Review: ‘Rebuilding Paradise,’ starring Michelle John, Steve ‘Woody’ Culleton, Carly Ingersoll and Matt Gates

August 1, 2020

by Carla Hay

A scene from “Rebuilding Paradise” (Photo by Noah Berger)

“Rebuilding Paradise”  

Directed by Ron Howard

Culture Representation: Taking place in California, the documentary “Rebuilding Paradise” features a predominantly white group of people (with a few African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A devastating wildfire nearly destroys the California city of Paradise, and the people affected have to fight to rebuild their lives while dealing with bureaucracy from the government and from the energy company Pacific, Gas & Electric, which was largely blamed for causing the fire.

Culture Audience: “Rebuilding Paradise” will appeal primarily to viewers who are interested in stories about how people recover from disasters.

Mauny Roethler in “Rebuilding Paradise” (Photo by Pete Muller/National Geographic)

What do you do when most of your city has burned down in a devastating fire? The documentary “Rebuilding Paradise” shows how people of the city of Paradise, California, had to cope with this trauma, after Paradise was nearly destroyed by wildfire that began on November 8, 2018. The wildfire (called the Camp Fire) killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents in Paradise and surrounding cities, and destroyed 95% of local structures—making it the worst fire disaster in California history.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard directed “Rebuilding Paradise” to show what happened in Paradise in the year after the disaster occurred. The documentary is filmed in a very conventional cinéma vérité style that fortunately is not cluttered with commentaries from people outside of the Paradise community. Howard respectfully lets the survivors express their feelings and open up about what they are going through, without trying to exploit them or manipulate any outcomes.

The movie begins with raw video footage taken of people trying to escape the fires, which literally surrounded several areas of Paradise. It’s harrowing to watch people’s fear and anxiety and to see the blazing infernos that they had to get through in order to survive. Phone services (land lines and mobile phones) weren’t working. And it was dangerous to breath the noxious, smoke-filled air.

Some people who took videos while they were in their cars didn’t know if they would make it out alive. Many people just barely made it out with just the clothes on their backs, while others who weren’t so lucky were trapped and lost their lives. “Rebuilding Paradise” doesn’t have any gruesome footage of people getting physically hurt or dying, but it gives viewers some idea of how terrifying the ordeal was for the people who experienced it.

What caused this disaster? Faulty and outdated equipment (specifically, an electric transmission line) from Pacific, Gas & Electric (PG&E), the main energy company in California, has been named as the main culprit. The Paradise area had also experienced a five-year drought. And on the day of the fires, winds reached about 40 miles per hour. And climate change/global warming made the area’s environment extremely vulnerable to wildfires.

“It really was the perfect storm,” says the Paradise Police Department’s John Singler in the documentary. Paradise Police Department’s Sean Norman adds, “It didn’t matter if we had a thousand fire engines on the ridge that day, this [disaster] was going to happen.”

“Firefighters are living climate change. It’s staring them at them in the face every day,” comments Singler. And because of climate change, these kinds of major fire disasters will become more prevalent, according to former Paradise Fire Department chief Ken Pimlott, who says in the documentary that there’s a rising trend of fires “lasting longer and becoming more extreme.”

At the time that the fire disaster happened in November 2018, the city of Paradise had a population of 26,800, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In December 2018, residents were allowed back into the city, after it was deemed safe enough. However, most people who lived in Paradise at the time the disaster happened didn’t want to go back and rebuild their homes. By April 2019, the city’s population had dropped more than 92%, to a little more than 2,000 residents, according to data released by the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The mass exodus had a domino effect on the amount of money and resources that the city of Paradise could expect to get from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other government agencies. And it caused a vicious cycle: With a much smaller population, the city would get a lot less money and resources, which would make it more difficult and take longer to significantly recover from the disaster. And without a significant recovery, the city wouldn’t be attractive enough for people to want to live there.

For example, there was a real health danger to living in Paradise after the disaster. Even after the cleanup, the documentary notes that toxic chemicals (especially benzene) from the wildfires still permeated the city’s water supply. People were warned not to drink the city’s tap water. And not even taking showers or baths was considered safe, since many of the chemicals in the tap water have been known to cause cancer.

