Apple TV+ recently raised its standard subscription fee to $6.99 per month, a $2 increase from the previous $4.99 price point. While no one likes paying more, Apple is betting its slate of exclusive original programming makes the higher price tag worthwhile.
Let’s explore 3 hotly anticipated Apple TV+ series that demonstrate the streamer’s commitment to premium content and justify the extra costs, even over rival services like Netflix. From stunning sci-fi epics to gripping WWII dramas, these shows aim to set Apple TV+ apart as a destination for first-rate storytelling.
1. Monarch – Epic Monsterverse Drama from Producers of Godzilla vs Kong
Easily one of the most exciting Apple TV+ originals in development is Monarch – a new series set in Legendary Pictures’ blockbuster Monsterverse film universe. This shared world includes recent smash hits like Godzilla vs Kong and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Monarch expands the Monsterverse mythology by delving into the inner workings of the secretive Monarch organization introduced in Kong: Skull Island. In the films, Monarch investigates Titans, researching massive creatures like Godzilla and King Kong.
The series will dramatize Monarch’s other Titan encounters and the global crises triggered when these colossal beasts threaten humanity. Monarch promises lavish visuals and spectacle, with feature film-level production values.
Showrunner Chris Black and the producers of Godzilla vs Kong are behind Monarch. Their goal is delivering a prestige television experience worthy of the Monsterverse’s larger-than-life stars. The casting indicates Apple is assembling an ensemble on par with a major HBO Max or Netflix tentpole.
Monarch has the credentials to serve as Apple TV+’s flagship original. The appeal of seeing new Titans realized in stunning fashion could attract subscribers even at a higher price. This is event-level programming perfect for Apple to showcase its creative ambitions.
2. Masters of the Air – Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks Reunite for WWII Series
Masters of the Air also demonstrates Apple’s commitment to big-budget productions. The WWII action-drama comes from heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who reunited as executive producers after previous critically acclaimed collaborations like Saving Private Ryan and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
The show portrays the true story of the Eighth Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces and their aerial campaigns against Nazi Germany. Bombardiers bravely flew dangerous missions targeting key sites that helped cripple the German war machine.
Spielberg and Hanks are renowned for their historical filmmaking craft. Masters of the Air represents Apple’s prestige play, with the streamer’s largest production budget yet. This will allow grand set pieces replicating the air battles that turned the tide of WWII.
Masters of the Air also attracted top-tier acting talent like Austin Butler (Elvis), Callum Turner (Fantastic Beasts), and Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) to inhabit this story of valor and sacrifice. The star power combined with the epic scope makes this a strong contender for Apple’s first truly awards-worthy original series.
3. Severance – An Inventive Sci-Fi Thriller Exploring Work-Life Separation
For viewers craving something bold and innovative beyond historical dramas, Apple is delivering Severance – an evocative sci-fi thriller steeped in mystery. This show envisions a speculative future where employees can undergo a procedure splitting their work and personal memories.
At Lumon Industries, Mark Scout (played by Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation fame) heads a team that has undergone this severance procedure. Their office lives remain walled off from their outside identity. But as Mark investigates Lumon’s clandestine activities, the line between his two worlds blurs.
Severance comes from writer Dan Erickson and producer Ben Stiller. The offbeat premise offers a fresh take on themes of privacy and exploitation in the modern workplace. The stellar cast including Patricia Arquette and John Turturro brings this Kafkaesque corporate nightmare to life.
Early reviews praise Severance’s innovative story and Slow Dickensian vibe. This show cements Apple TV+ as a home for bold original sci-fi alongside hits like Foundation. The series thinking outside the box demonstrates Apple’s creative ambition with its programming slate.
Apple TV+ Price Increase Reflects Growing Production Values
When reviewing Apple TV+’s top upcoming series, the price hike becomes understandable. Shows like Monarch, Masters of the Air, and Severance boast aesthetics and production design matching top-tier offerings from HBO Max or Netflix.
Apple is spending over $6 billion annually on original content to attract subscribers. Reportedly, episodes of Masters of the Air carry budgets over $20 million. That requires amortization through higher subscription revenue.
While Apple’s lower $4.99 price point helped bootstrap its initial subscriber base, industry analysts argued it was unsustainable long-term given high budgets. The $6.99 fee better aligns Apple TV+ with competitors while financing more prestige releases.
And with streaming rivals like Disney+, HBO Max and Netflix raising prices themselves, Apple TV+ remains competitively priced, particularly for subscribers already bought into the Apple ecosystem receiving bundles or free trials.
The proof will come via growing libraries of originals like Monarch and Severance. But by backing visionary creatives and emerging stars, Apple seems committed to depth over breadth in its content approach. A few hand-picked breakout hits could justify the surcharge.
Monarch: Delving Deeper into the Monsterverse Mythology
Monarch represents a focal point of Apple TV+’s push into big-budget genre fare to drive subscriptions. Let’s explore why this Monsterverse entry is so compelling for mythology fans:
Expanding Legendary’s Cinematic Universe to Television
The Monsterverse films have grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide, demonstrating the strong appetite for giant monster mayhem. Monarch is Legendary’s effort to parlay that success into prestige television. Producers view streaming as the ideal medium for serialized storytelling exploring Monsterverse lore.
