The Big Door Prize — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Some descriptors, as is the case with the character arcs accompanying them, are obviously better than others. The show’s fourth episode, titled “Father Reuben” after the town’s priest (Damon Gupton), delivers an emotional punch to the gut that is masked by his seemingly serene disposition. Similarly, with the loss of his mother compounded by the recent tragic death of his identical twin brother, Jacob Kovac (Sammy Fourlas), one of Dusty’s students who works part-time at the corner store (and was there the night the machine first appeared), finds solace in Trina. Despite being two of the youngest cast members, Fourlas and Amara’s performances stand out in this ensemble, with their ability to capture the teens’ deep emotional wounds that are not immediately apparent at first glance. On the flip side, Sammy’s well-intentioned but distant father, Beau (Aaron Roman Weiner), is given an arc that doesn’t have the same consistent emotional weight, despite the fact that they are grieving the same people.


The format of the show means that most episodes are spent examining open-ended questions about life and death, happiness and sadness, ecstasy and misery, and the like, through the characters. As a result, the mystery surrounding Morpho’s origins, which was presented in the trailer, is pushed until later in the season, making the machine feel more like a literal plot device to introduce those heftier topics than the real focus of the show. But by putting the spotlight instead on the residents of Deerfield, The Big Door Prize has the potential—no pun intended—to tell a more sustainable story about human connection that might be as hard to resist as Morpho itself.

The Big Door Prize premieres March 29 on Apple TV+.