Carly Ingersoll, a Paradise school psychologist who says she nearly died during the fires, comments in the documentary about how her determination to stay in Paradise has come with a big personal cost: She had been planning to start a family, but was told by her doctor that she shouldn’t have a child as long as she is doing things such as taking showers and baths with Paradise’s tap water.

Ingersoll gets emotional when she also says that she thought that going back to Paradise after the fires would get easier over time, but it’s gotten harder. And because her job is to counsel students who also survived the wildfire disaster, “It’s kind of hard not to get triggered,” she says of reliving the trauma.

Another big problem was Paradise’s devastated school system. The wildfires destroyed eight of the nine schools in Paradise, so the Paradise school district had to scramble to find temporary places to have classes, including shopping malls in nearby cities and donated spaces. It’s an uncomfortable and disruptive way of learning that most parents understandably did not want their children to experience, if these parents were lucky enough to have options.

Teenage students’ perspectives in the documentary are primarily shown through schoolmates Brandon Burke and Zach Boston, who were seniors in high school at the time of the disaster. They are shown going back to the burned-down areas where their houses used to be and expressing wistfulness that Paradise might never be the same again. And on a more immediate level, they also worry that they wont be able to have their graduation ceremony at Paradise High School’s Om Wraith Field, due to government concerns that the field might have dangerous levels of post-wildfire toxins.

Michelle John, who was Paradise’s school superintendent at the time, had the monumental task of leading a team that needed to get Paradise’s education system back on track. The documentary includes a lot of footage of the frustrating bureaucracy, complications and stresses she had to deal with rebuild Paradise’s school system. It’s clear from the footage included in the movie that she has a true passion for education, and is an empathetic leader who can gets results through teamwork

She also has a very even temper, considering all the difficulties she encountered not just on the job but also in her personal life as a disaster survivor. The emotional support that she gets is primarily from her devoted husband Phil, a retired military veteran who says that the fire disaster gave him another type of PTSD. At one point, Phil reminds a stressed-out Michelle that she needs to eat and that whatever problems they have to deal with, their health should come first.

Like most of Paradise’s residents, Michelle and Phil lost their home, so the documentary shows them temporarily staying with Michelle’s cousin Roni Masuda and Roni’s husband. The two cousins had been somewhat estranged until the fire disaster brought them back together again. Michelle also leans on her family when she experiences another tragedy.

The documentary also prominently features Paradise Police Department officer Matt Gates, as he patrols the area and helps residents try to get their lives back on track. One month after the disaster, Gates is shown as one of the chief organizers for a much-needed community event for the December holidays. Matt and his wife Tenille, with their movie-star looks and their two adorable young sons, look like they have an ideal family.

However, Tenille says that Matt working very long hours after this disaster (working about 14 hours a day) has put a major strain on their marriage. She says she wishes he could be present for his own family as much has he is for other people. The documentary shows whether or not their marriage survived.

Steve “Woody” Culleton, who was 74 when the fires struck Paradise, is the most colorful character in the documentary. He says when he first moved to Paradise since 1981, he had a very band drinking problem. But he sobered up in 1984, and years later, he became the mayor of Paradise. “I went from being the town drunk to the town mayor,” he quips.

His love of Paradise is so strong that he was determined to rebuild his home and continue to live there, no matter what. A feisty raconteur, Culleton, says that at this point in his life, he doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him for wanting to rebuild in a city that could be in danger of another fire disaster. He likens it to people who still want to live on the beach Miami, even though it’s a direct target for hurricanes.

Culleton’s experience and wisdom as a former mayor of Paradise is also shown as being helpful when he attends city council meetings and town halls and gives advice to obviously less experienced and less knowledgeable city officials. Jody Jones, who was Paradise’s mayor when this documentary was filmed, is briefly shown in one of these meetings, but she’s not interviewed for the documentary.

