in which everyone is living in a studio musical from the 1940s. They then discover that they can’t leave until they find “true love.” The first season of the six-episode series also stars Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Aaron Tveit, Dove Cameron, Ariana DeBose, Fred Armisen, Jaime Camil, Jane Krakowski and Ann Harada.

Hailing from Broadway Video and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, “Schmigadoon!” is co-created by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Cinco Paul serves as showrunner, and wrote all of the original music for the series. Barry Sonnenfeld directs and executive produces. In addition to starring, Cecily Strong serves as producer, and Ken Daurio serves as consulting producer and writer. Andrew Singer executive produces with Lorne Michaels on behalf of Broadway Video.

'Schmigadoon!' is expected to premiere this summer on Apple TV+.


Apple is growing from strength to strength not just in terms of engagement but in with its growing library of premium original content. Each major new original announcement is followed by a record viewership announcement but of course it's yet to be seen if those free trials convert to paid subscriptions. My guess is that the quality of Apple's originals will prevail, along with the incredible value offered in the Apple One bundle of services.

I think we're in for a great year ahead with more surprises to come. Let me know what you're most excited for over on twitter @sigjudge.

Sigmund Judge

Up Next: This Week's Apple TV Releases

For All Mankind

Apple TV+ | S2, E1 | 56 min | TV-14

'Every Little Thing' marks the return of Ronald D. Moore's crtically acclaimed alt-history space-race drama. We rejoin the story eight years later in 1983 where technology and lunar exploration have taken huge strides. Whilst competition between the USA and the Soviet Union intensifies, it's space itself that threatens the astronauts on Jamesown. Do check out this week's special features for a video timeline bridging the gap between 1975-1982 with news reports documenting the alternate-history that transpired between seasons.

Our latest podcast previews the season ahead with Zac Hall (Space Explored) and the creative team behind the series.

Survival Z

Apple Arcade | Action | 9+

This week's Apple Arcade release from Ember Entertainment is a fun mix of roguelike and tower defense. Set in a post apocalyptic world where zombies dominate the landscape, your goal is to save as many people as you can whilst exterminating the undead the roam the 50 levels available. You've never seen a more gorgouse post apocalyptic world!

Losing Alice

Apple TV+ | S1, E7 | 55 min | TV-MA

'The Scene' is the latest episode from the Israeli thriller which sees Alice attempt to maintain her professionalism when directing an intense love scene between David and Sophie. A slow, brooding build-up to next week's finale.

Dickinson

Apple TV+ | S2, E9 | 32 min | TV-14

'I Like a Look of Agony' is the comedy's penultimate episode for season 2. Austin distracts himself from the pain of life by throwing a tea party. Conflict broods within the family business as a major political event unfolds and print media shows its ugly side. Don't forget to watch Alena Smith on Resistence, this week's extra where Dickinson's creator recounts the writers inspired by the events leading to America's Civil War in 1861.

Servant

Apple TV+ | S2, E6 | 25 min | TV-MA

More than a shot of caffeine, 'Espresso' is yet another masterful example of my favourite show currently airing on Apple TV+. Directed by Isabella Eklöf (Border, Let the Right One In), the latest episode sees an unexpected visitor push everyone to their limits as Sean re-examines his past and Dorothy attempts to negotiate a delicate exchange.

Ted Lasso Extras

TedLassoExtras.com | Unrated

Apple's for your consideration team have made a number of question and answer sessions available following an unprecedented number nominations for Apple TV+ original comedy 'Ted Lasso'. SAG members have two easy votes to cast: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Jason Sudeikis.

Other Apple TV Highlights:

Nomadland

Hulu | 1 hr 47 min | R

Chloé Zhao’s beautifully empathic Oscar-tipped feature follows a sixtysomething woman who doesn’t seem to stay in one place for to long. Tired of her old life and living off the grid. Featuring breathtaking cinematography and a captivating performance from Francis McDormant alongside real life Nomads, there’s a documentary like quality to this very observant film about an America the mainstream have lost sight of.

It's A Sin

HBO Max | S1 | TV-MA

Set over the course of a decade 1981-1991, this limited British mini series from Russell T Davies follows five friends whose lives are tested as they grow up in the shadow of AIDS. Incredibly well written and beautifully acted by a fully LGBT cast.

I Care a Lot

Netflix | 1 hr 59 min | R

Hillariously vicious from the outset, Rosemary Pike stars in the J Blakeson written and directed dark comedy thriller as somewhat of a grifter who has built a small-time empire out of convincing the state to make her the legal guardian of individuals who supposedly aren't capable of looking after themselves anymore when many are. Also starring Peter Dinklage. Highly recommended.

The Muppet Show

Disney+ | S1-5 | TV-PG

All five seasons of The Muppet Show which ran from 1976 to 1981 are now available to watch. Featuring Jim Henson’s most famous creations, each episode is packed full of daft sketches, exuberant songs and an exhausting list of A-list stars. This is more than a trip down memory lane, this is a mastery in entertainment and not just a mastery of the puppets entertaining.