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Apple TV+’s ‘Morning Show’ Performs Better Than Ever As Season 3 Approaches: NPR

The morning show is enriched in its final season by adding Jon Hamm to the cast and delving into some major issues, including institutional racism and hacker blackmail.


It’s FRESH AIR. “The Morning Show” is back. The Apple TV+ series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as on-air talent for the fictional UBA network. The first two episodes of the new third season aired last week. Among the changes to the series this season, “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm is a new cast member. Our TV critic David Bianculli has this review.

DAVID BIANCULLI, BYLINE: The second season of the Apple TV+ series “The Morning Show” ended with employees and executives of a fictional UBA network navigating their way through various crises, including the COVID outbreak and a variety of corporate and personal scandals and dramas. To begin Season 3, “The Morning Show” producers, led by series creator Jay Carson and series developer Kerry Ehrin, moved the action forward two years. More and more TV shows are using this trick. This allows them to restart the narrative, delay explanation and exposition, and reveal plotlines not only by moving forward but by going backwards. I’ll skip the flashback elements.

As for “The Morning Show,” the show’s crisis mode has only accelerated. This year, it is dialed to 11. Jon Hamm plays Paul Marks, an Elon Musk type billionaire. And his interest in acquiring UBA throws everything and everyone into disarray. This is a deal initially negotiated under the radar and behind the scenes by UBA director Cory Ellison, played by Billy Crudup with all sorts of masterful shades of bravado and insecurity. Cory convinced Paul to make an offer for UBA, but at a price. Paul made a backdoor deal with Cory to have his UBA star talent, Alex Levy, played by Jennifer Aniston, take a live televised trip with Paul on the maiden voyage of Paul’s personal space shuttle.


JON HAMM: (As Paul marks) UBA is in the bubble. COVID saved your day. And I offer a 20% bonus on top of the market value, and you’re lucky to get it.

BILLY CRUDUP: (as Cory Ellison) You’re lucky to have me because I built a [expletive] pyramid during a pandemic. It’s undeniable and so am I.

HAMM: (As Paul Marks) You launched a streaming platform at the end of a global lockdown. Would you like to speculate on what might happen when the world decides it’s time to get back to business?

CRUDUP: (As Cory Ellison) Well, I’ll start by launching the first female journalist into space. Haven’t you heard?

HAMM: (as Paul Marks) I’m throwing it. It’s my rocket.

CRUDUP: (as Cory Ellison) She’s my reporter.

BIANCULLI: It doesn’t take long before Alex discovers the deal and the role she played in it. She confronts Cory, who tries to defend himself by explaining things from his point of view.


CRUDUP: (As Cory Ellison) The world as we know it is over, Alex. We are officially at the Thunderdome. In five years, half of streaming services will have disappeared or been acquired. In 10 years, the Internet will be in 3D. You will literally be in people’s living rooms. We need to build a time machine to take us to the future, and that will require very deep pockets, someone with more money than God. And Bill Gates won’t call me back since I crushed him in the doubles at Sun Valley. So Paul Marks – that’s the hand we’ve been dealt in this three-card game of capitalism. And honestly, I’m happy to be at the table. I want to play. I want to win. In fact, I want to build something that matters even if nothing else matters.

JENNIFER ANISTON: (as Alex Levy) With this guy? This is what you see for the future of UBA – a speed-seeking badass from Silicon Valley.

CRUDUP: (As Cory Ellison) Well, we don’t like his offer, we’re leaving. Alex, I mean, come on. You can just trust that I’m doing what’s best for you.

ANISTON: (as Alex Levy) That’s right. I do. I forget that. I forget that you always have my best interest at heart.

BIANCULLI: “The Morning Show” has always been a bit over-the-top, but this season it’s enriched by delving deeper into a few major issues – the infighting of corporate intrigue, the exposure of institutional racism, the cruelty overwhelming social policies. publications in the media, and in a particularly intense subplot, the attack on UBA through blackmail by hackers. The first episodes of Season 3, available now, dive into all of this and give new and returning players a very deep pool in which to swim.

Last season, it was Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon who brought the serious moments to “The Morning Show” so well. They always do a great job here, and this season, at the start, Crudup as Cory, whose empire fights back. And that’s also true for some co-stars who were given more central storylines – Holland Taylor as a senior UBA board member and Greta Lee as Stella, whose leadership position becomes more and more untenable. Add to that the new contributions from Jon Hamm and others and you have a “Morning Show” that works better than ever. I am of course talking about that of Apple TV+. The one on UBA? This one is a train wreck, but like its Apple TV+ counterpart, it’s still entertaining.

DAVIES: David Bianculli is a professor of television studies at Rowan University. He reviewed the new season of “The Morning Show” on Apple TV+. On tomorrow’s show, we chat with comedian, writer and actor Aparna Nancherla. His new book of essays is both a memoir and a cultural commentary. She writes about her life and career, as well as the anxiety and depression she often discusses in her stand-up. I hope you can join us. To keep up to date with the show and get highlights from our interviews, follow us on Instagram at @nprfreshair.


DAVIES: The executive producer of FRESH AIR is Danny Miller. Our Technical Director and Engineer is Audrey Bentham, with additional technical support from Adam Staniszewski. Our interviews and reviews are produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Heidi Saman, Ann Marie Baldonado, Therese Madden, Thea Chaloner, Seth Kelley and Susan Nyakundi. Our Digital Media Producer is Molly Seavy-Nesper. Roberta Shorrock directs the show. To Terry Gross and Tonya Mosley, my name is Dave Davies.


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