Other city officials shown in the documentary include the town council’s Mike Zuccolillo and Melissa Schuster. Also shown briefly in the documentary are California state assemblyman John Gallagher, who represents the city of Paradise; Butte Country district attorney Mike Ramsey; Butte County sheriff Kory Honea; Calli-Jane DeAnda, executive director of Butte County Fire Safe Council.

The documentary also shows how two young couples and their children were living after the wildfires destroyed their homes and they had no where else to stay. Marcus Nelson and Krystle Young escaped the fires with their three young daughters, with only a few clothes as their possessions. They ended up at a Red Cross shelter in the nearby city of Chico, and the family eventually moved into a FEMA trailer. Kayla Cox and Justin Cox (who have three daughters) also lost their home and ended up renting a small trailer that Justin (who works as a school custodian) said cost more than it cost to rent the house they used to have.

Nelson says what some of the survivors also express in the documentary: No one really knows what it’s like to experience this type of devastation unless they’ve been through it themselves. Nelson comments, “Is was so sad and hurt for the people of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina [in 2005], but it doesn’t really hit you until it affects and hits you in your own backyard.” (Later in the documentary, some Paradise students are shown raising money for victims of the Alabama tornados in 2019.)

Both couples say that wildfire disaster has caused a lot of stress in their marriages. Kayla Cox was born and raised in Paradise, and almost all of her relatives live there, so she says that there is no way she is moving out of Paradise. Meanwhile, her husband Justin says he’s “done with California,” although later it’s shown that he and and Kayla are still together when they move into their new home in Paradise. Young says that she and Nelson broke up “many times” since the wildfire disaster, but they decided to get back together for the sake of their kids. Time will tell if these couples’ relationships will last.

The documentary also includes coverage of PG&E’s legal responsibility and being held accountable for the wildfires that devastated Paradise. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich and attorney Joe Earley are shown leading a town hall meeting with residents to advise them on how to fight for their rights in dealing with PG&E. And the documentary includes a tension-filled town hall where PG&E representative Aaron Johnson faces an angry crowd with canned apologies. (The outcome of Paradise residents’ class-action lawsuit has been widely reported, but won’t be mentioned in this review in case it’s spoiler information for some viewers.)

A scientific point of view about fire prevention is offered by pyrogeographer Zeke Lunder, who says that fires are inevitable, but “we cant vegetation-manage our way out of the problem.” Lunder and fire and fuels field technician  Danny Davis are shown in the documentary setting little fires to a wooded area in Paradise to demonstrate potential weak spots and strong spots in the area, based on the post-disaster terrain.

The word “resilience” is a word that comes up quite a bit in the documentary when survivors talk about what it takes to get through the disaster that they experienced. However, “Rebuilding Paradise” also serves as a warning that what happened to this city in California would not have been as devastating if it had not been for corporate negligence and denial over how the world’s climate is changing. (In the documentary’s end credits, it’s mentioned that “emissions resulting from making this movie were balanced by investments in projects that benefit wildlife, air quality, water and local economies.”)

At the end of the documentary, there’s a connection made between the Paradise wildfires and other devastating environmental disasters that happened during the year that the documentary was made. It’s up to viewers to decide how much these disasters could have been different if people had treated the environment better and what all of that means for any future environmental catastrophes.

National Geographic Documentary Films released “Rebuilding Paradise” in select U.S. virtual cinemas on July 31, 2020.

 

Review: ‘Dads,’ starring Ron Howard, Will Smith, Conan O’Brien, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris and Jimmy Kimmel

June 20, 2020

by Carla Hay

Bryce Dallas Howard and her father Ron Howard in “Dads” (Photo courtesy of Apple TV+)

“Dads” 

Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard

Culture Representation: The documentary “Dads” has a racially diverse group of people (white, black, Asian and Latino) representing the middle-class and wealthy and talking about fatherhood.

Culture Clash: Some of the fathers interviewed in the film talk about defying traditional masculine stereotypes, by being more involved in raising their children than previous generations of fathers were expected to be.

Culture Audience: “Dads” will appeal to anyone who likes nonfiction films about parenting issues, even though it shuts out any perspectives of fathers who are poor or have negative attitudes about being fathers.

