From straightforward comedy, to musical parodies and murder mysteries, Apple TV+ features some incredible comedy
Despite its firm standing within technology, Apple TV+ trails behind more established streaming giants, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Disney+, who have built up an audience with its reliable output of original content. Apple TV+, on the other hand, has a much smaller pool of offerings, though all of it is of an incredible quality. The Morning Show, Defending Jacob and Little Voice are all brilliantly captivating drama, but Apple TV+ also excels on the comedic front, with sports comedy-drama Ted Lasso even earning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for both of its seasons. Read on to discover some of the comedy series that Apple TV+ offers.
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple, and Sarah Niles
There is no possible way to describe Ted Lasso that can do justice to just how brilliant it truly is. Ted Lasso follows our eponymous character, played by Jason Sudeikis, an American football coach who is recruited to coach AFC Richmond in a move by the company’s new owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) to run the team into the ground to spite her ex-husband. So far, so unremarkable.
Where Ted Lasso excels is the disarming affability of its central character against all odds. His unbeatable Southern charm remains relentlessly positive in the face of almost any adversity, and it’s tremendously heartwarming to watch as this demeanour wins him the favour of pretty much every character he encounters, despite his sheer unsuitability for the role in the first place. Ted also succeeds in bringing out the best in those around him. Principally, there is something joyous in watching an assortment of brilliantly likeable and thoroughly unique, quirky characters working together towards a common goal.
Its sophomore season is just as winning as the first, though an episode focussed upon Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) is uncharacteristically dour. The second season takes the opportunity to further explore the central character’s relationships without sacrificing any of its zany humour. This allows us to know all of the characters that much better and permitting some truly exceptional, heartbreaking moments without it dominating the narrative.
A comedy is simply nothing without strong characterisation, and Ted Lasso has this in spades. The central premise of criminally out of place Ted is source enough of brilliant amusements, but the interplay between the thoroughly believable, though wonderfully weird characters will never cease to be amusing.
Ted Lasso‘s first two seasons are streaming now on Apple TV+. A third season has been commissioned.
Starring Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong, Fred Armisen, Dove Cameron, Jaime Camil, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Ariana DeBose, Ann Harada, Jane Krakowski, Martin Short, and Aaron Tveit
Isn’t there something just wonderfully feel-good about Golden Age musical theatre? The glorious, perfectly created interior soundstages meant to convey a genuine location but with just that hint of artificial lighting? The scenes shot as if live, never breaking our connection with the stars? The songs that drift out of nowhere that suddenly everybody knows incredibly intense choreography to? It’s glorious to witness, and also exceptionally easy to make fun of – and that’s precisely what Schmigadoon! does.
Schmigadoon! deposits our contemporary characters, New York doctors Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key), who are far from the typical couple, into the magical town of Schmigadoon which exists as if it is a Golden Age musical. With their relationship already at breaking point, the pair discover that they are unable to leave the town until they find true love.
They also encounter some characters who are awfully reminiscent of the well-worn character tropes that all audiences shall be familiar with: Betsy McDonough (Dove Cameron), a sweet, virginal flower whose sole want seems to be to find a man to marry, Doc Jorge Lopez (Jaime Camil), an emotionally stunted doctor à la Captain von Trapp, who comes replete with an ill-suited by ambitious fiancée, Countess Gabriele Von Blerkom (Jane Krakowski) who is, of course a literal Nazi. There’s the easily outraged preacher’s wife, Mildred Layton (Kristen Chenoweth) and her meek counterpart Reverend Howard Layton (Fred Armisen), who performs his husbandly duty of allowing her whims. That’s not even to mention Mayor Aloysius Menlove (Alan Cumming), whose name is only entirely on the nose, along with his devoted wife Florence (Ann Harada), the schoolmarm Emma (Ariana DeBose) and resident rapscallion Danny Bailey (Aaron Tveit). All of these characters, of course, trade in the currency of secrets – because what musical is a musical without an Act 2 revelation?
