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The best Apple TV+ shows you really need to be streaming (May 2024)

Apple TV Plus has a host of exclusive shows: here's the pick of the best.

The best Apple TV+ shows you really need to be streaming (May 2024)

Apple TV Plus takes a different approach to making TV, compared to arch-rival Netflix. And we're very glad about that.

Netflix makes absolutely loads of stuff. But even when it's made with a big budget, there's often a classic televisual cheapness to the look of the shows. Apple TV Plus, on the other hand, seems to aim for prestige TV with almost every new project.

It's as if Apple looked at HBO and said, "yeah, let's do that." There's more to recreating the towering legacy of HBO than that, of course, and Apple TV Plus's library is less consistent in quality. But that's what we're here for — to help you filter out the best stuff.

Given some estimates put TV Plus membership at just 10% of that of Netflix, there's less chance of you finding about the gems though word of mouth, though.

Apple TV Plus costs $9.99 (£8.99) a month - which includes family membership - and Apple offers three months of Apple TV Plus with a new iPhone, iPad or Apple TV if you've never signed up.

Bargain, right? With that in mind, here’s a run-down of the best Apple TV+ shows.

Remember to up-vote and down-vote your favourite picks.

Best Apple TV Plus shows

Ted Lasso is one of the loveliest TV shows we have seen in a while. If you are in the UK it's a slightly strange look at a US American football coach that comes over the pond to teach a ragtag team of footballers. Lasso is an optimist and you can't help but be caught up in the way he looks at life. And, even though it's US made, it portrays the UK pretty darn well.

There are three seasons of Ted Lasso to watch, with the third marking the end of Ted Lasso, the character's, storyline. It's thought there may be spin-offs - Apple would be silly to let this one just disappear.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

2. The Morning Show

View now on Apple TV

The Morning Show, is a drama set behind the scenes at, you guessed it, a morning TV news show. Starring Jennifer Aniston in her first series since Friends, the show also stars Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell as the journalistic drama unfolds. If this show was on something like Netflix (as in a service that's a bit more popular) then it would have been given all the accolades for its themes of workplace sexual harassment and all that goes with it. The second season of the show is streaming now.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

3. Defending Jacob

Watch on Apple TV Plus now

Defending Jacob sees Chris Evans swap spandex for the courtroom in a mini series about a family defending their son from being accused of killing another classmate. It's a harrowing watch at times, given the subject matter but it's great to see Evans step away from the big budgets and do something a little more nuanced. The show is based on the best-selling novel by William Landay.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

4. For All Mankind

View now on Apple TV

Depicting how the world would have turned out had Russia beaten the US to landing a man on the moon, For All Mankind begins in the 60s, tracking the out-of-this-world challenge. The series continues as technology advances and decades pass, with plenty of action and drama for good measure

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Depicting a civilisation based hundreds of years in the future who have lost the ability to see, the show follows a new generation who are miraculously born with their sight intact. It's a gritty endeavor by Apple, one that isn't altogether successful but at least they saw SEE through to the end, with its third and final season.

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Created by Tony Basgallop, Servant focuses on a Philadelphia couple in mourning after the loss of their child. It's a bit of a dark one to say the least, with a mysterious force getting involved - we're not saying any more, we're not going to give it all away. Featuring Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, and Rupert Grint, it has an impressive line-up.

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One of the very best things on Apple TV Plus right now, Severance is a show by Ben Stiller based in a dystopia where a shadowy company allows its workers to literally disconnect their work life and personal life, so each side of their minds doesn't know what the other is doing. It's both dark and funny and needs to be watched by all.

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Mythic Quest is a fun show that strives to be like Silicon Valley, charting a video game company as they release, and try to stay on top of, their game Mythic Quest. It's made by Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney who created the fantastic It's Only Sunny In Philadelphia and while it doesn't hit those heights, it's a great watch. There are three seasons of the show available and it continues to be one of the funniest things on TV right now.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

9. Truth Be Told

View now on Apple TV

Following a remarkably similar plot line to the hit podcast Serial, Truth Be Told follows the story of a podcast maker who sets out to unravel an unsolved cold-case murder. A dramatic adaptation of the book Are You Sleeping: A Novel by Kathleen Barber, this is a must-watch for fans of true crime podcasts and tv shows.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

10. Dickinson

View now on Apple TV

Apple teased the highly anticipated Dickinson trailer in advance of the announcement - and it was right too - this is a laugh-a-minute. Starring Hailee Steinfeld as rebellious poet Emily Dickinson, the comedy series follows is a melting pot of modern day comedy and traditional attire.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

11. Home Before Dark

Watch on Apple TV Plus now

Home Before Dark is the sort of old-school family TV that you yearn for. The premise is great: a nine-year-old budding journalist heads back with her family to the town her dad grew up in. There she begins to uncover secrets about a cold case from way back. The episodes could do with being a bit shorter but this is a great tale of a child whose way more advanced than her years give her credit for, and what happens when she begins to search for the truth.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

12. Slow Horses

Stream on Apple TV Plus

Now in its second season, this series about MI5 misfits is a lot of fun thanks to a rather grizzled Gary Oldman as the boss of the subpar spies. The first season wraps up its story nicely, which means that there is a new case in season 2, as well as the presence of the brilliant Phil Davies.

