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Apples Never Fall Peacock Series Review

People smile for the cameras in the Peacock show Apples Never Fall

Peacock series Apples Never Fall is a character-driven mystery that excels much more as a family drama than a crime thriller.

Apples Never Fall is the third Liane Moriarty novel to be adapted for television. While I have never read her books, both of her previous adaptations, Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, are some of my favorite series to have come out in the last decade. Moriarty always created such unique ensemble-based stories, with fascinating characters and compelling mysteries, so there was a great chance I was going to love Apples Never Fall. While it may not be my favorite show I’ll watch this year, there is still plenty to discuss. 

Apples Never Fall follows the Delaney family, who seem very content with their wealthy and successful lives. Joy (Annette Bening) and Stan (Sam Neil) are former tennis coaches to one of the most successful programs for rising players. Their four adult children, who are aching leading wildly different lives, seem happy as well. When Joy goes missing, her children start to reexamine their family’s past, wondering what could have happened to make their mother disappear

Just like the other Moriarty series, Apples Never Fall’s biggest asset is the perfectly cast ensemble. There’s a strong mix of acting veterans, such as Annette Bening and Sam Neil, who carry a lot of the thematic weight, with known television actors like Alison Brie and Jake Lacy, who are the dominant voices for the Delaney children, Amy and Troy. All members of the Delaney family have this tense chemistry with each other, where you can tell that there is a lot bubbling beneath the surface even if it’s just a line delivery or a glance. This becomes especially important towards the latter half of the series, when Savannah (Georgia Flood), a new friend of Joy’s, starts to subtly disrupt a lot of the lives of the Delaney family.

As with a lot of family mysteries where the matriarch goes missing, the husband is the main suspect. Neil’s performance as Stan is one of the elements that make Apples Never Fall work, and he definitely does not disappoint. Usually in mysteries, it takes a few episodes to reveal the complexities of each character, but Neil displays a lot of his character’s flaws from the first episode, which not only makes the show more interesting from the start, but also brings a lot of nuance to the character mix. 

The family has a discussion in the Peacock show Apples Never Fall
Apples Never Fall (Peacock)

Brie and Lacy are the standouts from the Delaney children, and that’s due to their compelling narratives. All of the children have their own lives that are being disrupted from their mom going missing, but we get to spend the most time with Amy and Troy, which allows the audience to see how multidimensional both of these characters are. 

Alison Brie is always able to bring this slight comedy energy to all of her roles, given that she is a truly hilarious performer, and that works so well for Amy since it allows her to be the comedic relief at times but still have the emotional weight of someone who is lost. Troy carries a lot of anger in his heart, for reasons that come out towards the end of Apples Never Fall, and while you don’t initially know why, you can always tell that he doesn’t value his family in the same way as his siblings, so following his character is always fascinating. 

Because of this character work, Apples Never Fall sadly works so much better as a familial character study than a mystery. So much of what makes the show great is due to the great performances that the emotional climax happens before the mystery is even solved. Anytime the story focused more on Joy’s disappearance than on how it is affecting her family, I found myself getting disinterested pretty quickly. This is not because I wasn’t curious as to how the story would play out, but more because I was so interested in the lives of these characters that the mystery did not matter as much. By the time we get to the big reveals, they aren’t even shared with much nuance. The characters just narrate the twists and turns: these moments needed to be shown more, not told. 

Even if the mystery itself is a little lackluster, the twists are pretty thought provoking. Apples Never Fall asks questions about familial roles that I haven’t seen discussed in this particular way before. How much should one prioritize themselves when they are responsible for taking care of their family? Do we have to forgive family just because they are our blood? Who decides what roles people play within a family, and is that fair? You don’t need to be in the Delaney family to answer these questions, but this show certainly provides an interesting perspective on these moments that many families face. 

Overall, Apples Never Fall is a great family drama, but only an average mystery. If you go in knowing this, I think you’ll enjoy the series a lot more. Annette Bening gives yet another great performance as the central character, but it’s really the ensemble around her that makes the show worth watching. Apples Never Fall joins the list of Liane Moarity novels that have become great adaptations, so hopefully we can see more shows like this come out in the coming years.  

Apples Never Fall is now available to watch on Peacock.

Apples Never Fall: Trailer (Peacock)
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