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  • Review: Apple TV+

    Posted on Nathan Parker Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems macOS Review: Apple TV+

    This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Nathan Parker 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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    • #2006579 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      I’ve had a chance to spend a little time with Apple TV+ last weekend and this past week, and I’m ready to give an initial review for Apple TV+ on AskWoody.

      Additionally, I am upgrading my iPhone XS to iOS 13, my Apple Watch Series 3 to watchOS 6, and my iPad Pro to iPadOS 13. I’ll provide updates on how my upgrade experience has gone in next week’s column. I’m still awaiting two apps to go 64 Bit before I upgrade my Mac to macOS Catalina, but progress on those is getting there.

      Devices I Tested Apple TV+ On

      The main device I tested Apple TV+ on is my Apple TV HD, since I wanted to experience Apple TV+ in the Living Room. I also tried the web version of Apple TV+ on my iMac Pro using Safari. The web version is available at tv.apple.com. I haven’t tested Apple TV+ on my iPhone or iPad yet, but I can this week now that I’m upgrading to iOS and iPadOS 13. I also have an Amazon Fire TV 4K stick I recently installed the Apple TV app onto, so I could test it on there this week as well. I likely won’t keep Apple TV+ long enough to test it on the Apple TV app for macOS Catalina.

      Apple TV on the Apple TV HD provided a solid experience. Videos loaded smoothly, and navigating to show content was a breeze. The Apple TV+ web version is pretty basic at the moment (just a listing of shows and a link to play each). I experienced a couple of issues with it as well (it took a couple of attempts to sign in, plus I had to refresh the page if I wanted to switch between different shows). It’s a decent way to access Apple TV+ away from Apple devices, although some kinks need ironing out.

      Broadcast Quality of Programming

      The broadcast quality for all programming was done well. All programming looked smooth and high quality, even though I viewed most in HD instead of 4K. Most programming also loaded well without stuttering over my Internet connection.

      Evaluating the Shows

      The main show I was interested in watching from Apple TV+ was Snoopy in Space, which I viewed last Sunday. Even if I didn’t keep Apple TV+ longterm, I wanted to signup for it long enough to watch Snoopy in Space since I’m a Charlie Brown fan. Since other tech news sites haven’t given in-depth reviews on Snoopy in Space, here’s an AskWoody exclusive review on it.

      Overall, the show had a good storyline, especially for those interested in space. I did enjoy the fact that the show used the same look of the characters as the classic episodes instead of using the new animated characters in the movie remake from a few years ago.

      The overall storyline of the show was Snoopy trying to become an astronaut at NASA. When his application was denied, NASA gave the Peanuts gang tickets to visit the Houston Space Center. Snoopy manages to sneak into the Astronaut Training Program under disguise, where he first fails the training, then returns and tries again, and succeeds, although losing his disguise in the process. NASA still appoints him as an astronaut, where he is tasked with visiting the ISS, plus a second mission to the moon. The show ends with Snoopy pining to go to Mars, although the technology is not yet ready.

      A few criticisms of the show overall. First, while the look of the characters (including Snoopy) was excellent, the voice of Snoopy was a little off from the classics. Snoopy has a higher-pitched voice in the show than in the classics, which didn’t seem quite right (if Apple produces any additional Peanuts-themed shows, they need to go back and get the voice of Snoopy closer to the classics). The other characters had more consistent voices, although Marcie screamed a couple of times in the show which didn’t sound like her character. Additionally, the show, while felt like a movie with its storyline, was broken up into about fifteen segments. I would have preferred to watch the storyline straight through without the interruption of the credits between shows. Lastly, the show included quite a bit of educational concepts in the show, which were certainly interesting, but viewers aren’t simply going to switch off their brains and watch the show purely for entertainment purposes. Viewers’ minds will be engaged with learning concepts.

      Those that will best benefit from the show are those who want to use the show to teach children learning concepts, especially about space, science, and STEM concepts. I can easily see science teachers using these shows in a science class and playing the segments over a series of days to teach children about space and STEM concepts. In this environment, even my few criticisms would be overcome, as adapting the show to such an environment would be ideal.

      Overall, I enjoyed the show, and it was worth the $5 investment in Apple TV+ just to get a chance to watch it. I had a few minor issues with it, mostly due to my environment versus the environment it would be best to view it in. For those who haven’t seen it, I still recommend watching it. It’s worth an afternoon of your time.

      The other shows I didn’t get to watch extensively, but I did get to watch clips from them. Here are my evaluations of the shows from the clips I watched. If I have a chance to watch any more from the shows before my Apple TV+ subscription ends, I will and report back here.

      The Morning Show: The overall storyline was interesting, and the quality of actors and actresses were well chosen (Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell were good choices). I personally don’t have enough time to invest in watching the show (I’d rather spend my time watching a new series of Doc Martin, one of my favorite British shows), but some will find the show interesting. It kind of reminds me of Apple’s take on a Soap Opera, just with fewer suds.

      See: One of the most boring shows on the service. I take it as Apple’s version of Game of Thrones (which I never watched anyway). It didn’t hold my attention at all, and I found the storyline to be subpar. Lots of sizzle, no substance. They’d be getting the X from me if they were auditioning for Apple’s Got Talent (which would actually be a more interesting sounding show for Apple TV+).