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A comedy set around infertility doesn't really sound like a comedy but it's a fantastic premise for Trying. Rafe Spall and Esther Smith are trying for a child and this show shows what happens when maybe adoption is the answer. With a focus on their relationship and how it deals with new pressures, this is a real must watch.

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Humanity has gone and messed up the earth good and proper, leading to the few survivors descending below the surface to live in a giant subterranean bunker. History has practically been erased, and the remaining community has been indoctrinated to believe above all else that the outside world can only bring death. But is that really the truth? This 10-part series is based on the Wool sci-fi novels by Hugh Howey.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

15. Bad Sisters

Stream on Apple TV Plus

This is a fantastic show, written by and starring the ever-excellent Sharon Horgan. The plot is simple-ish: John Paul, the husband of Grace Garvey, dies and Grace and her sisters are under investigation by a suspicious insurer. The timeline of the show flits between before Paul's death and after, uncovering an hilarious, sometimes vicious ink-black comedic tale.

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Shrinking sees Harrison Ford tackle comedy and he is a natural. It's a show created by Brett Goldstein, Bill Lawrence and Jason Segel. Segel is a therapist who is experiencing grief following the death of his wife and this puts him on a path of destruction through honesty. It's another great show from the Apple TV Plus stable and has been rightfully renewed for a second season.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

17. Little America

Watch now on Apple TV Plus

A show focusing on the immigrants of America trying to make it in the country has never felt so relevant - and that's what makes Little America a joy to watch. Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon and Lee Eisenberg have created an anthology series that focuses on eight separate stories, each dealing with a culture clash of sorts between those who have spent their whole lives in the US and those who came there seeking something. This particularly resonates in the brilliant The Grand Expo Winners, a tale of Chinese mother who watches her kids who have embraced America drift from her. Every episode, though, is worth a watch.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

18. Beastie Boys Story

Watch now on Apple Plus TV

Beastie Boys Story is as much about Beastie Boys the band as it is about their friendship and their life growing up together. Focusing on the ever-changing music the rappers have released, this is a poignant, eclectic watch - thanks to long-time collaborator Spike Jonze directing the thing. Fantastic stuff.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

19. The Afterparty

Watch now on Apple TV Plus

Recently renewed for a second season, After Party is as inventive as it gets. It's a comedy that centres on a murder mystery that takes place at an after party, each episode takes on its on style and genre. This is from one of the makers of The LEGO Movie (Christopher Miller) and it has their playfulness beating throughout. Superb stuff.

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It's harder to watch Black Bird now that Ray Liotta has died, but his presence in this prison show is a fantastic, fitting coda to a superb film career. He plays police officer Big Jim who tempts inmate Taron Egerton's Keene to reduce his prison sentence. How? By going to a maximum security prison to try and tease a confession out of suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Cobra Kai's Paul Walter Hauser). This is one tense drama, with a trio of brilliant performances.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

21. The Elephant Queen

View now on Apple TV

Taking the route of a documentary, the feature-length film The Elephant Queen focuses on the extinction of one of the world’s most majestic creatures. Narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, this epic and beautiful piece of cinema first wowed audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival and is now available to stream.

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Idris Elba always looks like he can handle himself. But in Hijack he plays a regular guy who finds himself on an airplane in the midst of a hijack attempt. The series plays out in real-time over its seven hour-long episodes. Pure thriller fun, this is a fast-paced and highly enjoyable watch.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

23. Amazing Stories

View on Apple TV Plus now

Amazing Stories is an updated version of Spielberg's classic hit show. It is an anthology series that "transports the audience to worlds of wonder through the lens of today’s most imaginative filmmakers, directors and writers." The first five episodes were directed by the likes of Hollywood director Susanna Fogel, Michael Dinner (who also directed an episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) and Game of Thrones director Mark Mylod. As it's an anthology, some of the episodes are hit and miss but Spielberg's wonder is apparent throughout.

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Epic. That's the best way to describe Pachinko, a sweeping and stunning historical epic that charts some of the most important eras of Asian history: Korea in 1915, when it was under Japan's rule, all the way up to 80s Japan in its Wall Street era. This is stunning, prestige TV with endless visual flourishes that will have you completely hooked.