Robert Selby (pictured at right) and his son RJ in “Dads” (Photo courtesy of Apple TV+)

The documentary “Dads” puts such an unrelenting positive and happy spin on fatherhood that it has a strange dichotomy of being a nonfiction film that isn’t entirely realistic. Bryce Dallas Howard (the eldest child of Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard) makes her feature-film directorial debut with “Dads,” which devotes considerable screen time to members of the Howard family talking about fatherhood. “Dads” is ultimately a very uplifting “feel good” movie, but it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking or reveal any new concepts of fatherhood.

There are no deadbeat dads or bitter fathers who’ve lost child custody in “Dads.” Instead, the documentary focuses only on fathers who love being dads and have good relationships with their children. There are several celebrities interviewed in the film (all of whom have a background in comedy), such as Judd Apatow, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Ron Howard, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Kimmel, Hasan Minhaj, Conan O’Brien, Patton Oswalt and Will Smith.

“Dads” has three kinds of footage: soundbites from the celebrities, with Bryce Dallas Howard as the interviewer (she sometimes appears on camera); clips of home movies (the clips from random, unidentified people give the documentary an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” look); and six in-depth profiles of seven middle-class fathers from different parts of the world.

Although the celebrities offer some amusing anecdotes, many of their stories seem rehearsed or their comments are made just to crack a joke. Smith, in particular, seems to have memorized way in advance what he was going to say in this documentary. With the exception of Ron Howard, the celebrities are not shown with their children in this documentary, which is why the celebrity segments in the film are pretty superficial. The best parts of the documentary are with the people who aren’t rich and famous, because that’s the footage that actually shows “regular” fathers (who don’t have nannies) taking care of the kids.

The seven non-famous fathers who are profiled in the movie are:

  • Glen Henry (in San Diego), an African American who became a “daddy vlogger” to document his experiences as a stay-at-home dad.
  • Reed Howard (in Westchester, New York), who is Bryce Dallas Howard’s youngest sibling and was a first-time expectant father at the time the documentary was filmed.
  • Robert Selby (in Triangle, Virginia), an African American whose son survived a life-or-death medical crisis.
  • Thiago Queiroz (in Rio de Janeiro), a Brazilian who started a podcast and blog about fatherhood and who advocates for longer time for paternity leaves.
  • Shuichi Sakuma (in Tokyo), who is a Japanese homemaker.
  • Rob Scheer and Reece Scheer (in Darnestown, Maryland), a white gay couple who adopted four African American kids.

Glen Henry used to work as a sales clerk at men’s clothing store, but he was so unhappy in his job that his wife Yvette suggested that he quit his job and become a stay-at-home father. (At the time “Dads” was filmed, the Henrys had two sons and a daughter.) Glen Henry, who has a blog called Beleaf in Fatherhood, began making videos documenting his fatherhood experiences.

Glen admits that he thought at first that it would be easy to take care of the kids by himself, but he found out that he was very wrong about that. “I felt like an imposter,” he says of his early years as a homemaker. Even though his wife Yvette says she wasn’t thrilled about Glen putting their family’s life on display for everyone to see on the Internet, she says it’s worth it because Glen is a much happier person as a stay-at-home dad.

Echoing what many of the fathers say in the documentary, Glen Henry comments: “The role of father has shifted in a major way. We went from providing, being there for holidays and disciplining to being all the way involved—and you kind of look like a dork if you’re not.”

He continues, “I feel like being a father made me the man that I am. My children taught me to be authentic and honest with myself. Fatherhood has given me a whole new identity.”

Reed Howard, who was expecting his first child with his wife when this documentary was being filmed, talks about the home videos that his father Ron filmed of all of his children being born. (Clips of some of those videos are included in the documentary.) Reeds says half-jokingly that since all of Ron’s kids were forced to watch the videos, it was “traumatic” to see part of his mother’s body that he never wanted to see.

