Apple TV+ originals: Apple orders six-part documentary on the World Surf League

17 min readDec 9, 2020


Apple is planting its own flag in the streaming wars with Apple TV+, its in-house streaming service that focuses almost entirely on original programming rather than an extensive library of existing TV shows or movies.

Though the service has been available for only about a year and and doesn’t yet have a lot of shows or films available, there’s a lot in the works. This is a list of all the Apple TV+ content we know of so far, along with details about prominent stars, directors, producers, and release dates.

To save on Apple gear see our roundup of the best holiday deals on iPads, AirPods, Watches, MacBooks, and more.Updated 12/04/20: Apple has announced that it has placed an order for a six-part documentary series on the World Surf League.

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Available nowHere are the shows, series, and movies you can watch on Apple TV+ right now.

The Morning ShowWhat it’s about: The Morning Show is a drama about a morning TV news show and the power struggles between the men and women who work on it. It supposedly draws heavily from the book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by Brian Stelter.

Important names: The show is being developed by Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine. It starts Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell.

When you can watch: The Morning Show is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now. Here’s our review.

The Morning Show has been renewed for a second season.

SeeWhat it’s about: A futuristic, post-apocalyptic drama, See imagines a world with no sight. A devastating virus wipes out all but a few million of the Earth’s population, and those that survived were stricken permanently blind.

The series takes place hundreds of years later, where humans have been without sight for so long that it’s disputed whether such a thing ever even really existed.

Important names: The series stars Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Aquaman) and Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage, 12 Years a Slave, Captain America: Civil War). Variety reports that Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049) will join the cast for the second season.

A recent Wall Street Journal article claims that See is costing almost $15 million per episode, making it one of the most expensive TV productions around.

When you can watch: See is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now. Here’s our review.

See has been renewed for a second season.

DickinsonWhat it’s about: A 19th century coming-of-age story about the life of Emily Dickinson. A half-hour comedy drama, it is set in the past but features writing to relate to a modern audience.

Important names: Emily Dickenson is played by Hailee Steinfeld, her parents are played by Jane Krakowski and Toby Huss. It is written by Alena Smith (The Newsroom, The Affair).

When you can watch: The first season is available now, and the second season debuts on January 8, 2021 with the first three episodes. Additional episodes will stream weekly.

For All MankindWhat it’s about: What would happen if the Soviet Union beat the U.S.A. to putting a man on the moon, and the global space race had never ended? This series starts with the moon race of the ‘60s and will continue through the following decades.

Important names: It’s written and created by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Jodi Balfour, and Sarah Jones.

When you can watch: For All Mankind is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now. Here’s our review.

For All Mankind has been renewed for a second season.

HelpstersWhat it’s about: Helpsters is an educational entertainment series aimed at preschoolers. The show is meant to help introduce toddlers to the simplest core concepts of coding as a means of helping people. The pitch is: Coding helps foster collaboration and critical thinking skills, and is an “essential language that every child can learn.”

Important names: It’s produced by Children’s Television Workshop, the people who make Sesame Street.

When you can watch: Helpsters is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now.

Snoopy in SpaceWhat it’s about: Charlie Brown’s beagle Snoopy fulfills his dream of becoming a NASA astronaut. This is limited series of 10 animated shorts.

Important names: It’s the Peanuts gang! That might not mean a lot to the kids of today, but anyone over 30 grew up with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang on TV and in the newspaper.

When you can watch: Snoopy in Space is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now.

GhostwriterWhat it’s about: A reboot of the ‘90s Ghostwriter TV show that originally aired on PBS, Apple describes this as, “A reinvention of the beloved original series follows four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighborhood bookstore and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature.”

Important names: The series stars Isaac Arellanes, Hannah Levinson, Jay Santiago, and many more. There aren’t a lot of household names involved.

When you can watch: Ghostwriter is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now.

Oprah’s Book ClubWhat it’s about: Oprah is no longer the queen of daytime TV, but she still wields enormous influence. The Book Club that was part of her daytime TV show could turn novels into bestsellers overnight. Now she’s bringing her Book Club to Apple TV+ as its own exclusive series.

