Apple TV puts its spin on the old-time radio thriller with ‘Calls’

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Through the looking glass: “Who knows—what evil—lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. Mwuhaahaha.” I was always fascinated with old-time radio dramas as a kid. I think it was because my imagination visualized the scenes in a higher definition than our early 1980s TV with rabbit ears ever could. Apple is ready to apply a similar concept with its intriguing new series, “Calls.”

Apple TV+ is producing a new series called “Calls.” The show’s uniqueness is that it’s more like a podcast than a television show judging by the trailer (above). Each episode features recorded telephone calls that range from the dark to the bizarre. While the stories are unique, Apple cryptically says they all share one “connection,” tying them into a larger narrative.

The actors never appear visually. Instead, we listen in on their phone conversations as vocal graphs and captions display on the screen. It is unclear how these visuals play into the show, but the trailer does say to “listen carefully” and “watch closely,” so perhaps there are visual cues that help tell the story.

Apple has cast some big-name stars for the show, including Rosario Dawson, Pedro Pascal, Aubrey Plaza, and Jennifer Tilly. They just don’t have to appear under the hot stage lights. Jonas Brother Nick Jonas seems pretty psyched about his role (above).

Horror filmmaker Fede Álvarez takes the helm as director of Calls. Álvarez wrote and directed Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, so we can expect the series to be chilling rather than heartwarming. It is based on a French series written by Timothée Hochet.

Calls debuts on Apple TV+ March 19 with nine 12-minute episodes. That works out to just over the length of an average feature film if you wanted to binge the entire season. I don’t have an Apple TV+ subscription, but I’m thinking I might take advantage of the free one-year trial Apple has been spamming me with just to see what the show is like.





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