TV review: The Morning Show 2
A searing inside look at workplace sexual misconduct set against the ruthless world of the popular titular US news programme, The Morning Show was quite the wake-up call when it premiered in 2019.
It was pretty woke too, in its treatment of gender politics, power struggles and the highly complex abuser-victim dynamic.
In its first season, the drama series earned Jennifer Aniston a Screen Actors Guild Award and Billy Crudup an Emmy and deservedly so.
So it seems near impossible to follow up its cracker of a season finale, which saw The Morning Show's anchors Alex (Aniston) and Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) finally team up, live on air, to expose their boss and their news network UBA for their complicity in the office affairs of Alex's disgraced co-host Mitch (Steve Carell) and their creation of a toxic newsroom culture.
But while season one was laser-focused on MeToo matters from the get-go, the second season - currently streaming on Apple TV+ - returns a little muddled and uneven.
The timeline-jumping and sprawling ensemble cast (new characters pop up with nary an official introduction) add to the confusion. And without an overriding scandal to provide agency and drive the plot forward, things move a little too slowly than what we are used to.
Alex has quit the show, moved to Maine, and lives a quiet and secluded life while also writing a tell-all on her career.
Meanwhile, a newly blonde Bradley remains at the helm with a new co-host Eric (Hasan Minhaj), delivering uncharacteristically fluffy segments.
But you cannot keep our leading ladies apart for too long, as Alex finds her way back and the pair's rivalry reignites.
One hopes their addictive back-and-forth and the entertaining, dramatic shenanigans return quickly.
The teasers so far are promising, with Julianna Margulies adding more juice as a new joiner. The family of Hannah (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the employee Mitch preyed on who shockingly died of an overdose, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against UBA.
And as the team closes out 2019 and ushers in 2020, the explosive combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, US presidential election and Black Lives Matter will provide more than enough topical hot-button fodder for what could be an even wilder sophomore season.
I, for one, will be staying tuned.
TV SERIES: The Morning Show 2
STARRING: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Julianna Margulies
SHOWRUNNER: Kerry Ehrin
THE SKINNY: The Morning Show team emerges from the wreckage of Alex (Aniston) and Bradley's (Witherspoon) actions to a new UBA and a world in flux.
SHOWING: Apple TV+