Apple is launching into the streaming war on Friday with its own service, Apple TV Plus. But the first reviews for its flagship TV series, "The Morning Show," are mostly negative.
Critics say that not even the show's star-studded cast — which includes Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell — can save its "dull" and "underwhelming," plot, at least based on the first three episodes.
Indiewire's Ben Travers said that there is "very little to just enjoy" about the first three episodes.
The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg criticized the show's "brutally dull" pilot and "meandering" second episode, but wrote that there are "distinct hints in the third hour of a more satisfying and confident" series.
Variety's Daniel D'Addario criticized the characters, writing that there's "not a human worth caring about in sight."
"It's perhaps unsurprising that Apple, a bleeding-edge tech company whose streaming service represents TV's vanguard, had so little sensibility for what morning TV means to its viewers or its practitioners," he wrote.
And Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall praised the acting, but questioned whether Apple TV Plus even needs to exist based on the series so far.
"['The Morning Show'] may think its stories are different than everyone else's, but they aren't," Sepinwall wrote. "Nor are they told well enough to make up for that. The show, and the service, don't need to exist, and thus far aren't justifying that existence."
Not all of the reviews are negative, though. Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin called it "an intriguing, if imperfect, entry into the content wars."
"If we can all forgive the turgid early episodes of 'Succession' — a prime-time soap about aggrieved rich white men — surely we can power through some growing pains for this ambitious drama about aggrieved women who are putting their anger to work," she wrote.
Similarly, AV Club's Alex McLevy wrote that the series "takes a little time to find its whip-smart footing," but once it does, it "has the addictive rush of great old-school TV dramas."
"The Morning Show" cost $300 million for two seasons (20 episodes), Bloomberg reported in August. Apple TV Plus launches on Friday and will cost $4.99 a month.