Apple TV Plus continues to be home to some of the most creatively thoughtful shows, and the latest gem comes to us from Jason Segel and Ted Lasso’s Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein. Shrinking on Apple TV is an innovative, emotionally poignant comedy full of compelling performances and profound heart. It’s rare for a Pilot to peddle the story with such vigor effortlessly woven into the foundation to exhibit the show’s thematic priorities, and Shrinking does so.
From the moment we heard the news that the show was coming, it was a no-brainer that it’d be good. Coming from exceptional creators is one reason, and the second, perhaps the most iconic, is Harrison Ford. Yet, the hint of greatness from both these factors does nothing to prepare viewers for the subtly emotional rollercoaster the show takes us through, and therein lies its key to success.
In recent years, various TV shows and films have been doing the heavy lifting in attempts to break stigmas around therapy and mental health struggles. While we still have a ways to go, any and all progress is a positive thing that continues to make the media we consume better and more comforting. And despite the unconventional route Shrinking on Apple TV takes with its approach to therapy, the series highlights essential facets with meticulous and sensitive care. The series doesn’t merely look at the patients, but it’s a reminder of what the people helping us experience in their everyday lives, making the series riveting in its approach to showcase duality.
As the show’s official trailer reveals, the central theme relies heavily on grief and getting through to the other side. And from the first episode alone, it’s easy to understand how much dedication is present in ensuring that the series carefully addresses the perils of grief, taking apart all the messy curves to signify the weight of the maneuvers. And as a whole, Season 1 does this gradually with plenty of coating to remind viewers that it’s never a linear path where coming out on the other side means backward steps are now entirely in the past.
Therapy doesn’t fix a human being after one session, and a breakthrough while working through grief doesn’t equate to healing. In truth, for the latter sentiment, there is no form of complete healing because what the former teaches is that we, as human beings grow around our grief, but its size and weight in our hearts never change. Concurrently, no matter a person’s heartaches, our past bleeds into the present, making way into the future and dictating who we choose to become while confronting the struggles. The narrative in Shrinking on Apple TV addresses highs and lows through each character to convey the strength that small accomplishments uncover. The breakthroughs within the show feel organic, honest, and vulnerable, which will make the coming weeks a journey for viewers to experience.
Further, so much of the reason why the show works is because the characters feel real and grounded. They’re flawed, complex, and so hilarious, each in their own right, allowing the actors to bring some of their best work to date. Jason Segel is better and stronger as an actor than ever, and this series is God’s gift to humanity for putting Harrison Ford in the situations it does. The therapists, Segel’s Jimmy Laird, Ford’s Paul Rhoades, and Jessica Williams’ Gabrielle Evans, are a storm to be reckoned with on their own (and together), with highs and lows and banter that’s witty, honest, and riveting. Luke Tennie, Lukita Maxwell, Christa Miller, and Michael Urie are each fantastic in their roles, bringing something incredible to the series and the dynamics from the moment they step onto the screen.
Shrinking on Apple TV is a show you won’t want to miss. Its seamless means of telling a complex, deeply human story by placing characters in the driver’s seat is an admirable accomplishment, and its carefully crafted humor is top-notch. It’s undoubtedly one that’ll be on many Best of 2023 lists at the end of the year.
Shrinking premieres exclusively on Apple TV Plus on January 27.