Jennifer Aniston is back on TV in a series for the first time since Friends ended in 2004, but the full-length trailer for her new series The Morning Show drew mixed responses on its Tuesday debut.
To premiere on new streaming service Apple TV in the next few months, the series explores the world of breakfast TV via a star-heavy cast including Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup.
Celebrity friends raced to voice support when Witherspoon shared The Morning Show’s trailer in an Instagram post watched by more than two million viewers in its first 20 hours.
“Well, duh,” said Chelsea Handler.
“Woah,” said Mindy Kaling.
“Oh my gawddddddddd,” said Derek Blasberg.
The A-list praise came for the kickoff storyline, the “new era” on the set of a fictional morning show after a co-host is fired over sexual misconduct allegations.
“I’m bringing you some sad and upsetting news,” Aniston’s character Alex says in The Morning Show’s 2min37sec trailer, announcing her co-host has been sacked.
Thus kicks off a whirl of “past her sell-by date” Aniston checking herself out in a mirror and saying ‘Oh, honey’ to the strain of Supertramp’s Goodbye Stranger.
Also returning to series TV for the first time since The Office, Carell beats down on a TV and screams a lot.
Field reporter Witherspoon claims she doesn’t “fit any mould”, which means she means business. Crudup notably wears a tie.
The show will explore “ego, ambition and the misguided search for power”, according to an Apple press release.
It’s hard to tell if that means it’s a drama about journalism in a ‘fake news’ era or a riff on the interpersonal dramas that go on behind the scenes on TV shows.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV serves as background for the series, which is based on an original concept by former HBO head of drama Michael Ellenberg.
While it’s unclear what The Morning Show’s scandal is, it’s reasonable to assume Aniston might be at the heart of a ‘Me Too’ moment, real or strategic.
The setup has echoes of the sudden end to Matt Lauer’s 20-year tenure on the US Today show in 2017 after sexual harassment allegations.
Both executive producers, Aniston and Witherspoon are described by Apple as “two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-powered jobs while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives.”
Sound juicy? Maybe.
“It all looks very dour, much unlike the facade that a typical morning show projects onscreen,” judged Vox when the trailer dropped on Tuesday.
“Do we need another melancholy drama about the media in a landscape post-The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s similarly joyless HBO series?”
But the mere sight of ‘Rachel Green’ back on the small screen with none other than the woman who played her baby sister Jill on Friends was enough to warm the hearts of other media critics.
“It looks amazing,” Buzzfeed raved, while Cosmopolitan declared the trailer its “new favourite piece of art”.
A reporter at technology-influenced site Boy Genius Report noted that while they intend to sign up for Apple’s new premium TV offering on day one, “unfortunately” The Morning Show trailer didn’t grab their attention.
“I’m neither hot nor cold about it, I guess is what I’m saying, partly because the trailer seems to be not sure what kind of show it’s teasing,” said the story.
Apple has invested reported billions in original offerings from the likes of Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams and M Night Shyamalan.
The Morning Show was one of the first picked up. The show landed there in November 2017 after what The Hollywood Reporter called “a multiple outlet bidding war.”
Apple ordered two seasons of 10 episodes.
Apple’s video subscription service will feature original scripted comedies, dramas, movies and documentaries.
A price point is yet to be released for the ad-free streaming service.