The Big Door Prize: Release Date, Cast, And More

Apple TV+ is having success with charming dramedy of late. The Jason Segel and Harrison Ford-led "Shrinking" delighted audiences with its exploration of grief mixed with light-hearted comedy, and was just rewarded with a second-season renewal. Now, it looks like Tim Cook's streaming service is providing similarly heartfelt yet challenging fare in the form of "The Big Door Prize."

Based on M.O. Walsh's novel of the same name, the upcoming series will see Chris O'Dowd ("The IT Crowd," "Bridesmaids") lead an ensemble cast. O'Dowd plays school teacher Dusty, who's seemingly content with his life until a mysterious machine shows up in his small Louisiana town and begins to make everyone, including himself, question their life trajectory. 

With an affable fellow like O'Dowd in the lead role, and coming from "Schitt's Creek" writer David West Read, you can imagine the wholesome energy this dramedy will provide. Read, who's also just been announced as having created another Apple TV+ comedy series starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, has infused the sci-fi premise of "The Big Door Show" with his own brand of light comedy. And if you're intrigued by such a prospect, you can find all the information on "The Big Door Prize," its release date, who's in it, and who's running the show below.

What is The Big Door Prize release date, and where can you watch it?

Announced via Deadline all the way back in 2021, "The Big Door Prize" promises 10 half-hour episodes that will debut on Apple TV+ on March 29, 2023. That launch date will see the first three episodes arrive on the streaming service, with weekly episodes to follow every Wednesday. The series will run until May 17, at which point all 10 episodes will have become available on Apple TV+.

"The Big Door Prize" teaser trailer arrived in January 2023, and gave our first real glimpse at Read's adaptation of the Walsh novel. Then, in March, just ahead of the series' official release, Apple dropped the full trailer. This time, we got more of an insight into the show, with the trailer conveying just how significantly the mysterious "Morpho" machine affects the lives of Deerfield's residents.

Prior to the trailers launching, "The Big Door Prize" showrunner wouldn't reveal his take on what someone's "life potential" means, but did say the following about his show:

"It's a comedy that has elements of drama and magic [...] There's a slightly unsettling feeling to the show that creeps in over time because the idea of being told your potential itself is very aspirational at first, but reckoning with whether that's possible is slightly more unsettling. So we tried to match that with the overall tone of the show."

What is The Big Door Prize about?

With "The Big Door Prize" set to debut soon, there's plenty of info available about its plot. As mentioned, the series is led by Chris O'Dowd, whose affable energy and everyman aura looks to be perfectly suited to this sci-fi dramedy. O'Dowd's Dusty Hubbard is a schoolteacher, husband, and father who is seemingly comfortable in his day-to-day life. He's known in his small town community of Deerfield, through which he's seen happily cycling in the trailer. 

But when a mysterious machine shows up in the local grocery store out of nowhere, things begin to change for everyone, including Dusty. The machine is apparently capable of informing anyone who uses it of their true life potential. As more and more residents line up to use the "Morpho" machine and take its advisements to heart, Dusty himself starts to question his own existence and whether he's living up to his true potential. As Apple's official synopsis reveals, Dusty's wife Cass also "indulges in the dream that there's something bigger out there for her," as the community is "forced to reconcile with their unfulfilled achievements in pursuit of a better future." While O'Dowd is the series lead, every episode will focus on a different character, showcasing how the "Morpho" machine upends their lives and their assumptions about what they can achieve.

In a /Film interview, O'Dowd and David West Read spoke about the show, with Read explaining how it "touches on grief, fidelity, anxiety, depression, faith — some of the bigger questions." O'Dowd also promised "an exploration in lots of ways, of how society can be cajoled into the idea of expertise or knowledge," which suggests you can expect some light social satire among the drama and comedy, too.

Who's in the cast and crew of The Big Door Prize?

David West Read assembled a fine cast for his show, displaying the good taste to finally cast Chris O'Dowd as the lead in a comedy. But O'Dowd is only part of the picture. As Deadline reported in 2022, Apple added several series regulars, including Gabrielle Dennis ("Rosewood," "A Black Lady Sketch Show"), who will play Dusty's wife Cass, while Djouliet Amara portrays their "bright, sarcastic" daughter, Trina.

Elsewhere, Crystal Fox ("A Fall from Grace") will appear as Izzy, Cass's mother and mayor of Deerfield. Meanwhile, TikTok star Sammy Fourlas plays high school student Jacob, who's grappling with his identical twin brother's death. As Read revealed in his /Film interview, Fourlas had "never done TV before," but was "unbelievably great on this show," with the showrunner characterizing his cast as a "hodgepodge of people from all different backgrounds and experiences."

The series also features Damon Gupton ("Bates Motel") as high school chaplain Father Rueben, while Ally Maki ("Hacks") appears as bartender Hana, alongside Josh Segarra ("Arrow") as Giorgio, a restaurant owner and Deerfield's former star athlete. As well as showrunning, Read is executive producing, and "The Big Door Prize" is produced by Skydance Television and CJ ENM/Studio Dragon. Apple has also confirmed that Anu Valia ("She-Hulk: Attorney at Law"), Molly McGlynn ("Bless This Mess"), Todd Biermann ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Jenée LaMarque ("Dead To Me"), and Declan Lowney ("Ted Lasso") are directors on the show.

And that's all we have on "The Big Door Prize" for now. If anything else breaks between now and the March 29 release date, we'll update you ASAP.