Important names: Oprah, duh.

When you can watch: Oprah’s Book Club is available now.

The Elephant QueenWhat it’s about: Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble embedded themselves for four years together with the family of a giant elephant matriarch named Athena. The film follows their journey as the watering hole that is home to her and her family dries up, and she risks taking her family in search of food and water, though they might not survive the journey.

Important names: The documentary is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

When you can watch: The Elephant Queen is part of the opening lineup of shows for Apple TV+ and you can watch it now.

ServantWhat it’s about: The story follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.

Important names: The series was created by Tony Basgallop and directed (at least a few episodes) by M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, and Rupert Grint.

When you can watch: Servant debuted on November 28, 2019. Be sure to read our review of the first episodes. Season 2 will start streaming on January 15, 2021.

Truth Be ToldWhat it’s about: The story is about a hit podcast (think: Serial) that reopens a long-closed murder case in the public eye, and unravels the life of our protagonist, Josie, who had finally put her troubled old life behind her. It’s adapted from the book Are You Sleeping: A Novel by Kathleen Barber.

Important names: The two biggest stars are Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul.

When you can watch: Truth Be Told debuted on December 6 and is now available. Read our review of the first season.

Little AmericaWhat it’s about: A new half-hour anthology series about immigrants in America. It will be based on the true stories of immigrants, many of which were printed in Epic Magazine’s Little America series. It will focus not on the huge famous immigrants that have made worldwide impact, but the everyday lives and struggles that we all share. “These are human stories that feature immigrants,” explained Kumail Nanjiani.

Important names: Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon will co-write and executive produce and share writing duties with Lee Eisenberg, who will serve as showrunner. Alan Yang, known as the co-creator of Master of None, will also executive produce the show.

When you can watch: Little America started streaming on January 17, 2020, and has been renewed for a second season. Read our review of the first season.

HalaWhat it’s about: Hala, a Pakistani-American teenager, struggles to balance desire with her familial, cultural, and religious obligations. As she comes into her own, she grapples with a secret that threatens to unravel her family.

AppleImportant names: Hala stars Geraldine Viswanathan and is written and directed by Minhal Baig and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith.

When you can watch: Hala got limited theatrical release on November 22, 2019 is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Mythic Quest: Raven’s BanquetWhat it’s about: Fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will be thrilled to hear that Rob McElhenney and co-star Charlie Day are teaming up to make a new half-hour scripted comedy series for Apple. The show is set in a video game development studio; a comedy concept that has been tried numerous times before without much success.

Here’s an interesting wrinkle: The series will be produced by 3 Arts Entertainment and also...Ubisoft? Yes, the mega video game publisher is involved. We might expect that the show, while not about Ubisoft, will at least feature plenty of Ubisoft game name-dropping and product placement.

Important names: Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day are producers. McElhenney will also write and star.

When you can watch: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet became available to stream on February 7, 2020. It has been renewed for a second season. Read our review of the first season.

Visible: Out on TelevisionWhat it’s about: Details the way the LGBTQ movement has shaped television. Combining archival footage with interviews with key players from the movement and the screen, this five-part docuseries is narrated by and features interviews with lot of famous celebrities.

Apple A five-part documentary series about the LGBTQ movement on TV.

Important names: Produced by Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, with narration by Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Lena Waithe. There are featured interviews with Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Sara Ramirez, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and more.

When you can watch: All five episodes of Visible: Out on Television became available to stream on February 14, 2020.

Amazing StoriesWhat it’s about: A resurrection of the old Amazing Stories TV series, itself based on the old science fiction literary magazine. The anthology is a set of separate, fantastical stories, like the World War II pilot whose plane magically travels through space and time from the past and into the present day. Who will he meet? Can he return? Does he want to? What happens if he doesn’t?

Important names: Steven Spielberg big enough for you? He’s personally involved in the production of the new series, which will be handled by his production company (Amblin Entertainment). Showrunners are Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.

When you can watch: The first episode of Amazing Stories became available to stream on March 6, 2020.

