For many years television giant NBC ran a promo with the words ‘Must See TV.’ Yes, there were times when NBC’s TV programming was not worth seeing, but nobody complained because, well, promotional hype.
Apple TV+ has something similar going on. Hype. Hype from Apple. Hype from critics and reviewers. And the reality from actual viewers. Dan Gallagher calls it “Apple’s Might-See TV” because the billions of dollars Apple spent on Apple TV+ has not been a hit with critics.
Really? Imagine that!
So, some of the Apple TV+ shows are not hits with critics? Does it matter? It depends. What is the disparity between scores from critics and scores from actual viewers? Look at all the hit TV shows of the past 50 years. Critics agreed they were terrible. Viewers loved them and their re-runs.
Fortunately, somebody keeps track of the disparity between critical review scores and actual viewer scores. Here’s an example from Rotten Tomatoes:
Blue is the score given by critics. Red is the score given by actual viewers. Not the disparity between the two on Apple TV+ shows vs. others from HBO, Netflix, and Amazon. Apple TV+ has the widest differential. HBO’s Watchmen is in reverse; revered by reviewers, mostly meh by actual viewers.
Critics tend to be, well, critical of such content, while actual viewers are more forgiving; generally. Time will be the differentiator here, and Apple needs a growing audience over a long period of time to make Apple TV+ a successful platform because competition has intensified with Disney’s entry of more than 600 movies and shows.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any numbers to determine which shows and series will get the most viewers and which will not. For now, it is way too early in the game to care. I bought a new iPhone 11 Pro and it came with free Apple TV+. I have Verizon and that gave me free Disney+.