12 of the best and 12 of the worst Netflix originals that have come out this year, so far

12 of the best and 12 of the worst Netflix originals that have come out this year, so far
  • Netflix originals like "Heartstopper" and "Hustle" received praise from reviewers.

  • Critics weren't as impressed with films like "Purple Hearts," "The Bubble," and "Persuasion."

  • They also didn't love "Senior Year" and a few of Netflix's original rom-coms.

Critics loved the coming-of-age series "Heartstopper."

Kit Connor and Joe Locke Heartstopper
Kit Connor and Joe Locke on "Heartstopper."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Summary: Based on the graphic novel by Alice Oseman, "Heartstopper" follows shy student Charlie (Joe Locke) as he grapples with his feelings for star rugby player Nick (Kit Connor).

Critics seemingly had nothing but praise for the sweet and inclusive teen-romance series.

"At its core, 'Heartstopper' is a story about love and its wonderful, multifaceted, colorful shapes, and about challenging yourself as you navigate it," Federica Bocco wrote for Netflix Life.

"Mo" was hailed by reviewers as a charming blend of drama and comedy.

The cast of Mo sitting in court benches
The cast of "Mo."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Summary: Palestinian refugee Mo Najjar (Mohammed Amer) barely scrapes by in Texas as he seeks citizenship in the US and tries to support his family.

The show is loosely based on Amer's own experience, and reviewers said that "Mo" provides a meditative — and often humorous — insight into the daily struggles immigrants face.

"'Mo' is the real deal," wrote critic Graeme Tuckett for Stuff. "This is your new favorite Netflix show of the week. Promise."

Adam Sandler earned critical acclaim for his central role in "Hustle."

Adam Sandler sitting holding a coffee cup
Adam Sandler in "Hustle."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Summary: A basketball scout (Sandler) for the Philadelphia 76ers recruits a stellar player (Juancho Hernangómez) from Spain to breathe new life into his team.

After receiving acclaim for "Uncut Gems" in 2019, Sandler wowed critics once again with his performance in this sports drama.

"'Hustle' doesn't stray from common sports film clichés, but it's elevated by the sharp and sincere Adam Sandler, who turns in one of his best performances to date," Zoë Rose Bryant wrote for Loud and Clear Reviews.

"Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey" was praised for its unflinching look into a religious cult.

Four young women wearing Prairie dresses are shown standing in line when they were members of the Fundamental Church of the Latter-Day Saints.
"Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey" is a Netflix docuseries.Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

Summary: "Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey" traces Warren Jeffs' rise to power in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the scandals that emerged from the religion's unorthodox teachings.

Critics praised the docuseries for its thorough dissection of Jeffs' preachings and the many survivors left in his wake.

"Though the four-part series from director Rachel Dretzin is extremely hard to watch at times, the first-hand accounts from survivors are nothing short of awe-inspiring," Kristen Baldwin wrote for Entertainment Weekly.

Critics called "Vikings: Valhalla" a bloody, fun historical series.

vikings valhalla
Leo Suter on "Vikings: Valhalla."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Summary: This historical drama centers on famous Vikings Leif Erikson (Sam Corlett), Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson), and Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter) and their bloody triumphs.

Critics agreed the sequel series to the History Channel's "Vikings" would likely charm viewers who didn't mind suspending their disbelief.

In a review for LA Weekly, Erin Maxwell wrote that the show's "biography and butchery is good enough to hold the interest of folks who don't mind more fiction than facts in their historical dramas."

"The Sandman" adaptation earned high marks from critics.

dream and rose in the sandman. dream is a tall man in a floor-length black coat nd rose is a young woman in jeans and a brown jacket. they're walking together in a foggy graveyard
"The Sandman" is based on Neil Gaiman's comic book.Liam Daniel/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Summary: When a supernatural being called Dream (Tom Sturridge) returns after a century-long absence, he seeks out other cosmic entities on a path toward redemption.

The fantasy series, adapted from the comic book by Neil Gaiman, enthralled critics with its blend of fantasy, horror, and drama.

"On one hand it's a fantasy adventure story, on the other it's a philosophical pondering on the concept of dreams, lies, hope and destiny," Valerie Anne wrote for Autostraddle.

The series "All of Us Are Dead" kept critics coming back for more.

all of us are dead
The cast of "All of Us Are Dead."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Summary: In this South Korean horror series, high-school students band together as their school becomes the battleground of a zombie bloodbath.

Critics agreed that the apocalypse series was easy to binge.

"This 12-part South Korean Netflix series about zombies invading a high school is gruesome, thrilling, and highly addictive," Nick Schager wrote for the Daily Beast.

Critics called "Archive 81" a slow-burn sleeper hit.