Ron Howard’s father Rance (who died in 2017) is also interviewed in “Dads.” Rance says that when Ron was a co-star on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Rance suggested to Andy Griffith to not have Ron’s character Opie written as a brat. Griffith took the advice, and the father-son relationship on the show was modeled after the relationship that Rance had with Ron in real life. (Rance Howard and Ron Howard are the only grandfathers interviewed in the movie, by the way.)

Most of the dads interviewed in the documentary get emotional and teary-eyed at some point in the film. Ron Howard’s crying moment comes when he says that his greatest fear as a father was that he wouldn’t be as good as his father was to him. Reed (who is Ron’s only son) expresses the same fear about not being able to live up to the great experiences that he had with Ron as his father.

Selby has perhaps the most compelling story, since his son RJ was born with a congenital heart defect. Selby describes years of stressful hospital visits and medical treatments in order to help RJ live as healthy of a life as possible. This dedicated dad had to make many sacrifices, such as taking unpaid time off from work and forgo paying some bills in order to pay for RJ’s medical expenses. “There was no doubt in mind: I would forever be his protector,” Selby says of his outlook on being RJ’s father.

Selby is also the only father interviewed in the film who isn’t financially privileged, since he says that he often didn’t have a car during his son’s ongoing medical crisis. And when he did have a car, it was repossessed  multiple times because he couldn’t make the payments. He ended up working a night shift because it was the only way he could have a job (he doesn’t mention what he does for a living) while also going to school and taking care of RJ during the day.

Chantay Williams (who is RJ’s mother) and Selby were never married and didn’t have a serious relationship when she got pregnant with RJ. Selby breaks down and cries when he remembers that when he found out about the pregnancy, he didn’t want Williams to have the child and he didn’t talk to her for two months. But he changed his mind, asked for her forgiveness, and is now a very involved father.

However, Selby says that he still feels shame over his initial reaction to the pregnancy, and he comments that he’ll probably spend the rest of his life trying to make up for that mistake. Williams says in the documentary that Selby is proof that someone can change, and that he’s truly a devoted father and that his devotion isn’t just a show for the documentary cameras.

Quieroz (a married father of two sons and a daughter) knows what it’s like to not have a father raise him, since his dad wasn’t in his life for most of his childhood. He says that it’s one of the reasons why he vowed to always be there for his kids. Quieroz’s day job is as a mechanical engineer, but he also started a fatherhood podcast with two other Brazilian fathers, and he has a fatherhood blog. It’s through the blog that Quieroz’s estranged father got in touch with him. The outcome of that contact is revealed in the documentary.

Sakuma talks about how, in Japanese culture, men who don’t work outside the home are considered “society dropouts.” When he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder 20 years ago, Sakuma could no longer work outside the home. He became so depressed that he contemplated divorce and suicide, until his wife begged him: “Please continue living for me.”

After Sakuma regained his health, one of the first things he wanted to do was become a parent, but his wife didn’t want to have kids. He says in the documentary that he began a personal campaign that lasted two years to get his wife to change her mind. She changed her mind when he told her that men can do anything when it comes to raising a child, except for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. He convinced her that he would make a great stay-at-home dad, which he is to their son.

Rob and Reece Scheer didn’t expect to become parents to four kids in a short period of time (less than a year), but that’s what happened when they fostered four children, whom they eventually ended up adopting. Rob and Reece have three sons and one daughter; two of the sons are biological brothers. Rob (the older husband) says he knew that he wanted to be a father since he was 6 years old. Rob describes how he grew up with an abusive father, but that traumatic experience helped him know that he wanted to be the opposite of abusive when he became a dad.

The four kids adopted by Reece and Rob also come from troubled backgrounds, so Rob believes surviving his own abusive childhood helps him relate to his kids in that way. As for Reece, he was working two jobs when he decided quit those jobs to be the couple’s stay-at-home partner. They had to make the sacrifice of having a lower household income, but now the family lives happily on a farm, which the dads say has been beneficial for the emotional well-being of their kids.

Rob Scheer says that sometimes people say unintentionally ignorant things  about gay couples who are parents. “People ask, ‘Who’s the mom and who’s the dad?’ We’re both dads, but the one thing that we do is that we both partner. That’s what parents should be doing.”

