One of the streaming release-highlights this season has been Apple TV+’s “Shrinking” starring Jason Segel and Harrison Ford. The show follows Jimmy, a grieving therapist played by Jason Segel, who decides to incorporate a more personal and hands-on approach with his patients in hopes to yield more successful results. It’s a healthy mix of comedy and drama with a bit more of a concentration on the latter. With the first season just over halfway done, many fans are holding their breath for a second season to be approved after its conclusion.
Segel, along with veteran screenwriters Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence, act as the collaborative force that created and wrote this unconventional dramedy. Segel is no stranger to the pen, having written successful comedies such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “The Five-Year Engagement,” both of which he starred in. Goldstein is one of Apple TV+’s rising stars; he is the executive story editor on the service’s most popular show “Ted Lasso” and portrays the beloved Roy Kent. Lawrence is the most experienced of the trio as the writer and creator of iconic television series like “Ted Lasso” and “Scrubs.”
Some newer faces include the talented Jessica Williams as a Jimmy’s coworker and Lukita Maxwell, who plays Jimmy’s daughter. Luke Tennie also stands out as a likable veteran and patient of Jimmy’s.Harrison Ford’s performance as the head therapist of the practice is what stands out the most, though. The role seems to break type-casting for the experienced actor and it is engaging to see him excel in a character you wouldn’t expect him to play; it really flaunts his range
The first episode of the series is by far its best, as it eloquently wraps an entire narrative into its 37-minute runtime, causing the audience to feel a broad array of emotions. Any psychology or behavioral medicine student would be deeply enthralled, as Jimmy breaks all sorts of commonly-taught ethical codes. Even though it’s a fictitious show it’s engaging to see how patients would theoretically respond to more authoritative guidance in a therapeutic setting, for better or worse.
Thought-provoking programs and series such as this one may be Apple’s saving grace for their streaming platform. Recent consumer surveys and financial analytics reveal that Apple TV is struggling with flatlining subscriptions. The platform seems to be suffering more than other services such as Netflix and Hulu. All are being left in the dust by HBOMax, which is one of the only streaming services that has seen a recent increase in subscribers. This is credited to the platform’s current influx of original content with titles like “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon” and “The White Lotus.”
Apple had a strong start with this tactic with the wildly successful “Ted Lasso,” but has yet to create another original series with a comparable viewership. “Shrinking” is not on that caliber yet, but has the potential to get there. Much of the “Ted Lasso” fan base grew over the pandemic, when many spent time at home binge-watching television; at that point, the entire first season was already released. I could see “Shrinking” yielding similar results after the completion of its first season. It has the kind of pacing that makes you want to sit down and bang out four or five episodes at a time, which doesn’t always work well with weekly episode releases.
Even though the series is rated as TV-MA, I find it could be enjoyed by a great number of families. The show was originally recommended to me by my parents, so there is nothing overly inappropriate about the content that could make a family-viewing uncomfortable. This could be a smart move on Apple’s part, because it opens the audience range to anyone in their mid-teenage years and up.
If you are an avid fan of Apple TV’s other original series you’ll have no problem adding this one to the rotation. It’s a unique and heart-warming series that you can’t really define until you see it.