TV review: Surface, on AppleTV+, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, in Surface
Gugu Mbatha-Raw

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you don't subscribe to AppleTV+, you're missing out, and I'm not just saying that because I have press access through them. I believe it's only $4.99 a month—much cheaper than Netflix and Hulu—and the shows are very good. 

Surface, starring The Morning Show's Gugu Mbatha-Raw, will debut this Friday, July 29th, and I'm excited to share it with you.

TV review: Surface, on AppleTV+, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw

About the show, from AppleTV+:
Set in high-end San Francisco, “Surface” stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“The Morning Show”), who also executive produces, as Sophie, a woman who has suffered a traumatic head injury that has left her with extreme memory loss, believed to be a result of a suicide attempt. As Sophie embarks on a quest to put the pieces of her life back together with the help of her husband and friends, she begins to question whether or not the truth she is told is in fact the truth she has lived. Through twists and turns and an unexpected love triangle, this sexy, elevated thriller asks: What if you woke up one day and didn’t know your own secrets?“Surface” is a story of self- discovery which contemplates if we are pre-programmed to become who we are, or if we choose our own identity.

This was another great show from the streaming network. The supporting cast includes Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Hill House), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk), Ari Graynor (I'm Dying Up Here), and Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste, whom I used to love in Without a Trace

TV review: Surface, on AppleTV+, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Surface is intriguing because, right from the start, our narrator (played by Mbatha-Raw) is unreliable—after a suicide attempt, or what she's told was a suicide attempt, she has zero memories. Therefore, she's reliant on her husband (Jackson-Cohen, whom I recently saw in Mr. Malcolm's List) and her friends, specifically her best friend (Graynor) to fill in the blanks. Are they lying to her to shape the narrative to their own purposes, or are they telling the truth?

Mbatha-Raw is fantastic in this show, as are Jackson-Cohen, Graynor, and Jean-Baptiste, as Sophie's therapist. Stephan James also plays a police officer who gets involved with Sophie, and later she finds out more information about him. The show truly keeps you guessing until the very end—for example, one of the initial questions that Sophie and her husband have, as well as the audience, is if her suicide attempt was truly that, or if someone pushed her (it occurs on a boat), and we don't find out the answer to that until the very end. 

TV review: Surface, on AppleTV+, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Ari Graynor

I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes drama shows or shows with unreliable narrators. The ending is a bit of a twist, as well, and although it didn't leave me entirely satisfied, it was appropriate for the series, in my opinion.

The first three episodes of Surface debut this Friday, July 29th, followed by one new episode weekly every Friday. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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