One of the questions that Bryce Dallas Howard asks the celebrities is to define what a father is in one word. Fallon says “hero,” while Minhaj says “compass.” Many of the celebrity fathers in the documentary make obvious comments that are similar to each other, such as: “There’s no instruction manual/rulebook to being a father.”

And although Kimmel and Jeong briefly mention the medical scares they went through with their children (a heart defect for one of Kimmel’s sons, a premature birth for one of Jeong’s children), the documentary doesn’t show them opening up about these issues in a meaningful way. Instead, most of the celebrity soundbites are meant to elicit laughs. Several of the celebrities make references to their busy careers when they talk about how their work keeps them from spending more time with their kids, but they know that they’re working hard to provide very well for their children.

Although the non-famous fathers who are profiled  in “Dads” seem to be a diverse group because they’re from different countries and racial groups, they actually have more in common with each other than not, because they’re all middle-class fathers with children who were under the age of 13 at the time this documentary was filmed. It seems like these fathers were selected because they have young children who are in the “cute” stages of life—no kids who are teenagers or adults—thereby creating more documentary footage that was likely to be “adorable.”

Apatow and Smith are the only fathers who talk about how fatherhood became less fun for them when their children became teenagers. They mention that they had to learn to give their teenage kids space, adjust to their kids’ growing independence, and allow them to make their own decisions on issues, even if those decisions turned out to be mistakes. But since the documentary doesn’t do any up-close profiles of non-famous fathers who have teenagers, the only commentaries about raising teenagers come from rich and famous guys, and it’s questionable how relatable these celebrity dads are to the rest of the public.

For example, Smith has said in other interviews (not in this documentary) that he and his wife Jada don’t believe that their kids should be punished in their household when they do something wrong, their kids never had to do household chores, and he and Jada allowed their kids to drop out of school when the kids didn’t feel like going anymore. Apatow admits in the documentary that he’s also a permissive dad who never really punished his kids if they did something wrong. Is it any wonder that many celebrities are perceived as raising spoiled kids who are out of touch with the real world?

One of the other shortcomings of “Dads” is that, except for Selby, the documentary completely ignores major financial strains that parenthood can cause. It’s as if the documentary wants to forget that financially poor fathers exist in this world too. And even though Minhaj is the only one in “Dads” to mention the immigrant experience, “Dads” could have used more fatherhood stories from an immigrant perspective.

However, if you want a heartwarming look at famous and non-famous dads who say that parenthood is the best thing that ever happened to them, “Dads” fulfills all those expectations. This documentary is more like a series of love letters instead of a thorough and inclusive investigation.

Apple TV+ premiered “Dads” on June 19, 2020.

Apple announces Apple TV+ with Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and more

March 25, 2019

The following is a press release from Apple:

Apple today announced Apple TV+, the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers featuring exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries, coming this fall. Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will feature a brand new slate of programming from the world’s most celebrated creative artists, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more. On the Apple TV app, subscribers will enjoy inspiring and authentic stories with emotional depth and compelling characters from all walks of life, ad-free and on demand.

“We’re honored that the absolute best lineup of storytellers in the world – both in front of and behind the camera – are coming to Apple TV+,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV+ and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this fall. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.”

Additionally, Apple debuted the all-new Apple TV app and Apple TV channels coming in May 2019. The all-new Apple TV app brings together the different ways to discover and watch shows, movies, sports, news and more in one app across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, smart TVs and streaming devices. Users can subscribe to and watch new Apple TV channels – paying for only services they want, like HBO, SHOWTIME and Starz – all on demand, available on and offline, with incredible picture quality and sound; enjoy sports, news and network TV from cable and satellite providers as well as purchase or rent iTunes movies and TV shows all within the new, personalized Apple TV app.

Beginning in May, customers can subscribe to Apple TV channels à la carte and watch them in the Apple TV app, with no additional apps, accounts or passwords required. Apple TV channels include popular services such as HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, CBS All Access, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, Noggin and new services like MTV Hits, with more to be added over time around the world.

