I only connected to AppleTv+ to watch Tom Hanks blow up German subs in “Greyhound,” and having finished that, went next door to visit “The Morning Show,” and got a good feeling from the clarity, set design and uptown writing. Boy, was I lucky.

The show has been around since last January when Reese Witherspoon was, hold on, nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Imagine my surprise to find that Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, the two stars of “The Morning Show,” seem to be only there to support Reese Witherspoon who was denied a similar Emmy. But it may be an added draw for you to know that “The Morning Show” took eight Emmy nominations this year.

 

Well, here is “The Morning Show,” and it just blew this reviewer away. Right now I feel it safe to say that it’s the best show on the screen.

The first episode explodes right off the launching pad with the news that a beloved Morning Show male anchor has been fondling more than one female thigh, and of course, one of them wants to tell her story.

Alex Levy (Aniston) is the rhapsodized queen of every weekday morning in this version of America, and Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is her screen partner. One of the first shots we see is a clip of Alex and Mitch sitting side by side, he in half a beard and horn rim glasses, she in a demure dark suit. That will change. Just hold on.

At the opening, the news of his dallying breaks, and the series blows wide open. COVID-19 hasn’t happened yet, and the writers make it appear that if it were happening, it wouldn’t be as big a story as this. We find ourselves in a mock up of NBC’s Today Show, with Carell clearly wearing the face mud of Matt Lauer, and Ann Curry sitting by the side.

Alex finds herself all alone on the biggest daytime show in the universe, and begins to pull herself together. We’re introduced to the players and happily, it’s a magic team.

Billy Crudup (“Watchmen”, “Inventing the Abbotts”),  is in the room as Cory Ellison, one of the network exec’s top guns, but wearing a strange mantel of power that makes him appear untouchable, as if he owns all the equipment and has a book with secrets. If you’ve been, as I have, a fan of Billy Crudup for decades, you’re watching his best work. You’re gonna love this guy. He moves in and out like a smiling drug sniffing dog.

Cory clearly is a child-God of the next generation, and he has visions of grandeur. (“People don’t want news or journalism; they want entertainment”). We already knew that.

But then, like the meteor that killed the dinosaurs, and Vesuvius that took out Pompeii, along comes Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson. Bradley is an old school, fire breathing street reporter, a combination of Stephanie Ruhle, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mike Tyson.

Bradley is seen in a captured handheld shot encounter with a mouthy rioter who knocks her cameraman down. In a vicious takedown, we see the Ocasio-Cortez spiel, and everyone at the show sees it as well. They’re shocked, but Cory and a few others see a new star. To Bradley’s surprise, she’s brought to New York and offered a job., wait for it … CO-HOST.

The first segment hooked me, the second and third sold me. “The Morning Show” is the best show running, reminding us of “Network” and “The Newsroom.” It has the intellectual bite and intensity of “Billions,” but more humanity and human comedy.

Carell has two scenes, rug chewers and heart spillers, especially in a car scene with Jennifer, that show why he got an Emmy nom.

Jennifer is Jennifer, Karen Pittman (Netflix’s “Luke Cage”) is a climber, Mark Duplass (“The Leauge”) plays a cynical producer and realist who has it out for Bradley. Steve Carell surprises us, and Martin Short comes out of nowhere with the skin of a snake.

But it’s Reese, the street fighter in her leather jacket, bracelets and two BIG childhood secrets, who picks up the show and runs down the street with it.

She lost the Emmy nomination and is about to steal “The Morning Show” right from under the corporate noses. This is THE show of the summer, get your ticket now. APPLE+TV now.

 

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

 


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