Dina Shihabi as Melody Pendras in episode 105 of "Archive 81.".
Dina Shihabi on "Archive 81.".Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

Summary: Video archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) restores a collection of damaged tapes in an isolated research facility and tries to piece together the lost thesis of a dead graduate student (Dina Shihabi).

The dizzying horror series had critics glued to their screens throughout its eight-episode run.

"Jump-scares and quick hits of horror come from those elements, but the most unnerving parts of the series hinge on the deep dread of isolation," wrote Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya for Autostraddle.

Despite some story flaws, "Welcome to Eden" charmed critics.

The cast of welcome to eden holding onto blue towels
The cast of "Welcome to Eden."LUCIA FARAIG/NETFLIX

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%

Summary: Zoa (Amaia Aberasturi) and a group of twenty-somethings win an exclusive trip to a remote island, but she realizes she may never go home again.

Although critics said the Spanish-language series could have been more fleshed out, "Welcome to Eden" was still hailed as a thriller worth diving into.

"If you sit back and don't think about it too hard, 'Welcome to Eden' is classic binge material," Vicky Jessop wrote for the London Evening Standard. "The whole show has a dreamy, hypnotic, creepy feel to it, which makes it easy to devour one episode after another late into the night."

Reviewers said Neil Patrick Harris shines in the dramedy series "Uncoupled."

Neil Patrick Harris standing on the phone with a blue suit and briefcase
Neil Patrick Harris on "Uncoupled."SARAH SHATZ/NETFLIX

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%

Summary: Michael (Harris) dips his toe back into modern dating after his partner of 17 years leaves him out of the blue.

"Uncoupled" didn't win over everyone, but most reviewers were drawn to its sharp wit and surprising amount of warmth.

"Neil Patrick Harris is a totally engaging study of a lovable, lovelorn middle-aged man on the verge of either a new life or a complete nervous collapse," wrote critic Jim Schembri. "It's easily a career-topping performance."

"Murderville" was noted as a unique blend of improv, comedy, and intrigue.

Will Arnett and Conan O'Brien sitting at a desk in Murderville
Will Arnett and Conan O'Brien on "Murderville."DARREN MICHAELS/NETFLIX

Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%

Summary: In this semi-scripted, semi-improvised murder-mystery series, Will Arnett steps into the shoes of detective Terry Seattle and recruits a new partner every episode to solve a fictional crime.

Although some critics said the revolving door of guests could be hit-or-miss, most found the comedy endearing.

"No matter who is in the room with Arnett, they have to bring their A game, as Arnett is the master at playing these types of gravel-voiced fools," Richard Roeper wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Critics called "The Adam Project" a harmless, nostalgia kick.

Walker Scobell in a vest, Ryan Reynolds in a cream jacket
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell in "The Adam Project."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Summary: Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds) travels from the year 2050 back in time to save his wife, but mistakenly gets stranded in 2022 with his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell).

Despite leaning into some familiar storytelling tropes, "The Adam Project" earned points for its stellar ensemble cast.

"Ryan Reynolds leads an A-list cast in this 'Back to the Future' nostalgia trip that coasts down well-worn roads instead of paving new ones with fresh imagination," Peter Travers wrote for ABC News.

However, critics were largely left disappointed by the thriller "Spiderhead."

spiderhead
Chris Hemsworth in "Spiderhead."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 39%

Summary: Based on the short story by George Saunders, this psychological thriller centers on a group of test subjects who volunteer for a chemical study in the hopes of reducing their prison time.

"Spiderhead" boasts an all-star cast of actors like Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth, and Jurnee Smollett, but critics said the film failed to live up to its original source material.

"While Teller and Hemsworth have a lot of screen presence together, there's only so much you can do without a decent plot or script," James Luxford wrote for BBC Radio.

Reviewers spotted recycled jokes in "A Madea Homecoming."

A picture of Tyler Perry in "Tyler Perry's A Madea Homecoming."
Tyler Perry in "A Madea Homecoming."Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 36%

Summary: It's a family reunion for the ages when Madea's (Tyler Perry) great-grandson graduates from college in this slapstick comedy.

Despite the movie eliciting a few genuine laughs, critics questioned whether a 12th "Madea" installment was needed.

Critic Jackie K. Cooper said that the comedy had "moments that will make you laugh" but ultimately felt like it was "just a repeat of comic performances in other 'Madea' movies."

Even though "The Royal Treatment" was reviewed as cheesy fun, it was also entirely forgettable.

izzy cutting prince thomas' hair in the royal treatment on netflix
Mena Massoud and Laura Marano in "The Royal Treatment."Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 35%

Summary: Salon owner Isabella (Laura Marano) is stunned when she is asked to fly across the pond to do the hair and makeup for Prince Thomas' (Mena Massoud) royal wedding — and when she falls in love in the process.

