*Warning: Spoilers for The Morning Show Season 3 episodes 1 and 2 ahead!*


The Morning Show's truly exhausting second season seemed determined to break the prestige drama record for hot button issues, covering the likes of *deep breath* cancel culture, workplace tokenism, sexual misconduct, drug addiction, homophobia, suicide and, of course, COVID-19 in a manner which made the average Good Morning Britain debate look nuanced. So, the obvious next step for its return is to, erm, send one of its leading ladies up into space.

Yes, just when you thought the glorified soap opera couldn't get any more ridiculous, the first episode of its third season centres on the build-up to a rocket launch which will thrust TMS's golden girl Alex (Jennifer Aniston) 65 miles above the Earth's surface on live television. What could possibly go wrong?

The fictional production team do at least appear to acknowledge the possibility of a Challenger-esque disaster. In one of several near-death fakeouts, the first episode opens with a glimpse of the televised eulogy that will be played should Alex be blown into smithereens while audiences are tucking into their Frosted Flakes. But it's another sign of how a show once grounded in at least some sort of reality – let's not forget the first season tackled the #MeToo movement relatively intelligently – has now become more sensationalistic than a GB News ticker.

Reese Witherspoon - The Morning Show season 3
Reese Witherspoon - The Morning Show season 3. Apple TV+

Admittedly, the moment Hyperion One blasts into space is visually impressive, the show using every bit of that Apple TV+ money to dazzling effect. Unfortunately, the wonders of Planet Earth are offset by the hilariously pretentious musings of those on board.

"The all-knowing mind, empty and radical," whispers Cory (Billy Crudup), the ever-smarmy CEO, and apparently aspiring poet, who's managed to invite himself along for the ride. And you'll be relieved to know the cameras dramatically cut out once Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) – a last-minute substitute once Alex understandably gets cold feet – begins the kind of idealistic, ham-fisted monologue ("After two years of the pandemic and war in Ukraine, it's incredible to see how connected we are...") that even her Election character Tracy Flick would think was a bit much.

The whole mission, apparently so failsafe it can accommodate a completely untrained novice in a few hours’ notice, is billed as a way to celebrate Alex’s two decades on air. However, it’s actually more of an excuse to usher in Paul Marks, a multi-billionaire space adventurer who wants to get into the media game by taking over The Morning Show’s home network, UBA.

Played by Jon Hamm, Marks also has a charm, charisma and general air of competency Elon Musk can only dream of. But although the wheeling and dealing largely takes place outside the stuffiness of the boardroom – a sauna, fairground, off-road buggy drive – the script fails to make all the negotiation talk pop.

Succession proved it’s possible to get invested in the rich getting richer. Sadly, The Morning Show doesn’t have anyone as endlessly quotable as Roman, as fearsome as Logan or as tragically compelling as Kendall. And without any personal angle either, the contractual fortunes of a multimedia conglomerate inevitably play out bone dry.

Jon Hamm in The Morning Show season 3, wearing a black shirt with his arms crossed
Jon Hamm in The Morning Show season 3. Apple TV+

Having threatened to kill off three players in one fell swoop – in the end, a broken satellite feed was responsible for the sudden spaceship blackout - you might expect the following episode to calm things down a little - yet, before she can even get her breath back from her impromptu space trip, Bradley and the rest of the TMS crew are subjected to more tech problems.

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Firstly, a teleprompter goes down, then the studio lights, then the security system. Talk of an active shooter even circulates but, thankfully, the show doesn’t go there. Instead, all the drama has been caused by a high-scale cyber-attack akin to the Sony Pictures hack of 2014.

Not only are all UBA’s forthcoming projects at the risk of leaking (“a couple of pilots and a Chris Pine action movie” don't exactly sound like rich pickings, though), but so are the confidential staff performance reviews and a revealing video Bradley sent to girlfriend Laura (Julianna Margulies).

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, then the hack could also compromise the whereabouts of a ruggedly handsome photojournalist (Clive Standen) covering the war in Ukraine. Even in a malicious information breach, The Morning Show can’t stop covering all bases.

There’s some fun to be had in watching certain flustered parties try to do some early damage control. Meteorologist Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) is forced to tell UBA’s domineering President of News Greta (Stella Bak) that he referred to her in group texts as Child Bride of Satan. Cory, a man who’d sell his soul to the Devil for a couple more Nielsen points, even manages to put a positive spin on such an unmitigated disaster (“We’re going to use that ransom email in our Emmy campaign!”). However, the constant chaos once again proves The Morning Show can’t sit still for more than five minutes.

As it progresses, the third season also dives into subjects we hoped would be ignored (the January 6th Capitol riots) or had been left behind (get ready for what everyone in 2023 wants from their drama fix – a flashback episode dedicated to the early days of the coronavirus).

The Morning Show’s strength initially laid in its ability to explore one overarching story from various sides, albeit sometimes with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Now, it just throws a million things at the wall in the hope something sticks. Despite the best efforts of its talented ensemble cast, not much does. And yet once again, you’ll find you can’t keep your eyes away from its pure unadulterated messiness.

The Morning Show seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream now on Apple TV+. Season 3 arrives on 13th September. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight. Like this? You might want to try Dr Death. Available now on Lionsgate+.

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