Not only does this show act as a delicious parody, with its sendup of musical theatre conventions rendered certifiably hilarious by dropping in characters who sit at a remove from the musical world, but it also functions as a brilliantly accomplished homage. The songs, written by Cinco Paul are witty and perfectly match the musical theatre era they reference. The choreography is consistently engaging and simply joyous to view.
With such a glorious premise, Schmigadoon!‘s second season will find main characters Josh and Melissa alighting in Schmicago, to advance its musical theatre references into the 60s and 70s while DeBose, Chenoweth, Cumming, Harada, Krakowski, Short, Tveit, Cameron, Camil, Armisen and Liam Quiring-Nkindi will return presumably in either new or reimagined roles to suit the new time period.
Schmigadoon!‘s first season is available in its entirety on Apple TV+
Starring Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ike Barinholtz, Ben Schwartz, Ilana Glazer, Jamie Demetriou, and Dave Franco
Continuing Apple’s trend of interpolating comedy with other genres, The Afterparty sees the streaming platform take on the trope-laden minefield of murder mystery. The setting? A high school reunion. The victim? A hugely successful pop star/actor. Who could have wanted him dead? Well, as it transpires, most of the guests to his swanky afterparty.
The Afterparty is far from conventional in its story telling style however. Not only is Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) highly impulsive in her investigative approach, but each episode focusses upon the perspective of a different character. This can be highly amusing, and also incredibly suspicious, in the contrasting ways that characters present their own and other’s behaviours when retelling the same events. It also allows the comedy show to bend genres, as each character’s testimony results in an episode of a different style.
Aniq (Sam Richardson), who has come to the high school reunion with the hopes of uniting with crush Zoë (Zoë Chao), tells his story in the style of a romantic comedy, while Zoë’s ex Brett (Ike Bariholtz) favours action. Aspiring musician Yasper (Ben Schwartz) brings the audience into a musical extravaganza; dark and mysterious Chelsea (Ilana Glazer) provides a psychological thriller; social outcast Walt (Jamie Demetriou) a teen drama; Zoë, torn between her identity as a mother and as a woman, an unhinged, chaotic animation; and Danner even gets in on the fun by providing a a police procedural – and that’s not even all of the genres that the show cycles through.
Having said that, the mystery itself does rattle on for a little bit too long and perhaps the show could have benefitted from more judicious editing to ramp up the pace somewhat, as some of the stories take a while to fully take hold in the interesting bits. However, the melding of genres is highly accomplished and thoroughly diverting, even though Ike Barinholtz’s presence, playing the same sort of character he’s played countless times, does become grating.
The Afterparty is streaming now on Apple TV+. It has been renewed for a second season, also starring Tiffany Haddish
Starring Maya Rudolph, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Joel Kim Booster, Ron Funches, and Nat Faxon
Fish out of water stories are a brilliant place to start a sitcom. Loot sees star Maya Rudolph – on fine comedic form as ever – take centre stage as Molly Wells, who has become used to a life of obscene luxury as the wife of tech billionaire John Novak (Adam Scott). Unfortunately, Molly’s discovery of John’s affair on her 45th birthday leads to a divorce and a $87 billion settlement. After initially blowing some of this cash with assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster), Molly learns of a charitable organisation that she funds and quickly becomes motivated to put her money to good use.
Much of the humour of the series comes from Molly’s well-intentioned attempts to throw money at problems, and her sheer lack of understanding at how the world actually works due to her lofty amount of cash. She is a character who is fundamentally predisposed to achieve good but is woefully out of touch. Part of the reason to continue to tune in, however, is to see how Molly is changed and altered to become more of a selfless person by those around her.
This character development is not exclusively reserved for Molly, however, as Nicholas similarly reveals hidden complexities and depth that his partying lifestyle helped conceal, while stiff boss Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) learns the value of opening up to her team instead of remaining so staunchly focused on philanthropic endeavours.
The first season is the perfect length to leave the audience wanting more, and after the incredible cliffhanger ending, audiences will be eager to tune into the second when it arrives.
Loot is available to stream now on Apple TV+.