The Idol’s Abysmal Reviews Give HBO Its Worst Record Yet

admin2021May 25, 2023

Early unfavorable reviews of The Idol mark a new low for the troubled HBO platform. The prestigious network and streaming platform has been celebrated for its phenomenal television lineup, delivering numerous Emmy-winning shows throughout the modern century. From immersive dramas like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos to hilarious comedies such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Veep, it is an extreme rarity when HBO produces a dud of a TV series. In that category, The Idol takes the cake.


Currently, The Idol has the worst Rotten Tomatoes score for an HBO drama series ever made at 27%. It debuted at an all-time low for any HBO series at a staggering 17% before slightly boosting up. The Idol made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it revealed its first two episodes. Critics bashed the uninspired Sam Levinson project for its exploitative sleaziness that borders on blatant pornography. One critic asked, “How can a show with so much nudity, sex, and eroticism be so bland?” (via Collider).

RELATED: 5 Big Ways The Idol Will Be Different From Euphoria

The Idol’s Poor Reviews Make It HBO’s Lowest-Rated Drama Series

Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn in The Idol

Even after its 10-point percentage bump on Rotten Tomatoes, the poor early reviews of The Idol make it HBO’s lowest-rated drama series ever. The Idol is scheduled to take over the exclusive Sunday night primetime slot on HBO following the series finale of Succession. Before Succession, The Last of Us and The White Lotus held that honorable rank. Levinson’s other HBO series Euphoria remains one of HBO’s most popular and acclaimed shows with a current 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Other shows that lie at the pit of HBO’s content pool include the 2001 office comedy The Mind of The Married Man which sits at 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. Somehow, ironically, that show was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 despite being the lowest-rated HBO show of all time. The Idol comes in a close second, followed by 2022’s The Time Traveler’s Wife at 38%, 2021’s The Nevers at 49%, 2020’s Coastal Elites at 57%, and 2007’s John From Cincinnati at 58%.

Why The Idol’s Poor Reviews Aren’t Surprising

Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn dancing in The Idol trailer

The poor reviews of The Idol are not surprising considering the controversy that has swelled around the series long before it premiered. An in-depth report also exposed several ethical issues with the controversial development and production of The Idol and Sam Levinson’s disorganized directing strategies. The show that had originally intended to satirize the promiscuity of the entertainment industry ended up embellishing most of its corrupt qualities.

According to reports, many crew members were disappointed with the chaotic production schedule and blamed Levinson’s frantic approach. Levinson appeared to have a particular hold on HBO due to the success of Euphoria that the initial director of The Idol, Amy Seimetz, couldn’t utilize. Many believe that Seimetz was pushed out of the production despite her strong understanding of the original vision for The Idolˆas a critique of Hollywood. With so much disorder and conflict behind-the-scenes of The Idol, it’s unsurprising that it’s currently the lowest-rated original drama series in HBO’s existence.

Sources: Collider

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