Wondering what to watch on Apple TV Plus? The service has only been around since 2019, so it’s still a baby compared to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But that hasn’t stopped Apple's streaming service from producing outstanding content for everyone, no matter what type of TV shows or movies or or series you’re into.
Filled with excellent comedies, documentaries, and dramas, Apple TV Plus received a record-breaking 52 prime time Emmy nominations in 2022. So if you’re looking for your next binge-watch or want a high-quality series to get tucked into, you’re in the right place. This is iMore’s guide to the best Apple TV+ shows, movies, documentaries and more.
At a glance
Severance is a twisty, dark drama that brings new surprises each week. (and please, where's season 2?)
For All Mankind is an excellent drama about the space race between the US and Russia in the '60s ... mostly.
Silo The last 10,000 people on Earth -- and their mile-deep home protecting them from the toxic world outside.
Prehistoric Planet by Jon Favreau and the producers of Planet Earth: A delight, full of dinosaurs
Real Madrid: Until The End Apple's soccer doc strives where others falter by making an honest show for stans and casual fans alike.
Servant Like M. Night Shyamalan's twisty thrillers? this chiller's shocks and scares will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Little America is an anthology series that pulls at the heartstrings. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get hooked.
Tiny World Narrated by actor Paul Rudd, the show uses groundbreaking tech to document the fight for survival of Earth's smallest creatures
Letter to You In late 2019, Bruce gathered The E Street Band together to make an album in just five days. In the end, it took them just four.
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds Famed filmmaker Werner Herzog chronicles how meteorites have impacted our planet’s landscapes
Causeway follows Lynsey, a soldier sent home from Afghanistan with severe PTSD following the explosion of two roadside bombs.
Sharper A neo-noir thriller of secrets and lies, set amongst New York City's bedrooms and boardrooms. Characters compete for power in a high stakes game of greed.
The best of the best: What to watch on Apple TV+
Here's out top picks for the best shows on Apple TV+, hand-picked from the wealth of streaming content available on Apple TV+. There's more to Apple's on-demand video service than Ted Lasso, of course, but it's a good place to start.
Ted Lasso is back for its third and final season. Ted, the main character, seems a bit silly and too good to be true, but he’s the genuine article: a warm, kind, good-hearted person. In an era where more shows feature anti-heroes than heroes, Ted Lasso is a bright spot in a world that has 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 the show takes a darker turn in the second season. This must-watch show won dozens of Emmys and put Apple TV Plus on the map.
Severance is a twisty, dark drama that manages to bring new surprises each week. The premise is that 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 it receives. We can't wait for Severance Season 2.
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 show's first episode. After that, history is entirely changed in a multitude of ways.
Each season spans a decade, and we’re slowly moving to modern times in this alternate timeline. Though the historical/sci-fi elements are very cool, this is a human drama at its heart. It’s worth watching, even if you don’t consider yourself a big sci-fi fan. "Mad Men in space," as one iMore team member calls it — and a very fitting compliment to the show that is, too.
"Silo is the story of the last ten thousand people on earth, their mile-deep home protecting them from the toxic and deadly world outside," Apple's description of Silo begins. "However, no one knows when or why the silo was built and any who try to find out face fatal consequences." Sounds pretty good right? It gets better.
"Rebecca Ferguson stars as Juliette, an engineer, who seeks answers about a loved one's murder and tumbles onto a mystery that goes far deeper than she could have ever imagined, leading her to discover that if the lies don't kill you, the truth will."
Mythic Quest is a workplace comedy about the dev team behind the (fictional) biggest multi-player video 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 reminds us of Silicon Valley — a world where our fellow geeks rule the roost, often with hilarious consequences.
If you're a fan of dinosaurs, you'll want to check out Prehistoric Planet. Jon Favreau and the producers of Planet Earth created this stunning look at our world 66 million years ago. David Attenborough lends his voice talents, and Hans Zimmer creates the soundtrack for this gorgeous show.
The show is set to return for a second season later this year, and the Jurassic Park fans in the iMore team cannot wait. Not convinced? Check out the trailer for Prehistoric Planet. If you love documentaries, you'll also want to take a look at our list of the Best Apple TV Plus documentaries.
Real Madrid: Until The End
Real Madrid: Until The End is a three-part documentary series that showcases the incredible 2021/2022 UEFA Champion's League campaign of Los Blancos, Real Madrid. Apple's soccer documentary strives where other sports documentaries falter by making an honest and entertaining show for soccer super fans and casual fans alike. So if you are interested in shows like The Last Dance, give Until The End a chance.
