There's every chance that the Apple TV+ streaming service has passed you by, particularly in light of the excitement around Disney+. But to dismiss it outright would be to miss out on a number of really excellent TV shows and movies that aren't available anywhere else, and heaven knows excellent content is worth its weight in gold right now.
Perhaps you're assuming that Apple TV+ is limited to Apple products. It isn't. It's packaged as part of the all-round excellent Apple TV app that you can now access via most recent Samsung and LG TVs, and Amazon Fire TV and Roku streamers. If in doubt, Apple's website has a detailed list of supported devices.
Or perhaps it's the thought of paying for yet another streaming subscription that's putting you off. It needn't. Apple TV+ is just £4.99 ($4.99, AU$7.99) a month. What's more, Apple has recently made nine series and movies completely free to watch and offers a free seven-day trial of its service. Even better, a free year of Apple TV+ is included in the purchase of practically any new Apple device and has been since September 2019. You could already be sitting on a load of free streaming.
It's fair to say that Apple's streaming service has a tiny catalogue compared to its rivals, thanks to its complete reliance on original content, but the TV shows and movies it does have are almost universally well regarded. Picture and sound quality are brilliant, too, particularly if you've got a system capable of taking advantage of the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos formats.
If that's enough to convince you to take the plunge, you're probably wondering what to watch first. Allow us to guide you.
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For All Mankind
Created by Ronald D. Moore (he of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica fame), For All Mankind adds a twist the first moon landing that spins off into an alternative history in which the space race never ended. It's lavishly produced and utterly believable, thanks in no small part to the creative use of genuine archive footage. If you only watch one Apple TV+ show, we suggest you make it this.
The Banker tells the true story (there or thereabouts) of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, two black businessmen who take on the racist financial establishment at its own game by training a working class white man to pose as the rich owner of their real estate and banking businesses. It's perhaps a little more lightweight than it should be but is effortlessly enjoyable and brilliantly performed.
This timely anthology series dramatises eight true stories of immigrants living in America. Despite a running time of just 30 minutes each, the episodes are all big-hearted and poignant while remaining charming and light on their feet. A perfect show for dipping in and out of when the mood strikes.
Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
Taking its cues from the likes of Silicon Valley, Mythic Quest is a comedy show aimed squarely at nerds. The subjects are the team behind the World of Warcraft-like online game of the show's title, and each is a brilliantly exaggerated version of a person in that role, from the egomaniacal director (played by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Rob McElhenney) to the soulless money man (Community's Danny Pudi) and utterly powerless executive producer (David Hornsby, also of It's Always Sunny...). It might not last long in the memory, but Mythic Quest is a good laugh while it lasts.
The Elephant Queen
No streaming service can be complete without an immaculately produced nature documentary, and this is Apple TV+'s. Far more narrative than most, The Elephant Queen tells the story of a herd of elephants forced to cross the savanna in search of water. Each elephant has a distinct personality and you form real attachments over the hour-and-a-half running time. Will you cry? Of course you will, you soppy sausage.