Apples Never Fall, complicated family drama

Annette Bening in Apples Never Fall

Apples Never Fall, with all 7 episodes uploaded, is available on Peacock. This family drama is based on a novel by Liane Moriarty. It was developed by Melanie Marnich. I enjoy reading Liane Moriarty – her novels are always full of convolutions and secrets. That translated to the small screen in this series, but fell a little flat in the process.

Apples Never Fall begins with the disappearance of the family matriarch, Joy. Annette Bening plays Joy and brings a level of emotional truth to the part that in many ways saves the series from itself. Maybe it’s because I know how it feels to be the unappreciated mom who does all the work in the family, but I really understood Joy.

Conor Merrigan-Turner, Essie Randles, Sam Neill, Annette Bening, Alison Brie and Jake Lacy in Apples Never Fall

The family included Logan (Conor Merrigan Turner), Brooke (Essie Randles), Stan (Sam Neill), Joy, Amy (Alison Brie), and Troy (Jake Lacy). The two older children, Troy and Amy, had a very different view of their father and their childhood from the two younger siblings, Logan and Brooke.

Stan and Joy ran a tennis academy. Joy was no angel. Like all the Delaney family she could be competitive and cruel. They all had a habit of storing up each others secrets to use against each other in fights. There were a lot of very well done fights among this family.

When Joy disappeared, the series goes into a ‘then’ and ‘now’ mode with flashbacks to fill in the current situation. A former tennis student of Stan’s named Harry Haddad (Giles Matthey) just won a Grand Slam. This is a sore point in the family because he fired Stan as his coach. Stan blames the firing on Troy. Harry keeps coming up in the conversation. Losing him as a student led to Stan and Joy selling the tennis academy and retiring.

The other person coming into the conversation again and again is the mysterious Savannah (Georgia Flood). She showed up at the door one night bleeding. Joy and Stan took her in, a complete stranger with no ID or background, and let her live with them for several weeks.

Back to Joy disappearing. The family falls apart. The more days she is gone, the more sure they are she’s been murdered. There’s no evidence of that and no body, but they are sure. They’re also sure it was either A) Savannah, or B) their father who did the murder. The cops seem willing to go along with the murder idea, sans evidence, and arrest Stan. They try to find Savannah, but she’s a cipher.

When it’s all over, we are left with a low key ending that lets you know the family dysfunction in the Delaney home isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it wasn’t just the ending painting a portrait of a dysfunctional family – it was the entire series.

Subplots involving each of the family showed their individual levels of broken. Logan let his girlfriend (Pooja Shah) move to Seattle without him. Brooke was engaged to the lovely Gina (Paula Andrea Placido) but messed that up in a spectacular way. Amy was boinking her much younger landlord (Nate Mann). Troy was boinking the bosses’ wife (Katrina Lenk). From the outside, Stan and Joy looked like perfect parents who should have raised 4 grounded children capable of strong relationships with their partners. That’s not how it happened on the inside.

I liked the book and wanted to see the series. It wasn’t as good as I hoped, but it was worth seeing.

Dawn Shadforth directed 3 of the episodes. Unfortunately, the series is on Peacock where you must endure a constant barrage of ads.

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