No one is watching Apple TV Plus? You’re all missing out: Here are our five top recommendations

Jason Segel and Harrison Ford in “Shrinking,” premiering globally on January 27, 2023 on Apple TV+.
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple TV Plus streaming service is apparently not being watched by all that many viewers these days, even though it has a lot of fantastic shows on offer.

According to Matthew Belloni's Puck newsletter, “Nielsen’s monthly Gauge report of streaming viewership shows Apple TV Plus at 0.29 percent of viewership.” This is very low when compared to other streaming services — even upstarts like Paramount Plus stand at 1.1 percent, and that’s before getting to the big dogs like Netflix and Disney+.

So we’re here to tell you that if you’re not an Apple TV Plus subscriber — you really should be. We’ve explained in the past how there are so many good shows on offer that are only available on Apple’s streaming service. That’s not even mentioning the ‘Immersive Originals’ that you can access on Apple Vision Pro, which allows users to watch 8K videos of shows like ‘Prehistoric Planet Immersive’ as well as private listening sessions with music artist Alicia Keys, as if you’re right in the room with the stars of the shows.

So with all this in mind, we’ve got a bunch of recommendations from Apple TV Plus that you can watch right now.

Foundation

Stephen Warwick — News Editor

The global cinema-going masses are captured by one thing right now — Dune. Dune is a gargantuan sci-fi epic set thousands of years in the future, based on a series of award-winning novels by Frank Herbert and brought to life with the epic visual genius of Denis Villeneuve.

I’ve watched both movies in IMAX, and nothing comes close to the cinematic experience, or the scale that Villeneuve is able to portray in some of his shots. There is one close contender on Apple TV Plus, however, and that’s Foundation.

This is a gargantuan sci-fi series set thousands of years in the future, based on a series of award-winning novels… sound familiar? Exactly. If you have any interest in Dune, or sci-fi in general, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation has doubtless already been on your radar — even if the Apple TV Plus show has so far eluded you.

Foundation is definitely one of Apple’s most ambitious TV shows — it’s garnered a respectable 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. While its first season only scored 72%, Foundation Season 2, which came out last year, has a mind-blowing 100% score, making it one of the most lauded shows in recent memory.

Masters of the Air

Tammy Rogers — Senior Staff Writer

I’ve always been fascinated with World War II airplanes and the men that flew them. It’s the visceral nature of these planes, powered by a 2000-horsepower engine, leaking as much oil as they did artillery, staying aloft thanks to little more than mechanical brute force — completely juxtaposed against a fresh-faced young airman tossed in the cockpit to defend his countrymen from the threat of a totalitarian regime. Masters of the Air gives a violent, personal look at a flight group of American pilots stationed in the UK, all based on real events.

The stories that the survivors of World War II tell are amongst some of the most inspiring and harrowing you’ll hear, although there is a single, driving factor amongst all of them: The camaraderie between the men and women who ended up on the front lines. Band of Brothers was an epic retelling of the story of the “Easy” company, created and directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which aired in 2001. It showed not only the horrific things the men would face when parachuting down into enemy territories, but the character's own journeys as they got to know and support each other. It’s brutal and terrifying, but above all, gives insight into how the men had to become, in a matter of days and weeks, like brothers.

Spielberg and Hanks have returned to move the storytelling to the sky with Masters of the Air, and they’ve got some stellar talent on board to make it happen. Austin Butler does a stand-up job as Major Gale “Buck” Cleven, his friendship with Callum Tucker’s Major John “Bucky” Egan is as believable as if they’d known each other for twenty years. The personal moments are a highlight of the show, although the bombing raids the men are sent out on are cinematically impressive.

If you’ve read the book, you already know how the story of Buck and Bucky ends, but it’s an impressive and engaging watch the whole way through — and crucially, only available on Apple TV Plus.

Shrinking

James Bentley — Staff Writer

Take one of the leads of TV Shows such as How I Met Your Mother, as well as one of the central minds behind Scrubs (plus, you know, good old Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford), then throw it all together. This gets you a surprisingly earnest and sincere comedy-drama about a psychologist who invents a radical new way to help his patients, while re-examining his own life after the passing of his wife. 

In Shrinking, Jimmy, played by Jason Segel, and his boss/mentor Paul, played by Ford, make a deal for him to start a more personal relationship with his clients, that involves field trips, revelations, and catharsis. It’s a funny show that can feel surprisingly grounded, whilst never losing the humor at its heart. If you like the warmth of Ted Lasso and the jokes of Scrubs, this will be your kind of thing. 

Season one concluded at the start of 2023 but a second season has already been greenlit.

For All Mankind

Daryl Baxter — Features Editor

I’ve always loved the concept of ‘what if’ and alternate history scenarios — from Marvel’s ‘What If’ series to Stephen King’s novel, 11/22/63, which tells the story of a time traveler who tries to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

So For All Mankind, a science-fiction series exclusive to Apple TV Plus, is almost tailor-made for me. It tells the story of an alternate timeline that begins in 1969, seeing the Soviet Union become the first nation to land on the Moon, beating the US NASA institution to the goal. Every subsequent season takes place ten years later, which follows on with this alternative strand, showing how this historical shift alters the entire world, and the rate of technological advancement we would have experienced — and I’ve been hooked.

Every episode introduces twists, turns, and tense moments that keep you guessing until the end of the season, and makes you wonder what else has been changed in this alternative timeline.

Its fourth season concluded in January this year, in an alternative 2003 — but its co-creators, Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, and Matt Wolpert, have envisioned a seven-season arc. So I’m really curious to see where one of the best shows on Apple TV Plus goes to next.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Gerald Lynch — Editor-In-Chief

Godzillaaaaaaaaa. Let me say that, no, SHOUT that again. GODZILLAAAAAAA

I’d argue that I don’t have to say anything more than that. But for those who need convincing, the Big G, King of the Monsters, Lord of the Lizards, the one and only, Godzilla, is having a stellar year. Picking up an Oscar earlier this month for his retro-tinged reboot in Godzilla Minus One, which saw him tear through post-war Tokyo, as well as teaming up yet again with old hairy King Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, this month’s blockbuster cinema entry in the mainline western take on the franchise, Godzilla has been a busy beast.

And somehow, Apple’s managed to cram all that mega-stomping action into a TV show with Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. With an all-star cast that includes the infinitely-watchable Kurt Russell, it fleshes out the wider world of giant-monster madness, without scrimping on the skyscraper-sized spectacle of watching giant creatures that either a) plows through a city or b) going ten rounds with another oversized monstrosity. It’s the sort of TV I dreamed would exist when I was a kid — and this big kid can’t get enough of it now it’s real.

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iMore.com is your source for all things Apple, and the IM Staff author represents our collective hivemind, for those occasions when the whole team speaks with one voice to bring you important updates about the site, editorial policies, awards, promotions and more. 


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  • Annie_M
    I agree 100% with all of these suggestions!!! Plus there are many more shows worth watching!
    Reply
  • Just_Me_D
    “Monarch” definitely belongs on the list.
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    I don't have a TV, I don't want a TV. And I don't want to give Apple any more money.
    Reply