On paper, the Morning Show sounds like the kind of thing that would only work for a select group of folks. It’s a show about television network politics, after all, and despite its cast, isn’t really a comedy. There are amusing moments, but they are necessary relief from the drama and tension that makes up most of the show. So yes, I am saying that your initial perception of this show might be incorrect. I am saying that you’re in for an emotional ride that you will not expect. I am saying that you, yes you, should watch this show. But before you do that, let me hype you up a little bit more. Let’s talk about it.
Full disclosure, this show deals with heavy concepts such as sexual assault. I feel it handles these situations well, but anyone who may have been a victim of sexual abuse or assault may be triggered by a show like this. I just wanted to be clear on this point before getting into it.
Wen you think of Jennifer Aniston, you’re likely to think of Friends. When you think of Steve Carell, your mind may turn to the Office. The Morning Show, however, is a reminder that both of these people are rue actors, capable of dramatic performances. And make no mistake, some hard decisions were made in this script, and these actors play those moments out to perfection.
This show wouldn’t work without its characters. Remember again, television network politics. Specifically, the show starts with a reveal that one of the co-anchors of the network’s Morning Show is involved in a bit of sexual misconduct. This is Steve Carell’s character, Mich Kessler. On the surface, you would think “OK, so it’s easy to just hate this guy and move on.” Yet the show masterfully builds him into a real human being. His denials are adamant, and as he fights to get his job back, his interactions are full of alternating anger at the ways he is being thwarted, and kindness as he attempts to use the rapport he has built over many years as an anchor. You begin to wonder whether any of what he is being accused of is true, because Mich himself truly believes he is not in the wrong. I will not spoil this show, but the point I’m trying to make is that the effort was made to make every character feel real.
I could honestly write paragraphs on each character if I wanted, they are so well-developed. I won’t do that, but I will write one more, on Reese Witherspoon’s character, Bradley Jackson. Hers is perhaps the best character in the show. She is a fearless woman who lost her job at another network because of, let’s say, an outburst, which lands her an interview on the Morning Show. Her fiery temperament shows itself there as well, and the network takes interest in her. It’s this temperament that makes her great, because it puts her in the unique position of saying the kinds of things you want to hear a news personality say. She hates the politics of it all. She doesn’t want anything covered up or sugarcoated, and she is willing to go to extreme measures to make sure that doesn’t happen. This causes all sorts of clashes, and affects the other characters in major ways. Best of all, though, she’s also a human being. She has a heart. She has her own problems with her family, who she loves in spite of those problems. I’m positive you’ll fall in love with this character.
The last thing I want to talk about is the audio description. Veteran describer Tanzi Alexander does an incredible job of communicating the many, many dramatic and affecting moments of this show. She adopts a quiet voice when the mood fits it, and speaks a bit more quickly when the drama starts to pick up. She is the perfect describer for a show like this. For reference, you may have heard her describe Orange is the New Black.
I think I’m going to leave this review here. You’ve likely noticed I focused heavily on the characters rather than the story, but it is as I said in the beginning. This show doesn’t work without them. Now that I’ve introduced you to some of them, why not go see how their stories play out? Why not learn who Mich is, and see Bradley’s fight for truth? Why not learn more about smug network exec Cory, frantic lead producer Chip, and egotistical golden girl Alex? By the final episode, you will be feeling every moment as the fates of these characters will matter to you. You will know who your friends an enemies are, and you’ll care about them all in different ways. The first season of The Morning Show is available now on Apple TV Plus, and I really, really hope you give it a watch.