The BankerWhat it’s about: This film tells the true story of two 1950s African-American entrepreneurs, Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris. The duo recruited a working class white man, Matt Steiner, to pose as the head of their business empire so they can buy buildings and banks to make loans to African Americans.

Important names: The film stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie.

When you can watch: The Banker became available to stream on March 20, 2020.

Oprah Talks COVID-19What it’s about: Oprah speaks with leading epidemiologists and global health experts to... just kidding! Oprah basically FaceTimes famous celebs and her high-society friends about the global pandemic. If you’re primary concern over a global pandemic is “but what about the celebrities?” then Oprah has got you covered.

Important names: Oprah, of course. In the first episode she speaks with Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina Dowhre about living with COVID-19. In the second episode, she talks to Pastor Wintley Phillips.

When you can watch: There are two episodes available as of March 23. More will be coming.

Home Before DarkWhat it’s about: A mystery drama inspired by the life of pre-teen journalist Hilde Lysiak. The series will be about a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to a lakeside town, where she gets involved in uncovering a cold case that the community has concealed.

Important names: The series is directed by Jon M. Chu. It stars Brooklynn Prince, Jim Sturgess, Abby Miller, Kylie Rogers, Adrian Hough, Jibrail Nantambu, Deric McCabe and Joelle Carter.

When you can watch: Home Before Dark became available to stream on April 3, 2020.

HomeWhat it’s about: It looks like Apple wants to cash in on the “look at the fancy homes of fancy people” TV craze, with its own unique twist. According to Variety, Apple has ordered one full season of 10 hour-long episodes.

It’s billed as a documentary series and is said to, “offer viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most innovative homes.”

Apple Important names: The show is being produced by veteran documentary writer-producer duo Matt Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser, along with several veteran producers from Time Inc. Productions.

When you can watch: Home became available on April 17, 2020.

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet EarthWhat it’s about: An animated short film about a precocious seven-year-old who learns about the wonders of the planet from his parents on Earth Day. (And from a mysterious exhibit at the Museum of Everything.)

Important names: It’s narrated by Hollywood royalty Meryl Streep, with a star voice cast of Chris O’Dowd, Jacob Tremblay, and Ruth Negga.

When you can watch: Here We Are became available to stream on April 17, 2020.

Fraggle Rock: Rock On!What it’s about: The Fraggles are back! The Jim Henson series that many parents grew up with is available now in a free short-form series on Apple TV+. Episodes are about five minutes long.

Important names: Wembly, Boober, Red, Gobo, Mokey, and of course, Doozers.

When you can watch: The first episode of Fraggle Rock: Rock On! became available on April 21, 2020. Apple is making them available for free.

Beastie Boys StoryWhat it’s about: A documentary by the legendary Spike Jonze, together with surviving band members Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz, about the history and legacy of the Beastie Boys.

Important names: Spike Jonze, Mike Diamond (Mike D), and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock).

When you can watch: Apple started streaming Beastie Boys Story on April 24, 2020.

Defending JacobWhat it’s about: William Landay’s best-selling legal thriller Defending JacobRemove non-product link is coming to the small screen. It is a limited series of 8 episodes.

Important names: The series will star Chris Evans as the father of a 14-year-old boy who is accused of murder. It also stars Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel, and Sakina Jaffrey.

When you can watch: The first three episodes of Defending Jacob became available to stream on April 24, 2020, with additional episodes to be available weekly.

TryingWhat it’s about: A British comedy series about “growing up, settling down and finding someone to love.” The series will be eight half-hour episodes. This was previously reported to be in development under the working title Alabama.

Important names: It’s written by Andy Wolton and stars Imelda Staunton (you know her as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies).

When you can watch: Trying became available for streaming on May 1, 2020.

Fraggle RockWhat it’s about: Apple’s first non-original content is the entire back-catalog of Fraggle Rock, the classic kid’s series from the 80s produced by the Jim Henson Company. Apple also has a series of new original shorts titled Fraggle Rock: Rock On! and is in the process of a new series reboot.

