Shrinking season 1 review: The first great series of 2023

Jason Segel and Harrison Ford in "Shrinking," premiering January 27, 2023 on Apple TV+.
Jason Segel and Harrison Ford in "Shrinking," premiering January 27, 2023 on Apple TV+. /

We all know that Apple TV+ continues to bring out some of the best TV shows in the streaming space. So they are jumpstarting the New Year with a brand new series, Shrinking. Does the series continue the trend of great shows? Or is it a swing and a miss? Let’s dive in.

Shrinking follows Jimmy, a therapist who is grieving the loss of his wife, and in an attempt to get back on track, he starts to do uncharacteristic things within his job that make those around him question what he’s doing. The show stars Jason Segel as Jimmy, with Harrison Ford, Christa Miller, and Jessica Williams.

We meet Jimmy, who is throwing a party in his backyard with two women with lots of alcohol and drugs. Between his loud antics and music, he wakes up his neighbor, Liz, who confronts him about what he’s doing. The following morning, we meet Alice, his daughter, who is taking care of her hungover father and is quite upset with his actions. They haven’t been the same since the passing of her mother, and that is the focal point of this series.

Shrinking is the first great show of 2023

The writing of this show is downright incredible. The trio of Brett Goldstein, Bill Lawrence and Jason Segel depict mental health perfectly, highlighting the good and the bad of it all but most important is that we see it unfold without any forced or false narratives. We all go through things in life, but mental health is something that still is something that struggles to be taken seriously. Not only do the writers take care with the idea of mental health, but so does the entire cast and crew in their performances.

Furthermore, in the writing aspect, the balance within the series was important. Of course, you have the importance of mental health, but it’s layered. First, you have Jimmy and Alice dealing with loss and grief and adapting to that. Then, Sean is dealing with post-military wounds and a lack of family support. Next, Paul deals with aging, and Gabrielle attempts to navigate losing her best friend and moving on in a relationship. That sounds like so much, but it’s balanced to perfection by the writers. You will laugh, cry, cry from laughing, cry more, and laugh again, and it’s truly brilliantly written.

Speaking of the cast, this might be one of the best ensembles ever on TV. There isn’t a single cast member that doesn’t play a vital role in the entire series. I don’t know where to begin with my praise of the work. I could write about each of these characters and what they brought to the table. Let me start by crediting Jason Segel, the center of the series, as the struggling dad dealing with loss, being a father, and navigating life post the death of his wife. Segel is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. He delivers in this role, whether it’s the funny moments with Gabrielle or Paul or the heartfelt moments with Alice or his patients. This might be his best work to date.

An actor like Harrison Ford has been around for generations, but what he does in the role of Paul Rhoades is something we’ve never seen from him. I never thought we’d see Harrison Ford high as a kite or being funny while eating fun dip; he’s a delightful addition to the cast. Another stand out is Lukita Maxwell, who plays Alice, Jimmy’s daughter. The relationship between Jimmy and Alice looked so much like my relationship with my daughter. Lukita is strong, poignant, and powerful in the pivotal moments of this series.

All that said, the MVP of this series is Jessica Williams. Early in the series, you get Gabrielle’s importance, but in the second half of this season, she stands tall and provides one of the best performances you will see this year. Williams is the light of this show when it’s meant to be dark, and her work here, I hope, doesn’t go unnoticed come awards time.

Overall, if you can’t tell by now, I love this show quite a bit. Shrinking is the first series I’ve given FIVE stars in a long time. Shrinking is perfect from top to bottom, and I hope we get many more seasons to come. Check this out when it releases, and do not miss it!

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Shrinking hits Apple TV+ on Jan. 27, 2023.