- TV critics don’t always get it right, and they’ve been particularly off-base on a few Netflix original series.
- Here, author Caroline Frost lists eight Netflix shows that critics hated but that are actually worth your while.
With Netflix’s library of original content getting ever larger, it makes sense that people will tend to follow their favorite critics in deciding what to watch and what to avoid.
However, critics don’t always get it right. Though shows like “The Crown” and “GLOW” have hit the spot with critics and viewers alike, plenty of other titles have left the critics cold while winning over the public.
Here are eight Netflix original shows that were dead on arrival according to their critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes, but that are actually worth your while. And it’s not just me saying so, judging by their impressive audience scores.
Critic score: 61%
Audience score: 81%
What critics said: After an absorbing start, this family drama set in the Florida Keys stumbles to an increasingly “muddled” denouement, with no one left to like, apparently.
Reasons to love it: Even within a strong cast including Sam Shepard, Kyle Chandler, and Sissy Spacek, Ben Mendelsohn’s charisma sets him apart and makes us root for him despite his role of official black sheep. The beachside family home is the stuff of gothic novels, the twists keep coming and, whenever the story lulls, the seascape along the Keys remains spectacular.
’13 Reasons Why’
Critic score: 51%
Audience score: 71%
What critics said: While many critics joined in the general praise for the hit first season, nearly as many panned the second as a weak diversion from its initial strong premise. Some called it “unnecessary.”
Reasons to love it: Beneath its glossy “90210”-like sheen, this goes further than any of its competitors in exploring the complex emotions of teenage years, with season two expanding on the show’s initial mystery to give young grief the respect it deserves.
‘The Good Cop’
Critic score: 52%
Audience score: 84%
What critics said: This latest incarnation of the eternal cop duo, this time father and son, presents nothing new, only time-honoured cliches.
Reasons to love it: The show brings some laughs, some mysteries, and a comforting, couch-sinking antidote to all the dark crime drama presented elsewhere. Plus, the chemistry between leads Tony Danza and Josh Groban makes for an easy watch.
Critic score: 38%
Audience score: 85%
Reasons to love it: There’s a powerful performance in the satisfaction-seeking middle-aged woman Naomi Watts plays in Jean Holloway, a psychiatrist breaking every code of conduct. It takes itself far more seriously than you should take it, but if you’re after a bit of escapism, sit back and enjoy. You’re only getting one season.
Critic score: 33%
Audience score: 65%
Reasons to love it: It is indeed cartoonish, but in a good way. Star Gerard Depardieu is arguably the only French actor with the bulk, both in size and reputation, to carry off the central character of the city’s old-school mayor. But the real star is Marseille itself, brought vibrantly to life in two seasons of political, criminal, cocaine-fueled intrigue.
Critic score: 36%
Audience score: 75%
What critics said: Despite this being based on the true story of self-made Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, it seems not many critics could warm to, or even believe in, the central character.
Reasons to love it: Who cares if she’s scruffy, loud-mouthed and self-absorbed? It clearly worked for Amoruso, and Britt Robertson’s central performance shows why. She’s all energy, initiative, and brash charm. After too many doe-eyed screen heroines, be inspired by Robertson’s portrayal.
‘Friends from College’
Critic score: 24%
Audience score: 74%
Reasons to love it: Many viewers can clearly relate to the challenge of hanging out with your old college friends in the context of a new city, new lives. It’s a comedy, but the jokes don’t even have to be that good. Some of us have been waiting for this type of show since “St Elmo’s Fire.”
‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’
Critic score: 36%
Audience score: 74%
What critics said: After so much Marvel in recent years, critics complained this show felt more like “a spin-off” than its own entity, a “drab patch” in Marvel history and a significant step down in quality.
Reasons to love it: Come now! A telegenic, orphaned businessman returns to claim the family business after years in the wilderness, during which he somehow became a martial arts expert AND unrecognizable? Of course, it’s not going to be original – we’ve been here many times before, people, but that doesn’t make it bad. There’s nothing not to like, hence the impressive audience score, with viewers lapping up the familiar themes once more.