Apple TV+ is set to debut its latest original comedy series, The Big Door Prize, based on the best selling novel by M.O. Walsh. It stars Chris O’Dowd and Gabrielle Dennis as residents of Deerfield, a small town where a mysterious machine appears at the local general store. The machine promises to reveal each person’s true life potential in exchange for a dollar, sparking a wave of self-reflection and unimagined changes in the tight-knit community.
The Big Door Prize is created by Emmy Award-winning writer David West Read (Schitt’s Creek), who also serves as showrunner and executive producer. The
show is produced by Skydance Television and CJ ENM/Studio Dragon, and features 10 half-hour episodes. The show debuts globally on March 29th on Apple TV+. You can listen to my interview with David West Read linked at the bottom of this column.
More Magical Than Sci-Fi
The Big Door Prize is a charming and thoughtful exploration of what it means to pursue your dreams and destiny, and how that affects your relationships and identity. The characters are quirky and relatable, each with their own struggles and aspirations. The machine acts as a catalyst for them to question their choices and beliefs, and to take risks and opportunities they might have otherwise ignored.
Despite the presence of the mysterious Morpho Machine, The Big Door Prize is only tangentially a sci-fi series. Season One doesn’t explain where the machine came from or how it works, but rather focuses on the human stories and dilemmas that it triggers. The show is more of a magical realism comedy, with a touch of whimsy and wonder.
Soulful Performances In Search of Meaning
O’Dowd and Dennis give soulful and sometimes heartrending performances,
as the former high school sweethearts re-examine their lives after 20 years of marriage. The series asks the question: What’s the definition of happiness in life? Viewers may find themselves asking the same. You can listen to my interview of Chris O’Dowd and Gabrielle Dennis linked at the bottom of this page.
The show is being greeted with positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, who praised its humor, warmth, originality and cast. It’s been compared to other Apple TV+ comedies like Ted Lasso and Little Voice, which also feature uplifting and optimistic stories. The Big Door Prize is being hailed as a refreshing and timely antidote to the gloom and doom of the pandemic era.
The Big Door Prize is available to watch on Apple TV+, which offers a seven-day free trial and costs $6.99 per month. The show joins other acclaimed Apple Originals like Coda, The Morning Show, Servant, Foundation and more.