The Morning Show is the definitive television drama series for the #MeToo era and the Apple TV+ series could not be more timelier with its commentary.
We’re over two years into the start of the #MeToo movement. While some series have offered commentary in terms of references, The Morning Show goes big. It isn’t just that the series is ripped out of the headlines but Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) could easily be a stand-in for Matt Lauer. Kessler even has a button on his desk that can close the door. Never mind the expensive mansion that he bought solely because of his career. If Kessler doesn’t start to remind you of Lauer by the third episode, I don’t know what will.
With Kessler pushed off to the side, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) is front and center as host of The Morning Show. How she responds to the sexual misconduct allegations against her co-host is a defining moment. Meanwhile, executive producer Chip Black (Mark Duplass) certainly has more than he can handle as a result. While the UBA network figures out how to respond, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) goes viral while reporting on a coal mine protest in West Virginia. Little does Jackson know but this is going to lead to her big break. It will help her later with News Division president Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) being in her corner.
Things take an interesting turn during the Leadership in Journalism gala. Alex Levy is there to accept an award. Bradley Jackson ends up getting seated with the UBA folks. Next thing we know, Alex names her as the new co-host. It all happens so fast.
The first episode helps set the tone for the series. However, it’s the second episode that truly decides which direction the series will go. You can’t end a scene better than a shocked Bradley Jackson learning that she’s the new co-host. The third episode certainly shows this and doesn’t hesitate to offer commentary. There’s the upset Kessler wanting to tell his part of the story. He even sits down with a filmmaker (Martin Short), who is clearly a sexual predator. This scene certainly has a lot to say in terms of commentary. It goes a long way in terms of character development, too. Another thing happening in this episode is Bradley ranting to Cory about everything that women deal with in journalism.
Only the first three episodes were available for review prior to the series airing on Friday. We already know that The Morning Show will be back for a second season. I can say that the first three episodes have me wanting to watch the rest of the season. Both Aniston and Witherspoon have great chemistry together and I’m looking forward to see how their relationship develops over the rest of the season. It may be an ensemble series but there are some strong women are the forefront.
I love that The Morning Show explores the power dynamics in the workplace. Just by way of her job, Alex Levy has a lot of power by being the face of the show. What happens when she goes against the network and names her own co-host? What happens when tension starts to grow with said co-host? These are but a few questions that might or might not get answered during the first season.
Make no mistake that The Morning Show plays much better as a long-form series than it ever possibly could as a film. This isn’t to say that a film wouldn’t be a bad idea because I could see that working, too. The fact that it’s a TV series allows for more drama to play out on screen. One downside of the series being exclusively available on Apple TV+ are that there are interested viewers that will never get the opportunity to watch the series.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Kerry Ehrin, Mimi Leder, Michael Ellenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Kristin Hahn, Lauren Neustadter
CAST: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nestor Carbonell, Karen Pittman, Bel Powley, Desean K. Terry, Jack Davenport, and Steve Carell