The best Apple TV+ shows to watch right now

Apple’s streaming service Apple TV+, for better or worse, is a fraction of the size of pretty much all of its rivals and has remained a much more boutique offering for the entirety of its existence since 2019. That said, size doesn’t really have anything to do with the amount of quality content on the platform available to choose from — quality, fortunately, being where Apple especially shines.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at a dozen Apple shows available to stream that are as good as anything you’ll find on Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and the like. They range from high-profile standouts to underrated gems.

12 must-watch Apple TV shows

For the purposes of this guide, we’ve also grouped these 12 Apple shows — all of which are available to stream in full right now — into three content buckets: Crime/thrillers, dramas, and feel-good series.


For our first category of the must-watch Apple shows, the following three titles include a pulse-pounding military action drama, an Israeli spy thriller, and a crime series developed by Dennis Lehane that was adapted adapted from an autobiographical novel.

Echo 3: Let’s just say when I saw that Mark Boal — who’s known for writing Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker — was attached to this first Apple show, I was in.

Echo 3 on Apple TV Plus
Luke Evans in “Echo 3” on Apple TV Plus

The trailer below quickly sealed the deal. Echo 3 is a 10-episode series with a straightforward plot (An American woman is kidnapped in South America, and her brother and husband — both elite US soldiers — grab their guns and saddle up to go get her out), plus great cinematography and action sequences.

It’s not a perfect show, and I was a little disappointed by the anticlimactic ending, but I still would recommend putting this one on your watch list all the same.

Black Bird: Fans of this Apple drama include Stephen King, who’s raved about the 6-episode Black Bird that it’s nothing short of “brilliant and riveting.” From the streamer’s official synopsis:

“Inspired by actual events, when high school football hero and decorated policeman’s son Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) is sentenced to 10 years in a minimum-security prison, he is given the choice of a lifetime — enter a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane and befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), or stay where he is and serve his full sentence with no possibility of parole.”

Tehran: In this Apple spy thriller (which is coming back soon for a third season), Niv Sultan portrays Tamar Rabinyan — an Iranian-born Mossad agent who, in Season 1, sneaks into Iran to try and leave an Iranian nuclear facility vulnerable to an Israeli Air Force bombing run. In Season 2, Glenn Close joined the cast as a new handler of sorts for Tamar inside Iran.

Feel-good Apple TV+ shows

Looking for something less action-heavy and more along the lines of comfort TV? This category has you covered.

Acapulco: TV doesn’t get much more feel-good than Apple’s Mexican- and English-language comedy Acapulco, which is awash in bright splashes of color, is set largely in and around a beautiful resort, and is built around the earnest, lovelorn character of Maximo. The creator, by the way, is Austin Winsberg — he’s also the creator of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and a TV veteran who is clearly hardcore about making sure you feel good after spending time with any of his shows.

Acapulco on Apple TV Plus
Camila Perez in “Acapulco,” now streaming on Apple TV Plus. Image source: Apple

Ted Lasso: These next two Apple shows share similar DNA. Bill Lawrence is the co-creator behind both, which are each built around flawed but ridiculously likable protagonists. In Ted Lasso, the title character is an aw-shucks, small-time coach from Kansas who gets a job in England coaching a Premier League football team. Like with so many Lawrence shows, however, that setting is just the packaging for something timeless and much more approachable at the core. You don’t have to be a sports fan at all, in other words, to appreciate this series about learning how to find and embrace your better self.

Shrinking: Lawrence is also a co-creator of Shrinking, which stars Jason Segel as a Lasso-ian kind of therapist, struggling with grief and passionate about making a difference in the lives of his patients.

Mythic Quest: From Apple’s official description of the show: “Mythic Quest follows a group of video game developers tasked with building worlds, molding heroes, and creating legends, but the most hard-fought battles don’t occur in the game — they happen in the office. In season three, as Ian and Poppy navigate the gaming world and their partnership at the newly formed GrimPop Studios, Dana is forced to play mediator to her bosses’ incessant bickering.”

Little America: This show is an anthology series about the lives of real-life immigrants who all have different experiences in pursuit of the American Dream. As an aside, Episode 3 of Little America Season 2 (titled The 9th Caller) is one of the best single episodes of TV I’ve seen in a long-time — make sure a box of Kleenex is nearby while you watch. Apple has also extended the show beyond TV, via a Little America podcast.

Dramas/black comedy

This final category includes some of the best dramas that you’ll find on any streamer, a few of which made many critics’ Best TV of 2022 lists.

Severance: From director and executive producer Ben Stiller and creator Dan Erickson, Severance tells the story of a team at the fictional Lumon Industries, whose employees have undergone a “severance” procedure that surgically divides their memories between their work and personal lives. There’s a reason this dystopian drama, starring Adam Scott, has a near-perfect critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. Strap yourself in for a wild ride.

Pachinko: A breathtaking artistic achievement, this adaptation of the blockbuster novel from Min Jin Lee interweaves the stories of multiple generations of a Korean-Japanese family into one unforgettable whole.

Bad Sisters: In this critically acclaimed dark comedy featuring an ensemble cast that includes Sharon Horgan, per Apple, the Garvey sisters “are bound together by the premature death of their parents and a promise to always protect one another.”

Slow Horses: In this spy drama led by Gary Oldman, there’s a refreshing change of pace for the genre. The spooks aren’t beautiful or handsome, nor are they rakish or debonair a la James Bond. Rather, they’re the washed-up, sad-sack intelligence misfits shunted out to MI5’s administrative Siberia called Slough House, from which comes their pejorative moniker, the Slow Horses.

Gary Oldman in Slow Horses on Apple TV Plus
Gary Oldman in “Slow Horses” on Apple TV Plus. Image source: Apple

The Winners

Now, having detailed the best of the best Apple shows in each of those categories above, we’ll wrap up this Apple TV+ show guide by breaking things down even more. Put simply, if you’re pressed for time and are only looking for one of those Apple shows in each category, in our opinion, these are absolutely hands-down the series that you cannot miss.

  • Best Apple feel-good show: Ted Lasso
  • Best Apple drama: Pachinko
  • Best Apple crime/thriller series: Tehran

For a higher-level overview of Apple’s streamer, also check out our guide covering all things Apple TV+ that dives into more detail about the service’s pricing, supported devices, and much more.

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