TV Shows

Does Apple TV’s Monarch Breathe New Life into Godzilla? Episode 1 Review

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Despite being a fan of colossal monster movies and shows, Apple TV’s Monarch wasn’t really on my list of shows to check out.  

If you aren’t aware, Monarch is a Godzilla show.

But didn’t we just have a Godzilla movie, you ask? Yes, we seem to get one every few years, but this time, it’s a series, and … get this … Godzilla only makes a minor appearance in the first episode. Apple is making us wait, but despite this, the show is quick-paced and intriguing.  

In terms of post-apocalyptic, it isn’t there yet, but I can see it going in that direction.

AppleTV seems to love conspiracy shows, and it appears that this one is headed in that direction. Rather than a recap, this will be a mini-review.



The first episode introduces us to a world where Godzilla attacked San Francisco in 2014. This is interesting because if you know anything about Godzilla, you’ll recall the historical site of most of Godzilla’s wrath is Tokyo. This is ignoring, of course, the 1998 Godzilla movie that took place in New York.

Yet, because San Fran and Tokyo share the same ocean, Cate (Anna Sawai) arrives there to find that it has been equipped with Gozilla bunkers for citizens to hide in, as well as ballistic missiles in strategic locations. Unlike say, Pacific Rim, this isn’t a world where Godzilla and their buddies attack Earth every other week – humanity seems to be simply … preparing. 

The human element of the show is Cate and her half-brother Kentaro (Ren Watabe), who recently found out about one another. As they are learning the deep secrets their shared father possessed (some of which, you guessed it, seem to involve our big lizard friend), they are forced to trust one another and (presumably) become friends. The show also stars Kurt Russell and his son Wyatt Russell.

The show also takes place in the 1950s, following three friends and colleagues (two of whom are married and have a child) as they investigate a strange facility in Kazakhstan. We also have a segment from what might be the 1970s, on Skull Island, with the giant bugs and creatures that reside there. I have a deep romance with series that have multiple timelines, so this factor hooked me right away.

Overall, for the first episode of a show I wasn’t sure we needed, I found myself impressed with the pacing, mystery, special effects, and how they managed to make it serious as opposed to campy. I’m not sure how long that will last, but I’m wiling to hope it maintains this trajectory. 

The one thing I very much want to know is this: because the company’s name is “Monarch” and a monarch is a type of butterfly, and bufferflies resemble moths … does that mean Mothra is going to make an appearance? 

But, please, no more giant spiders! I will admit I screamed. My arachniphobia can’t take it. 

    T. S. Beier is obsessed with science fiction, the ruins of industry, and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards and a semi-finalist in the 2021 Self-Published Science Fiction Competition) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (space opera). She is a book reviewer, editor, and freelance writer. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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