If you enjoy M. Night Shyamalan's brand of thriller filled with twists and turns, you're sure to love the chilling Servant. A young couple suffers a 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 on the edge of your seat.
Not sure you want to commit to an entire series? Just watch one episode. Little America is an anthology series; every episode is a complete story. Little America is based on the true stories of American immigrants, some recent and 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, and you'll get hooked. If you only watch one episode, watch The Cowboy.
The Best Documentaries
To go alongside all those great shows mentioned above, Apple TV Plus also has a brilliant roster of documentaries. A diverse range, with prehistoric epics, pop odysseys, spectacular nature series, and political deep-dives all part of the rich tapestry, the best documentaries on Apple TV+ will surely pique your interest.
Tiny documentary series Tiny World ran for just two seasons. Narrated by actor Paul Rudd, the show uses groundbreaking new technology to document the activities and fight for survival of some of the smallest creatures on Planet Earth, heading into deserts, jungles, and forests to do so.
Charmingly delivered and spectacular to watch, it's no wonder we consider this to be one of the best Apple TV documentaries.
Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You
In late 2019, legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen gathered The E Street Band together to make an album in just five days. In the end, it took them just four.
This documentary goes inside the recording process of the album, an album which followed a lengthy period of writer's block for Springsteen, a block that was finally broken after he returned to revisit material originally written prior to his 1973 debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N. J.
Shot lovingly in black and white, the movie is directed by Thom Zimny, a longtime collaborator of Springsteen's.
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds
Eccentric filmmaker Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, a world-renowned Professor of Volcanology, come together to make this film, which chronicles how meteorites have impacted our planet’s landscapes and cultures.
Filmed across 12 different locations on six different continents, the documentary is a strange blend of hard science and Herzog's fascination with human foibles. This widescreen, globe-trotting epic has to be seen to be believed.
The best movies on Apple TV+
Apple TV Plus has a growing library of original films, some of which have been honored with prestigious awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture. The films cross over a number of genres so there’s something for everyone. For more of the best movies on Apple TV+, see our complete guide.
No list of the best Apple TV Plus movies would be complete without this award-winning film. CODA won three Oscars, including "Best Picture" as well as "Best Adapted Screenplay" in 2022. This is a universally appealing film we would recommend to just about everyone. The main character of the film, Ruby, is a CODA, or child of Deaf adults. Ruby’s role in the family includes working on her family’s fishing boat before school and often serving as an interpreter for her Deaf parents and brother.
She joins her high school’s choir and discovers she that she’s a gifted singer, but has to make the difficult choice whether to keep helping her family or to pursue her own dreams. CODA made history in several ways: it’s the first film with a predominantly Deaf cast to win Best Picture and actor Troy Kotsur (who plays Ruby’s father) is the first Deaf male actor to win an Oscar (Best Supporting Actor). Additionally, CODA makes Apple TV Plus the first streaming service to win the "Best Picture" Academy Award. CODA will get you right in the feels.
Causeway was Apple's main shot at an Academy Award in 2023 and worth checking out if you're a fan of heartfelt dramas. The film follows Lynsey, a US Military soldier sent home from Afghanistan with severe PTSD following the explosion of two roadside bombs. I can't say it's an easy watch, as it tackles some heavy subjects and doesn't shy away from the difficult emotions. Elevated by strong performances from Jennifer Lawrence and "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar-nominated Bryan Tyree Henry, Causeway isn't for everyone but it's an excellent film.
According to data from Reelgood, a streaming aggregator who regularly puts together some analytics around TV shows and movies, found that Sharper, a new Apple TV Plus thriller starring Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan, helped the streaming service crack back into the top 10 list for the week of February 23, 2023.
Sharper is "a neo-noir thriller of secrets and lies, set amongst New York City's bedrooms, barrooms and boardrooms. Characters compete for riches and power in a high stakes game of ambition, greed, lust and jealousy that will keep audiences guessing until the final moment." Read more here.
Causeway is Apple's main shot at an Academy Award in 2023 and worth checking out if you're a fan of heartfelt dramas. The film follows Lynsey, a US Military soldier sent home from Afghanistan with severe PTSD following the explosion of two roadside bombs. With strong performances from Jennifer Lawrence and a "Best Supporting Actor" nomination for Bryan Tyree Henry, Causeway isn't for everyone but it will be for someone.
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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.
- John-Anthony DisottoHow To Editor