The new Apple TV app personalizes what viewers love to watch across their existing apps and services while developing a secure and comprehensive understanding of users’ viewing interests. The app will offer suggestions for shows and movies from over 150 streaming apps, including Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as pay-TV services such as Canal+, Charter Spectrum, DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue. Optimum and Suddenlink from Altice will be added later this year.*

Additionally, the Apple TV app will become the new home to the hundreds of thousands of movies and TV shows currently available for purchase or rent in the iTunes Store.

Availability

Pricing and availability for the Apple TV+ video subscription service will be announced later this fall.

The all-new Apple TV app is coming to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV customers in over 100 countries with a free software update this May, and to Mac this fall.

Through Family Sharing, users can share Apple TV+ and subscriptions to Apple TV channels.

The Apple TV app will be available on Samsung smart TVs beginning this spring and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future.

Later this year, customers with eligible VIZIO, Samsung, LG and Sony smart TVs will be able to effortlessly play videos and other content from their iPhone or iPad directly to their smart TVs with AirPlay 2 support.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms – iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS – provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Editor’s note: The shows on Apple TV+ include:

  • Steven Spielberg’s reboot of the “Amazing Stories” anthology
  • Oprah Winfrey projects, including a documentary titled “Toxic Labor” about workplace harassment; a documentary (title to be announced) about mental health; and a book club-oriented program whose title is to be announced.
  • “The Morning Show,” a drama series about morning television, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, with Aniston and Witherspoon among the executive producers
  • “See,” a post-apocalyptic drama series starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard
  • “Little Voice,” a musical drama series, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, with original songs written by Sara Bareilles
  • “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends,” starring Jennifer Garner and executive produced by J.J. Abrams
  • “Peanuts” content, based on the beloved comic-strip characters
  • “Swagger,” a drama series based on the life of basketball star Kevin Durant, with Durant executive producing the show with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer
  • “Defending Jacob,” a drama series starring and executive produced by Chris Evans, about a father whose teenage son is suspected of killing a classmate
  • “Pachinko,” a drama series based on Min Jin Lee’s book, with Soo Hugh as the showrunner
  • A comedy series (title to be announced) about video-game company, executive produced by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” co-stars Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day
  • “Are You Sleeping,” a drama series about how a podcast affects a cold murder case, starring Octavia Spencer, Lizzy Caplan and Aaron Paul
  • “Dickinson,” a drama series about Emily Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld
  • “Bastards,” a drama series about war veterans, starring Richard Gere
  • A drama series (title to be announced) about CIA operative Amaryllis Fox, starring and executive produced by Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson
  • “Little America,” a comedy series about immigrants, executive produced by Oscar-nominated “The Big Sick” writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
  • “Helpsters,” a children’s show from Sesame Workshop
  • “Calls,” an American remake of a French drama series that does reenactments of 911 calls
  • “For All Mankind,” a space drama series starring Joel Kinnaman
  • “Central Park,” an animated series from “Bob’s Burgers” creator Loren Bouchard, with a voice cast that includes Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, Josh Gad, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. and Stanley Tucci.
  • “Homes,” a docuseries about unusual homes
  • “Losing Earth,” a possible drama or docuseries about climate change
  • “Shantaram,” a drama series about an escaped prisoner from Australia who’s hiding out in India, from executive producer/screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (“American Hustle”)
  • “Time Bandits,” a fantasy comedy series from executive producer/director Taika Waititi, based on Terry Gilliam’s 1981 film of the same title
  • A still-untitled drama/thriller series from executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, with a cast that includes Lauren Ambrose, Rupert Grint and Toby Kebbell [UPDATE: The series is titled “Servant.”]
  • A still-untitled drama series from Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle, with the show’s plot and cast to be announced
  • A still-untitled sci-fi series from executive producer Simon Kinberg, who has written several “X-Men” movies
  • A still-untitled mystery drama series from executive producer/director Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”), based on real-life pre-teen reporter Hilde Lysiak (played by Brooklynn Prince), with Jim Sturgess co-starring as her father

SOURCE: Variety

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