This new drama on Apple TV Plus is my favorite show of the year — and it's 91% on Rotten Tomatoes

Rashida Jones in "Sunny" on Apple TV Plus
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

I’m always down to watch a new dark mystery drama with lots of suspense and twists that you wouldn’t catch a mile off. There’s just something about being consumed by a puzzling narrative that I can’t help but try to solve myself. But what’s better than your average mystery? One that involves a strangely funny robot, which happens to talk and think just like a human. 

Apple TV Plus executed this concept perfectly with its newest hit "Sunny," a darkly comedic mystery that has quickly become my favorite show of the year. If someone asked me for the premise, I would probably say: “A woman who just lost her husband and son in a plane crash gets given a weird robot to help with her grief." But there’s so much more to that (and I’ll try to avoid huge spoiler territory). 

Apple TV Plus continues to impress with its compelling content line-up. "Fancy Dance" has firmly established itself as one of the standout movies of the year, and the incredible trailer for "Time Bandits" further adds to the excitement. For now though, the spotlight deserves to be on “Sunny”, and I’ll happily explain why…  

‘Sunny’ is an oddball mystery that works so well

SUNNY — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ - YouTube SUNNY — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ - YouTube
Watch On

I can’t deny that "Sunny” has some silly moments, but this strangeness works incredibly well for the show’s premise. Created by Katie Robbins and produced by A24 for Apple TV Plus, "Sunny” centers around Suzie (Rashida Jones), a woman dealing with the sudden loss of her husband and son due to a mysterious plane crash. Now overcome with grief and hopelessness in such a dark situation, Suzie turns to alcohol as she cuts herself off from everyone else. 

However, a roboticist named Yuki Tanaka (Jun Kunimura) gives her a strange robot named Sunny (voiced by Joanna Sotomura), which was actually created by her husband. This AI, designed to replicate his personality, starts providing clues about his disappearance, leading Sunny down a complex and dangerous path.

When I first saw the trailer for this dark comic mystery show, it reminded me of a darker version of “Big Hero 6”. They both share similar stories: a person stricken with grief receives a robot made by someone close to them. “Sunny”, being a live-action series, captures human emotion perfectly while throwing in some surprisingly funny interactions between Suzie and Sunny. 

To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect when I pressed play. Many mystery shows and movies that use comedy often focus too much on making people laugh rather than actually delving deeper into the narrative and characters. But “Sunny” was a thrilling surprise. It manages to do comedy and raw drama, as one scene could involve the robot being absolutely savage (it's brilliant) and the next shows Suzie breaking down from grief in her wardrobe. 

“Sunny” is genuinely an oddball, and I mean that in the best way. It’s an uncomfortable, fun and contemplative look at how grief can transform a person. Jones does an excellent job at portraying a woman who tries to deny her grief through other means, like drinking and digging into her husband’s past as a distraction. And mixed into that perfectly chaotic mess is a mystery — one that a creepy human-like robot could help solve.

What critics are saying about ‘Sunny’

As of July 10, “Sunny” has a high score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes from 30+ sample reviews. This is a very impressive debut rating, but it could change over time when more episodes get released (and more people view it). 

Dan Einav from Financial Times said: “Where the show could have easily descended into gimmickry or portentous commentary about our relationship with technology, series creator Katie Robbins succeeds in keeping things thoughtful, funny and unpredictable.” Meanwhile, RogerEbert’s Kaiya Shunyata offered an opinion I very much agree with: “Sunny is not only an engaging thriller, but one of the most intriguing series this year has to offer.” 

Hayley Spencer from London Evening Standard also commented on the show’s ability to be “kooky” and gripping: “Bold cinematography (and impressive animated credits), a snarky yet endearing performance from Jones, and a story propelled by an unfurling mystery all give clout to what seems incongruous on paper.” 

While it is my favorite show of the year so far, not everyone is going to have the same opinion. Slant Magazine’s Ross McIndoe said: “The series ultimately amounts to a little less than the sum of its parts.”

Stream ‘Sunny’ on Apple TV plus now

Rashida Jones in upcoming show "Sunny" on Apple TV Plus

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend or just fancy a darkly comedic watch, then “Sunny” should be your next go-to series. As someone who typically loves horror, it’s been nice to stray away from anything too serious, and “Sunny” has been an enjoyable story so far. 

Grief has been a theme of many darker shows and movies, including the incredibly disturbing “Midsommar” that was also produced by A24. But “Sunny” takes a different approach to the subject matter by introducing equal parts comedy and warmth for your heart. Suzie, now having to deal with having a robot in her life, has no choice but to trust the AI while she navigates an extremely suspicious mystery. 

Want to see what else is worth watching? Check out everything new on Apple TV Plus in July 2024 or see what movies are on the top 10 list

Stream the first two episodes of “Sunny” on Apple TV Plus now. 

More from Tom's Guide

Alix Blackburn
Staff Writer, Streaming

Alix is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, which basically means watching the best movies and TV shows and then writing about them. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Screen Rant and Bough Digital, both of which sparked her interest in the entertainment industry. When she’s not writing about the latest movies and TV shows, she’s either playing horror video games on her PC or working on her first novel.