AppleImportant names: Wembly, Boober, Red, Gobo, Mokey, and of course, Doozers

When you can watch: The Fraggle Rock back-catalog became available to stream on May 27, 2020.

Central ParkWhat it’s about: An animated musical comedy about a family that lives in Central Park. Owen, the park manager, and Paige, his journalist wife, raise their kids Molly and Cole in the world’s most famous park.

Important names: The show is the brainchild of Loren Bouchard (creator of Bob’s Burgers), Nora Smith (Bob’s Burgers executive producer) and Josh Gad (who voices Olaf in Frozen). It stars some top-tier voice talent, including Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, and Stanley Tucci.

When you can watch: The first two episodes of Central Park debuted on May 29, 2020, with additional episodes to follow weekly. Read our initial impressions.

Dear...What it’s about: A documentary series in which biographies of famous people are told using letters written by those whose lives have been changed through their work. The 10-episode series profiles internationally recognized leaders including Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Yara Shahidi, Stevie Wonder, Aly Raisman, Misty Copeland, Big Bird and more.

Important names: In addition to the all-star subjects, the show is executive produced by Emmy and Peabody Award winner R.J. Cutler.

When you can watch: All 10 episodes of Dear... became available to stream on June 5, 2020.

DadsWhat it’s about: This documentary explores the roles of fathers in modern society, comparing the father-child relationships of famous people with those of ordinary people across the world.

@BryceDHoward/Twitter Important names: This is the first documentary film from Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of famed filmmaker Ron Howard.

When you can watch: Dads was made available to stream on June 19, 2020.

GreyhoundWhat it’s about: A WWII film about George Krause, a career Navy officer finally given command of the destroyer Greyhound during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Important names: The film was written by Tom Hanks, who stars as Krause.

When you can watch: Greyhound made its debut on Apple TV+ on July 10, 2020.

Little VoiceWhat it’s about: A love letter to the diverse musicality of New York, Little Voice explores the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s.

Important names: Sara Bareilles will provide original music for the show, and it is produced by J.J. Abrams under this Bad Robot production company.

When you can watch: The first three episodes of Little Voice launched on July 10, 2020, with additional episodes streaming weekly.

Greatness CodeWhat it’s about: A short-form sports documentary series that “spotlights untold stories from the greatest athletes in the world.” The first season will include seven mini episodes looking at key moments that defined an athlete’s career.

AppleImportant names: The first season covers LeBron James, Tom Brady, Alex Morgan, Shaun White, Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky, and Kelly Slater.

When you can watch: All episodes of Greatness Code were made available on July 10, 2020.

The Oprah ConversationWhat it’s about: Would you be surprised if I told you that Oprah will interview influential people about the important topics of the day? No? Well guess what...Oprah is going to interview influential people about the important topics of the day. The series is “filmed remotely and incorporating audience engagement” though we’re not sure what form that takes.

Apple Important names: Oprah.

When you can watch: The first episode was made available on, July 30 2020.

Boys StateWhat it’s about: A documentary about an experiment in Texas in which 1,000 17-year old boys try to form a new representative government and run for office. It was one of the hottest documentaries of Sundance. The distribution deal apparently cost Apple and distribution company A24 $10 million.

Jesse Moss Films Important names: The film was directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine.

When you can watch: Boys State premiered on August 14, 2020.

Ted LassoWhat it’s about: About six years ago, NBC Sports produced a video starring Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach who goes to coach soccer in the U.K., despite knowing nothing about the game. The coach, Ted Lasso, thinks of everything in American Football terms, and hilarity ensues. The original video was just a promotional effort to show that NBC Sports was going to start showing English Premiere League games.

Important names: Jason Sudeikis is the big star here.

When you can watch: Ted Lasso’s first three episodes premiered on August 14 2020, with new episodes weekly. Read our impressions.

Long way UpWhat it’s about: Ewan McGegor and its friend Charlie Boorman embark on a 13,000 mile, 100 day motorcycle trip on Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycles. The unscripted series is something of a continuation of the duo’s 2004 motorcycle trip saga Long Way Down and 2010 TV miniseries Long Way Round.

Important names: You’re going to be seeing a lot of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman.

