Apple TV+'s latest show couldn't have come at a better time for me: COVID's finally got me, and I'm going through episodes of For All Mankind faster than I'm popping paracetamol. So this week's launch of what is shaping up to be my new obsession, Black Bird, is brilliantly timed.
Right now Black Bird has a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, too, so the early signs point to an Apple TV+ show not to miss. It also seems to be yet another sign that Apple's streaming service really is delivering quality over quantity.
Adapted for the screen by crime legend Dennis Lehane (whose film and TV work includes Mystic River, The Wire, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island and many, many more) and featuring Ray Liotta's final TV performance, Black Bird looks like an edge-of-the-seat thriller in a similar vein to the sadly canned Manhunter. But this time the good guy is a bad guy. Or is he?
Black Bird on Apple TV+: what's it about?
Based on a true story, Black Bird is about convicted drug dealer Jimmy Keene. Keene is given an offer he can't refuse: if he can get suspected serial killer Larry Hall to confess and tell him where the bodies are buried, he's a free man. "The thing I locked in on was the sense of being dropped into a type of hell and having to navigate without a map," Dennis Lehane says. It's much more nuanced than black and white, good and evil: "I don't think too many people are just straight-out evil," Lehane explains.
Reviews so far have been very positive. Collider says that "in the sea of true-crime series that have hit streaming services so far in 2022, Black Bird is a different kind of animal. And boy, can this bird fly," while Showbiz Junkies says that "Lehane takes James Keene’s memoir and finesses it into compelling television. Each episode is well-scripted, incredibly well-acted, and absolutely riveting." Over at Indiewire, Ben Travers says: "Black Bird is a stealthy piece of storytelling -- at first appearing like a simple crow, nested comfortably on the power line next to a dozen others like it, before spreading its wings and revealing a plumage streaked with shades of gray."
This sounds very much like my kind of thing, so I'll be stocking up on Lucozade to binge it over the weekend. Black Bird launches on Apple TV+ on Friday 8th July.