      Dickinson: Seems to be a period drama based on Emily Dickinson. The trailers for the show looked strange. In reality, the show didn’t look as strange as I thought it would be when I saw the show in context. While the period drama is interesting (the homes, the clothes, etc), I’ll save my viewing investment time for the Downton Abbey movie. Emily Dickinson cannot compete with Mary Crawley in my heart.

      For All Mankind: A show based on space exploration. The storyline was interesting, and the broadcast quality was well-done. The show is a little on the heavy side with expletive language. I’m not one to watch a ton of space movies, but for those who are, it’d be an interesting show.

      The Elephant Queen: A documentary of elephant travels. I’m not much into elephants, but the broadcast quality was well done, and the documentary had a good overall story plot for those interested. There was a scene of ducks hatching I enjoyed, plus the overall nature scenes were interesting to look at.

      Oprah’s Book Club: Basically an interview with Oprah and a book author, based on a book she wants people to read before watching. I’m so busy with my own PhD reading that I don’t have time to read these books, so the show doesn’t interest me personally. For those who are looking to getting into reading though, it may interest some (I could see some public libraries using viewings of it as a way to get people interested in public libraries). While it is filmed at an Apple Store at Carnegie, it’s in a side room with a talk show set feel, so no major display of Apple products. Oprah still praises Apple though.

      Helpsters: A children’s show similar to Sesame Street with muppets helping solve problems. Not a show I’d personally be interested in, but it is a good show for children, especially those who enjoy Sesame Street. It has a similar feel, quite educational, and an overall well theme.

      Ghostwriter: A children’s show remake of the 90’s classic. A group of children wanders into an old bookstore, and a ghost writes messages to them, plus book characters come alive. Not a show I’d personally be interested in, but it is a good show for children (especially slightly older children after watching Helpsters). The characters do well at acting, and it has brought back memories where I believe I remember seeing the 90’s show at times when I was younger. The old bookstore set is kind of neat and nostalgic as well. The fact that book characters come alive in an AR feel is a little awkward.

      The forthcoming shows ServantHalaTruth Be Told, and The Banker don’t interest me. If I keep Apple TV+ long enough to view any of them, I can post an update hre, but I have no interest in them in general.

      One thing I noticed when watching the programming was the amount of Apple promotions used in the programming lineup. Apple products were scattered throughout The Morning Show and Ghostwriter, Oprah praised Apple during Oprah’s Book Club, and the talking computer on Snoopy in Space resembled the smiling Macintosh icon a little, although with variances.

      Bottom Line

      I had two reasons I signed up for a month of Apple TV+: I wanted to review it for AskWoody, and I wanted to watch Snoopy in Space. I’ve been able to do both. Overall, Apple is off to a decent start with Apple TV+. The programming overall isn’t bad (even though the majority of it doesn’t personally interest me), and there is a good mix of adult and children’s programming and a variety of programming. The production quality is well done, and with the exception of a few kinks with the web app, Apple TV+ works decently in the web app and works really well on Apple TV (and I may get a chance to test on a few more devices). The monthly price isn’t bad, plus there’s an even more cost-effective annual fee, and a year free is available for those who buy new Apple devices.

      Will I keep Apple TV+ longterm? No, with the exception if I get a free year during my next Apple device purchase. My goal lately has been to reduce my monthly and annual services, not add to them, and there isn’t enough content of interest for me to keep Apple TV+ longterm. I could occasionally sign up a month here and there if something heavily interests me to watch, and treat the subscription like a “movie rental”. Most of the current shows I wouldn’t watch long-term (I’d rather spend my time watching other content), but for those who the content would be interested in the content, it’s a good value. It’s worth a try for a month to see if it’s a fit for you, although it’s not going to overtake other major streaming services, only supplement them.

      Nathan Parker

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    • #2006596 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      Nathan: Thanks for taking the time to review the current shows on Apple+ .

      I am glad you enjoyed Peanuts in Space. Not having watched an animated Peanuts show before, I wouldn’t know  how the voices of the characters are supposed to sound.

      The show ends with Snoopy pining to go to Mars, although the technology is not yet ready

      I would like to know more about what was the argument behind that sentence, because it is a comment rarely heard, although very true. For many years there has been this razzmatazz that “we are going to Mars!”, “we are going to Mars!” and only recently the Moon is back again into consideration. And now I hear that Snoopy has been there and back — and is none the worse for it. I am happy about the idea of going back there getting some traction, as in its own way, the Moon is as harsh a place as Mars for people to live in, but much closer and relatively easier to go and came back from with current technology. There people can learn to survive and do something useful in such an inhospitable wilderness, before venturing forward to visit others just as forbidding further away, but much harder to go to and come back from. Such as Mars and the rest of the Solar System.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2006600 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Glad to review the shows.

      I’d recommend watching the Great Pumpkin and a Charlie Brown Christmas (both have Snoopy’s classic laughing, although Snoopy in Space did get the look of Snoopy right, just not the voice). Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is also coming up on TV.

      I may need to re-watch the Mars segment to be a little more precise. I’m not sure if they specifically said the technology wasn’t ready yet or if NASA isn’t ready to launch astronauts to Mars. It was at the end of the show. It also showed Snoopy imagining him on his dog house landing on Mars.

      Overall though, it was an interesting movie, and the storyline flowed well from the ISS to the Moon to the discussion on Mars. It’s worth a watch, although one should balance it with classic Peanuts cartoons as well.

      Nathan Parker

      1 user thanked author for this post.

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