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New HBO Series Has an Abysmal Rotten Tomatoes Score

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Ahead of the show’s premiere this summer, HBO’s new TV series The Idol made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The new series from Euphoria‘s Sam Levinson and Grammy-winner The Weeknd is now taking a thorough lashing with the first reviews. Currently, with just 11 reviews submitted so far, HBO’s The Idol has a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As of this writing the series is the only one in HBO history with a single digit approval rating, but this gives it the distinction of being the lowest-rated HBO original series of all-time. More reviews likely will be published but right now things are not looking good for the show.

Giving the score a “D” grade, Collider asks, “How can a show with so much nudity, sex, and eroticism be so bland?” The London Evening Standard says the series “feels more like sleaze and torture porn” with Rolling Stone calling it “Way worse than you’d have anticipated”. The Daily Telegraph puts a cherry on top of the dog pile, writing: “Even the music is dreadful.” The sole positive review for the series comes via Vanity Fair, who write: “The Idol offers up enough regular old entertainment to balance out his aggressive flourish and the bluster of his thematic ambitions.” Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus for the series reads: “Every bit as florid and sleazy as the industry it seeks to satirize, The Idol places itself on a pedestal with unbridled style but wilts under the spotlight.”


What is The Idol about?

The Idol focuses on Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), an aspiring pop idol who, after having a nervous breakdown that causes her last tour to be canceled, resolves to reclaim her title as the sexiest pop star in America and begins a complex relationship with Tedros (Tesfaye), a self-help guru and the head of a contemporary cult.

“Abel came to us with a pitch,” Levinson recalled in a recent interview with W Magazine. “He said something that I’ll always remember: ‘If I wanted to start a cult, I could.’ What he meant is that his fans were so loyal and devoted that they would follow him anywhere. That was the germ of the idea for The Idol: what happens when a pop star falls for the wrong guy and no one speaks up.”  

The series also stars Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Jennie Ruby Jane, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott, Hari Nef, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Dean, Ramsey, and Hank Azaria.

The Idol is set to premiere on HBO on Sunday, June 4th, with episodes also streaming on Max. If you haven’t signed up for Max yet, you can do so here.

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