Best Apple TV Plus shows: Severance, Servant, Pachinko, and more

Severance Apple TV Plus
(Image credit: Apple)

Celebrating its third birthday, Apple TV Plus is one of the newer streaming platforms out there, at least compared with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, yet it already has some outstanding content. 

The best Apple TV Plus shows have something for everyone. While it started with just a few original series back in 2019, it's matured into one of the top streaming services. You'll find excellent comedies, documentaries, and children's shows, but the largest proportion of the television shows available on Apple TV Plus seem to be dramas. Apple TV Plus scored a whopping 52 Emmy nominations in 2022.

You'll get a free Apple TV Plus trial offer for three months when you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac, and it's well worth redeeming this free trial. If you don't find anything you like on this list or on your own during that time, then you've lost nothing for having tried it.

You can stream Apple TV Plus content on your Apple TV 4K (or earlier model), your best iPad, best iPhone, or best Mac. In addition to your Apple devices, you can also watch Apple TV Plus on most smart TVs and steaming sticks. In no particular order, here are some of our absolute favorite original TV shows on Apple TV Plus (and when you're done with the shows, be sure to check out our picks for the best Apple TV Plus movies (opens in new tab), too).

A shot from Severance, the Apple TV Plus sci-fi thriller

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Severance

Severance is a twisty, dark drama that manages to bring new surprises each week. The premise is that a new technology allows the mind to be “severed” between work and home. So, when you’re at work, you have no knowledge or memories of home, and when you leave the office, you have no idea what’s gone on there. The idea is that it will create a better work/life balance, since you won’t need to worry about your other roles and can be completely in the moment wherever you are. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds, and it gets more complicated as the season progresses. There really isn’t anything on television quite like this one, and it deserves every bit of critical praise. We can't wait for Severance Season 2.

Watch Severance on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Ted Lasso close up, Believe

(Image credit: Apple)

Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso was the feel-good comedy we all needed in the summer of 2020. The titular character seems a bit silly and too good to be true, but he’s actually the genuine article: a warm, kind, good-hearted person. In an era where more shows feature anti-heroes than heroes, Ted Lasso was a bright spot in a world that had gotten even darker than the dark shows forever populating the entertainment world. As for the plot, Ted Lasso is a “fish out of water” show about an American football coach who ends up a clueless soccer coach in England, hired by the angry ex-wife of the owner in an attempt to make the struggling team even worse. However, Ted’s contagious positivity changes everything and surprises everyone. The supporting cast is phenomenal. It’s worth noting that in the second season, the show takes a darker turn. Still, this is the must-watch show that won dozens of Emmys and put Apple TV Plus on the map.

Watch Ted Lasso on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

For All Mankind promo image

(Image credit: Apple)

For All Mankind

As far as we're concerned, For All Mankind was snubbed by the Emmy awards. It's the best show you're not watching (but should be). This excellent drama is not quite science fiction, not quite historical fiction, but a little of both. For All Mankind is about the space race between the US and Russia in the 1960s, but a key historical moment goes very differently in the first episode of the show. History is changed completely in a multitude of ways. Each season spans a decade or so, and we’re slowly making our way up to modern times in this alternate timeline. Though the historical/sci-fi elements are very cool, at its heart, this is a human drama. It’s worth watching even if you don’t consider yourself a big fan of sci-fi. "Mad Men in space" as one iMore team member calls it — and a very fitting compliment to the show that is, too.

Watch For All Mankind on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

The Morning Show promo image

(Image credit: Apple)

The Morning Show

The Morning Show helped launch the fledgling streaming platform back in 2019, and it's much more than a vehicle for huge stars like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, Billy Crudup, and more. The Morning Show is a behind-the-scenes look at a Today Show-type morning show and a disgraced host reminiscent of Matt Lauer played by Steve Carrell. That's revealed in the first episode, and then we see all of the fallout. Jennifer Aniston (nominated for an Emmy) as the show's co-host, Reese Witherspoon as Steve Carrell's eventual replacement, and Emmy winner Billy Crudup deliver powerhouse performances in this ripped-from-the-headlines #metoo story. 

Watch The Morning Show on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Mythic Quest cast

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Mythic Quest

Mythic Quest is a workplace comedy about the dev team behind the (fictional) biggest multi-player game of all time. The show stars Rob McElhenney, and if you love him in Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you're likely to enjoy Mythic Quest as well. Mythic Quest also reminds us a bit of Silicon Valley — a world where our fellow geeks rule the roost, often with hilarious consequences. 

Watch Mythic Quest on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Prehistoric Planet promo image

(Image credit: Apple)

Prehistoric Planet

For all you documentary lovers out there, you'll want to check out Prehistoric Planet. Jon Favreau and the producers of Planet Earth have created this stunning look at our world 66 million years ago. David Attenborough lends his voice talents and Hans Zimmer creates the sound track on this gorgeous show. It's a treat for all ages, and the best bit of dinosaur action to hit our screens since the original Jurassic Park film. Not convinced? Check out the trailer for Prehistoric Planet.

Watch Prehistoric Planet on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Pachinko promo image

(Image credit: Apple)

Pachinko

Pachinko is an epic historical fiction series based on the National Book Award Finalist book by Min Jin Lee. It follows the story of a poor Korean immigrant family struggling for survival and acceptance in Japan from the early 1900s through the 1980s. The series diverges from the book right away. While the book is a straightforward story that starts with main character Sunja's parents and ends with her grandson, the series cuts back and forth in time between Sunja's early life and her adult grandson's story in the 1980s. Pachinko's title sequence is a ton of fun to watch and garnered the show an Emmy nomination, even if its tone is nothing like the show's dark and gritty realism.

Watch Pachinko on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Servant on Apple TV Plus

(Image credit: Apple)

Servant

If you enjoy M. Night Shyamalan's brand of twisty-turny thriller, you're sure to love the chilling Servant. A young couple suffers a terrible tragedy, which creates a gigantic rift in their marriage. This opens the door for a creepy and mysterious force to enter their home. As mentioned in our Servant review, the show's shocks and scares will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Watch Servant on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Little America on Apple TV Plus

(Image credit: Apple)

Little America

Not sure you want to commit to an entire series? So just watch one episode. Little America is an anthology series; every episode is its own complete story. Little America is based on the true stories of American immigrants; some recent, some decades ago. This is a show that pulls at the heartstrings as you learn about each of these brave and inspiring individuals. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get hooked. If you only watch one episode, watch The Cowboy.

Watch Little America on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Apple TV Plus is one of the best streaming services out there

If you haven't yet taken advantage of your free trial of Apple TV Plus, we highly encourage you to do so. These are just a few iMore favorites to get you started; you'll surely discover plenty of others on your own. 

Karen S Freeman
Contributor

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.