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Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are friends. Rogen’s Will goes through a divorce and ends up reconnecting with old friend Sylvia. In classic fashion, one character’s upturned life makes the other consider what’s going on in their own. But this, for once, isn’t fundamentally a rom-con underneath the surface. The chemistry between the two leads is the main draw here but, hey, that’s crucial in a show based almost entirely around them.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

26. Letters To You

Watch now on Apple TV Plus

Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You gets the documentary treatment and it's a compulsive watch, focusing on the making of the album and Springsteen's long and fantastic history with the E Street Band. Apple really knows how to make a music doc and we hope to see more of them on Apple TV Plus.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

27. Shining Girls

Stream on Apple TV Plus

This adaptation of the best-selling novel Shining Girls does well to capture the strangeness of the novel, as well as grounding its rather high-concept plot. Elisabeth Moss is Kirby Mazrachi, someone who, years ago, survived an attack and nearly died. Since the incident she witnesses changes in her reality, which are a little like glitches in The Matrix. This 'gift' helps her track down a potential serial killer. Convoluted? Sure, but stick with it and you will be rewarded.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

28. The Reluctant Traveller

Stream now on Apple TV Plus

Schitt's Creek star Eugene Levy is brilliant as the host of The Reluctant Traveller, which sees him travel the world to some of the most exotic places. The kicker here is that he doesn't like travelling very much, or doing anything out of his comfort zone. While we were expecting him to play up to this notion, it's all very real and great fun to watch.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

29. Criminal Record

Stream on Apple TV Plus

Two detectives clash in this excellent crime thriller starring Peter Capaldi and Cush Jumbo. Capaldi is a DCI Daniel Hegarty, an investigator proud of his record. Jumbo is detective Lenker, who finds new evidence that suggests a man may have been send down for a murder he did not commit. It's tense, it's hard-hitting, and Criminal Record makes you think about the darker realities of law enforcement.

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Spoiler alert: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. But if that’s news to you, you might not get on that well with Manhunt. It’s a dramatisation of the hunt for his killer, John Wilkes Booth. The show depicts the murder, the nation-wide hunt and looks into the wider conspiracy you may be less familiar with, from popular retellings of this story. It’s a must-watch for the history buffs out there.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

31. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Stream now Apple TV Plus

The inspired casting of father and son Kurt and Wyatt Russell, as Captain Lee Shaw in different timelines, is one of the many great things about Legacy Of Monsters. The show is a thoughtful take on the Godzilla legacy, taking the theme of the recent movies, where Monarch is the agency assigned to 'control' Godzilla and other Kaiju, and expanding on it in both the 1950s and present day. While we would love more monster action, there is still a lot of fun to be had.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

32. Masters of the Air

This show is a successor to some of the greatest TV shows ever made. Masters of the Air belongs in the same lineage as Band of Brothers, as the work of John Orloff. Steven Spielberg is also executive producer. The show charts the WW2 experiences of an American bomber unit, and features stellar performances from Austin Butler and Callum Turner. It's rousing stuff, particularly the epic battle scenes.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

33. Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock

Watch on Apple TV Plus

Well, this is an absolute joy. Apple TV Plus has rebooted Fraggle Rock and the result is an hilarious, warm and fuzzy show. Unlike the 5-minute episodes Apple TV Plus released in 2020 there are 13 full-length episodes here and you'll love every single last one of them.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

34. The Essex Serpent

Stream on Apple TV Plus

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, The Essex Serpent is a six-part mini series that's a faithful adaptation of the book. Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston star as the widow and pastor who fall for each other in this sublime slab of gothic fiction.

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Colin Farrell is John Sugar, a private detective. He's investigating the disappearance of the granddaughter of a powerful Hollywood executive and finds himself twisted up in a murky underworld. Sugar is a twisty thriller with plenty of neo-noir stylistic nods. An 8-episode series.

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Central Park is a new animated sitcom from the minds behind Bob's Burgers. While it's not quite on the same level of that masterpiece, it's a lot of fun. It revolves around a family of caretakers living in Central Park who stand in the way of developers. There's musical aspects to the show and it isn't without controversy. Kristen Bell recently revealed she will (quite rightly) no longer lend her voice to mixed race character Molly Tillerman.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

37. Constellation

View now on Apple TV Plus

Noomi Rapace is an astronaut. There’s an incident aboard the International Space Station, but she survives and makes it back to Earth. But on returning home, she finds it doesn’t appear to be the same place she left. If you find the first few episodes of Constellation a bit confusing, we recommend sticking with it, as the pay-off is absolutely there.

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Physical is billed as a comedy drama, but it's tale of a housewife who is seemingly in self-destruct mode, if it weren't for the hour of 'physical' exercise she eventually finds solace in. This is one show which doesn't shy away from serious subject - abuse, eating disorders, depression - and can be a hard watch but Rose Byrne as Sheila is mesmerising in the main role.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

39. Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry

Buy now from Apple

This is a fantastic documentary which really showcases what a genius Billie Eilish is - and how awesome her dad is, too! It's an intimate look at the singer/songwriter and reminds you just how young she is and what the industry can give and take from someone. The behind-the-scenes looks at her songs are fantastic.

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Best Apple TV Plus shows

40. Oprah’s Book Club

View on Apple TV Plus now

The Book Club was once a golden part of Oprah's daytime TV show - and now it's been given the screen time it deserves. Starring, you guessed it, Oprah Winfrey (who will always feature alongside Lorraine Kelly as the Queen of daytime TV), the show is a must watch Apple TV+ addition.


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Telling the tale of Pakistani-American teenager Hala, the show depicts the conflict that occurs in balancing personal desire with the various obligations that surround family and religion. Joining the platform a few weeks after launch, this is a show that also depicts a central character with a dark secret

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