Why Apple TV+ succeeds in quality while other streaming giants fail

Apple’s streaming service is now the best curated streaming port, in large part because it is committed to adapting books and using literary writers for source material.Tony Avillar/The Associated Press

On Monday, the voting for this year’s Emmy Award nominations closed. It will be weeks before it is announced, but there is some certainty.

In the Drama category, expect to see The best of Saul on demand (AMC), squid game (Netflix), Weird things (Netflix) and Succession (HBO). And in a limited series, expect leakage (Hulu/Disney+), maid (Netflix) and the White lotus (HBO). Many acting categories will be won by the actors in those shows.

But at least one surprise will likely come. This is Apple TV + to cut In the Best Drama series, and perhaps a set of acting nominations from the platform pachinko or The last days of Ptolemy Gray. Come to the 2023 Emmy Awards, you might see nominations for Apple TV + HadeerAnd the shining girlsAnd the Essex snake And the blackbirdwho is coming next month.

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Apple’s streaming service is now the best curated streaming port, in large part because it is committed to adapting books and using literary writers for source material. This will be news to some, but there’s more to Apple TV+ than Ted Lasso. (The comedy received 20 Emmy nominations last year.) What happens is an intriguing case study of critical success, while Netflix and other services are desperately searching for an identity and floundering.

Apple TV + was launched in November 2019, which aroused great doubts. It promised a selection of original movies and TV series called Apple Originals, but it didn’t have a library of existing material — unlike Netflix, which had rights to countless shows and was rushing ahead with original series and movies, and unlike what soon happened — Disney+, which had the vast Disney library, will be launched. Many thought Apple’s service would be a small place and relied on users of Apple products for any traction.

It was the first glossy, eye-catching original morning show, which includes a team led by Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. This show took a while to get past its soapy debut, and it definitely did. But there was a hint of Apple’s strategy in those early days. morning show loosely based on the book, Morning Summit: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TVAnd the by Brian Stelter. It was another early Apple series that was somewhat bizarre DickinsonWhich takes all kinds of dramatic liberties with the life and writings of poet Emily Dickinson. The literary roots of the Apple TV+ approach were there for insight.

Taron Egerton in Black Bird, will premiere worldwide on July 8 on Apple TV +.APPLE TV +

In contrast, Netflix aims for total content and big spend. In the year Apple TV+ was launched, Netflix spent $14 billion on worldwide content. Her philosophy was closer to “spend or die” than the business slogan, “create or die”. Quality control practiced by some of the executives – which has led to acclaimed successes such as house of paperAnd the Orange is the new blackAnd the Weird things And the Queen’s gambit – I finally evaporated. These criteria have not been matched since.

The people who run Apple Studios are less visible than their counterparts in other services. However, they have a clear plan in terms of TV content. The commissioned, green-lit, and produced material continued to have a clear literary quality.

Include this year’s editions alone The last days of Ptolemy Gray, Written by novelist Walter Moseley. slow horses Derived from the novels of Mick Heron. Essex snake Based on the Gothic romantic period novel of the same title by Sarah Perry; Hadeer, Based on the short stories by Irish writer Cecilia Ahern; shining girls a quote from the famous novel by Lauren Beaux; And the blackbird, Written by novelist and screenwriter Dennis Lehane for Television, it is based on the 2010 autobiographical novel in with the devil by James Keane.

In television, whether via cable or broadcast, this reliance on books and authors as a source for storytelling has become a rarity. Netflix has been known for bringing creators and TV showrunners to the board at great cost, giving them free rein and promising a wide international audience. This did not work out smoothly. Shonda Rhimes’ first Netflix series, BridgetonIt was not originally from Rhimes, but is based on an existing series of novels. Then it came Anna’s creationwhich attracted a large audience but was also ridiculed for its long and curvy story.

The case of Ryan Murphy, who has achieved such success at Fox and FX, is even more dire. Murphy is responsible for nip / tuckAnd the cheerfulAnd the american horror storyAnd the Queens screamAnd the american crime storyAnd the runner And the pointing to. But nothing out of his $300 million deal with Netflix matches his best work.

It’s not that Apple doesn’t have the money to spend, obviously. What is more important is taste and discipline. As a curated outlet, it now matches HBO for innovative and serious content, thanks to a smart bet on old-fashioned storytelling in this new streaming digital age.

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