When it was originally on: 2019-present
Original network: Apple TV+
Where you can stream it now: Apple TV+
What IMDb says: An inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the men and women who carry out this daily televised ritual.
Why I picked it: I wanted to explore some of the shows from the newer streaming platforms. The Morning Show is Apple TV+’s buzziest show, earning a nomination for Best Drama at the Golden Globes, and earning Jennifer Anniston a SAG Award. If Apple TV+ originals were to be included on The List, it was hard to justify not picking this one.
What I did like: This one does a really good job of building up tension as the story progresses. We get to see both Alex Levy and Bradley Jackson being the strong personalities they are separately, so when it’s actually time to see them together, I was excited to see what would happen. Same goes for Alex confronting Mitch. Alex spends the whole pilot ignoring Mitch’s phonecalls. We see her going through so many different emotions with other characters first, and we see Mitch insisting on his innocence to a team of lawyers. So when Alex and Mitch are finally in a room together, I was ready to pull out the metaphorical popcorn.
The pilot also does a great job of hinting at more exciting moments to come. We know Bradley Jackson is going to have a meeting with Corey from the network. We know Mitch is going to pursue legal action against the show. There’s enough plates still spinning in the air that I could see why someone would want to keep watching.
What I didn’t like: I really can’t stand the Bradley Jackson character. I’m not 100% sure if it’s Reese Witherspoon’s over-the-top performance that feels like a high school student asked to perform as a southern hick, or the way that this character is written. The problem is that Bradley is constantly whining and complaining about shit, but unfortunately the pilot does NOT properly illustrate what Bradley has to complain about. When she just snaps at a producer and says “there’s a lot of sloppy work done around here, mostly by you!” that might’ve resonated, IF we’d actually seen this producer do any sloppy work beforehand. When all we have to go on is Bradley’s word, she comes off as an angry brat. We might have more sympathy for her yelling “I AM FUCKING AGREEABLE!” if we had, at any point prior to this scene, actually seen Bradley attempting to be agreeable.
But instead, our first impression of Bradley is her complaining about Don McLean’s “American Pie” because “they’ve been singing about the same plane crash for 50 years. Everyone’s still dead! Am I right?” We literally do not get a scene where Bradley is not complaining about shit. Again, this WOULD have worked if we’d actually seen a reason for Bradley to be pissed off. Alex also spends a fair amount of this pilot angrily ranting about shit, but the pilot actually gives her a reason to be so angry. Anger isn’t presented as a defining character trait for Alex, but instead a normal human emotion that anyone would experience if they were faced with the same circumstances.
In the case of Bradley, anger is a defining character trait. The character only becomes less believable when she makes an appearance on the Morning Show. She says she’s been in the business for 15 years, and yet everyone is constantly talking about her inability to control her emotions and maintain professionalism. It almost feels like the Bradley character was originally written to be about 10 years younger, but then they re-wrote her upon learning they could cast a name as big as Reese Witherspoon. Bradley’s behavior would make a lot more sense if she was a scrappy youth who hadn’t learned the ways of her industry yet. But instead, the show asks me to believe that Bradley is a seasoned veteran of her industry even though we never see her acting like one.
Then, to make matters worse, we actually see Bradley being calm, cool, and collected during her interview with Alex. Mind you, this character thus far has been entirely defined by her inability to stay calm, cool, and collected. The Bradley we see on the Morning Show is simply a different character, no explanation for why she’s suddenly so different.
What if we had actually gotten to see Bradley being a proper, professional, objective newscaster for 30 seconds BEFORE she got into a fight with one of the protesters? That would’ve gone a long way towards making her credible when she complains about the state of journalism in America. But no. Instead we just have a character constantly whining about what journalism SHOULD be, but never actually practicing what she preaches.
Do I want to watch Ep. 2: No. I can’t stand Bradley Jackson, and it seems like she’s only going to become more prominent as the story progresses.