Unveiling All-New Titan Threats
While Godzilla and Kong are sitting this one out, Monarch allows introducing never-before-seen Titan behemoths to pose totally fresh threats. The possibilities are limited only by creators’ imaginations. These original creatures could become new merchandising and franchise icons.
Focus on Monarch’s Roots as a Titan Research Hub
Monarch’s early days researching the first emerging Titans offer rich narrative potential to tap into. We’ll see the pioneers making earth-shattering discoveries changing humanity’s destiny.
Cast of Relative Unknowns Allows Fresh Perspectives
Monarch’s ensemble cast lacks huge stars that could overshadow the Titan focus. This provides an opportunity to organically introduce compelling new characters within the Monsterverse.
Crew’s Pedigree in Sci-Fi Storytelling
From showrunner Chris Black (Star Trek: Enterprise) to director Jay Duplass (Outer Range), Monarch is staffed with pros experienced in genre series production. This foundation instills confidence in strong execution.
Monarch has all the elements to fulfill its epic scope. The show’s greatest asset remains its extension of Legendary’s fan-favorite Titan conflicts.
Masters of the Air – Continuing the Spielberg & Hanks WWII Collaboration
Masters of the Air stands out as Apple TV+’s most prestige-driven original to date thanks to its pedigree. Let’s break down why this series represents prestige TV gold:
Prestigious Talent Power Combo
A Spielberg and Hanks pairing is guaranteed to attract talent and earn instant clout. Their decades of acclaimed historical productions speak for themselves. This dream team guarantees an authentic, emotionally-resonant portrayal of the Eighth Air Force’s crusade.
Massive Budget for Epic Battle Sequences
With a reported budget set aside exceeding that of most feature films, Masters of the Air will stage aerial dogfight sequences impossible on the small screen before streaming. These expansive set pieces help dramatize the audacious air raids that crippled the Nazi war machine.
Nuanced Portrayal of Bombardiers’ Sacrifices
Viewers will experience the psychological toll of arduous bombing runs from the brave crews’ perspectives. Their sacrifices weighed heavily even as missions dealt crucial blows helping to defeat fascism overseas.
Hollywood Scale Production Design
With soundstages accommodating fighter and bomber cockpits, German villages, and air bases, Masters of the Air will authentically transport viewers to the European theater of WWII.
Prestigious Ensemble Cast
Leads like Austin Butler and Barry Keoghan anchor the series. But the supporting cast contains rising stars like Freddy Carter who will leave strong impressions.
With its high-flying action married to psychological realism about the costs of war, Masters of the Air is tailored for critical acclaim that will elevate Apple TV+’s standing.
Severance – An Inventive Magnet for Creative Visionaries
Finally, Severance showcases Apple TV+ embracing wholly original science fiction stories. Let’s analyze why Severance is attracting top-tier talent:
High-Concept Premise Full of Story Possibilities
The core idea of a procedure dividing work and life personalities allows exploring poignant themes about modern identity through a sci-fi lens. This setup is a storytelling gift that keeps on giving.
Education-Era Setting Provides Retro Future Aesthetic
With a setting evoking the orderly, sanitized feel of corporate educational films from decades past, Severance’s art direction transports viewers to an uncanny retro-futuristic environment.
Workplace Thriller Structure Provides Constant Tension
Unfolding mysteries and corporate conspiracies convert a dry office setting into a gripping psychological thriller filled with escalating dread.
Outstanding Cast Led by Adam Scott’s Nuanced Performance
Adam Scott delivers an emotional tour de force as a man exploring his bifurcated persona. The supporting ensemble provides distinct perspectives on Severance’s implications.
Ben Stiller’s Visionary Production Design
As director and producer, Ben Stiller proves instrumental in fully realizing the show’s off-kilter aesthetic through striking visual cues. Severance feels like his passion project.
A workplace thriller soaked in existential sci-fi makes Severance the perfect vehicle for Apple TV+ to capture critics’ imaginations and boost subscriber buzz. The series bravely pushes storytelling boundaries.
Conclusion: Apple TV+ Originals Worth the Price Despite Hike
In closing, Apple TV+’s $2 monthly price increase is understandable given its drive to be a streaming content leader. Looking at upcoming series like Monarch, Masters of the Air, and Severance, the investment in Apple productions is evident.
Rather than chasing quantity, Apple is letting hand-picked creative teams pursue passion projects with generous production resources. This environment fosters memorable, game-changing television.
Of course, future Apple TV+ libraries will need to expand significantly to provide fuller value long-term. But the streamer is off to a hot creative start. Apple is redefining expectations for streaming originals through select breakout hits over a broad stable of content.
For these reasons, even after the price hike, Apple TV+ remains strongly positioned as a streamer worth buying into for access to premium storytelling. When you consider Apple’s ecosystems and bundles, the fee feels like a relative bargain to experience some of television’s next game-changers first.