When you can watch: The first three episodes will premiere on September 18, 2020, with new episodes to follow weekly.

TehranWhat it’s about: An eight-part series about an Israeli computer hacker agent whose first mission in Iran’s capital is to disable a nuclear reactor. The mission fails, the agent goes rogue, and she gets romantically involved with a pro-democracy activist.

Important names: The series stars Isreali actress Niv Sultan and Iranian-American actor Shaun Toub.

When you can watch: The first three episodes premiered on September 25, 2020. The other five episodes will be released weekly.

Tiny WorldWhat it’s about: A documentary exploring the “ingenuity and resilience of the smallest animals on the planet.” It uses new camera technology to enable its unique perspective.

Important names: Paul Rudd narrates. Written by Tom Hugh Jones.

When you can watch: The first six episodes of Tiny World be available on October 2, 2020.

On the RocksWhat it’s about: When Laura’s husband starts logging late hours at the office with a new co-worker, she fears the worst. She turns to the one man she suspects may have insight: her charming, impulsive father Felix, who insists they investigate the situation. As the two begin prowling New York at night, careening from uptown parties to downtown hotspots, they discover at the heart of their journey lies their own relationship.

Important names: The film will be written and directed by Sofia Coppola, and star Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.

When you can watch: On the Rocks will debut in October 23, 2020.

Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to YouWhat it’s about: A musical documentary that surrounds the recording of Springsteen’s album Letter to You. It includes final take performances of 10 original songs.

Important names: Bruce Springsteen. The Boss!

When you can watch: Bruce Spingsteen’s Letter to You will debut on October 23, 2020.

Classic Peanuts holiday specialsWhat it’s about: The classic TV shorts come to Apple TV+. You’ll be able to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Apple Important names: These are classic Peanuts specials your parents grew up watching every year!

When you can watch: The Halloween special debuts on October 19, and will be available for free everyone from October 30 until November 1. The Thanksgiving special debuts on November 18, and will be free from November 25 until November 27. The Holiday special lands on December 4 and will be available free from December 11 until December 13.

Becoming YouWhat it’s about: A child development documentary series that explores how the first 2,000 days of a child’s life shapes the rest of their lives.

Important names: The series is narrated by Olivia Coleman.

When you can watch: The first six episodes of Becoming You became available on November 13, 2020.

Doug UnplugsWhat it’s about: Based on Dan Yaccarino’s book series, it follows a young robot who explores the world instead of relying on his daily download.

Important names: Stars the voices of Brandon James Cienfuegos, Kyrie McAlpin, Eric Bauza, Mae Whitman, Leslie David Baker, and Becky Robinson.

When you can watch: Doug Unplugs premiered on November 13.

FireballWhat it’s about: Shooting stars! More specifically, Apple says the film, “takes viewers on an extraordinary journey to discover how shooting stars, meteorites and deep impacts have focused the human imagination on other realms and worlds, and on our past and our future.”

Important names: Werner Herzog and Cliver Oppenheimer direct.

When you can watch: Fireball was released on November 13, 2020.

StillwaterWhat it’s about: Based on the book series “Zen Shorts” by Jon J Muth. Three kids learn about how to deal with the difficult challenges of life from their next door neighbor, a wise panda named Stillwater.

Apple Important names: Features voice actors James Sie, Eva Binder, Tucker Chandler, and Judah Mackey.

When you can watch: Stillwater premiered with six episodes on December 4, 2020.

The Earth at Night in ColorWhat it’s about: A nature documentary that uses advanced camera technology to show the lives of animals at night in natural color.

Apple Important names: The series is narrated by Tom Hiddleston.

When you can watch: All six episodes of The Earth at Night in Color were made available December 4, 2020.

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas SpecialWhat it’s about: Apple calls this an “innovative special will combine music, dancing and animation driven by a universally heartwarming story that brings the world together.”

Apple Important names: Mariah Carey, of course. Apple also promises a “star-studded lineup of surprise guest appearances” in traditional holiday special fashion.

When you can watch: Mariah's holiday special started streaming on December 4, 2020.




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