Although "The Royal Treatment" was mostly received as harmless fun, critics said it paled in comparison to better romantic comedies.

"This warmhearted, well-intentioned movie is ultimately sabotaged by a lack of originality and a wacky hodgepodge of accents," Jennifer Green wrote for Common Sense Media.

Critics said "Purple Hearts" lacked chemistry and ingenuity.

cassie and luke getting married at city hall in purple hearts on netflix
Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine in "Purple Hearts."Mark Fellman/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 35%

Summary: In the romantic drama "Purple Hearts," songwriter Cassie (Sofia Carson) agrees to marry marine Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) for the military benefits, but neither expects to fall for each other.

Critics found little to like in the sappy, overly politicized romance.

"The film wallows in contrived plots and subplots, made worse by the dearth of chemistry between the two leads," Claire Shaffer wrote for The New York Times.

The series "God's Favorite Idiot" missed the mark with critics.

The cast of gods favorite idiot huddled around a laptop in an office
The cast of "God's Favorite Idiot."VINCE VALITUTTI/NETFLIX

Rotten Tomatoes score: 33%

Summary: Clark Thompson (Ben Falcone) unwittingly becomes a handpicked messenger for God amidst a larger battle between Heaven and Hell, all while navigating a new relationship with his coworker Amily (Melissa McCarthy).

Overall, critics felt like the ambitious comedy floundered upon execution.

Critic Wenlei Ma wrote, "'God's Favorite Idiot' is a series with no distinctive qualities, no personality, no purpose and it's screaming, 'No reason to watch.'"

The horror remake "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was lackluster in the eyes of critics.

A still from Netflix's Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The cast of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%

Summary: Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and her younger sister Lila (Elsie Fisher) bring their friends to a small town in Texas to start an idealistic business proposal, but things quickly turn gory as a legendary serial killer hunts them down one by one.

Critics claimed that the latest "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" entry was too nonsensical for its own good.

"For the love of Leatherface, leave this massacre alone once and for all. It's time to put the chainsaw down and walk away," David Fear wrote for Rolling Stone.

The romantic drama "Persuasion" fell flat with most critics.

A picture of Dakota Johnson in "Persuasion."
Dakota Johnson in "Persuasion."Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%

Summary: In a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion," Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson) gets a second chance at love when an unconventional bachelor returns to her life.

Many critics felt like "Persuasion" lacked the ingredients that make for a winning Austen adaptation.

"'Persuasion' at times seems embarrassed by its source material, or at least overeager to spruce it up for audiences that might not be able to handle a gentler pace," David Sims wrote for The Atlantic. "The result is harried and forgettable."

Critics were puzzled by "The Pentaverate."

Mike Myers and Lydia West standing on "The Pentaverate"
Mike Myers and Lydia West on "The Pentaverate."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 28%

Summary: Mike Myers stars as an array of characters in the comedy "The Pentaverate," but notably a Canadian journalist trying to uncover the truth behind a dark, secret society.

Many critics said that despite a few shining moments, the satirical series failed to impress.

In a review for Variety, Caroline Framke wrote that "the resulting show isn't good doesn't especially matter, in the end."

"Echoes" tested the patience of many reviewers.

Michelle Monaghan on Echoes sitting at table with hands clasped
Michelle Monaghan on "Echoes."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 25%

Summary: When her identical twin sister Leni goes missing, Gina (Michelle Monaghan) stops at nothing to expose the truth behind her disappearance.

Although critics praised Monaghan's central performance, they had less love for the story itself.

"The potential of 'Echoes' starts to drain before the premiere is even over as it gets goofier and goofier in a way that's not entertaining but frustrating," Brian Tallerico wrote for Roger Ebert.

Despite a solid central performance, the comedy "Senior Year" didn't impress.

stephanie in her red convertible in senior year
Rebel Wilson in "Senior Year."Boris Martin/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 24%

Summary: After waking up from a years-long coma, Stephanie (Rebel Wilson) tries to reclaim her popularity and complete her high-school education.

Lead actress Wilson gave it her all, but critics had a hard time sitting still for "Senior Year."

"The film chugs through its predictable beats with good humor, but there's not much else to recommend it," Kate Erbland wrote for IndieWire.

Critics said "The Bubble" paired a stellar cast with a disappointing script.

The cast of the bubble surrounding a bathtub
The cast of "The Bubble."Laura Radford/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 21%

Summary: During the pandemic, a cast and crew try to film a sequel to a CGI-filled franchise while COVID-19 restrictions run rampant.

Critics largely felt like the talented cast — including Leslie Mann, Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, David Duchovny, and Keegan-Michael Key — did their best to elevate a lackluster script.

In a review for the Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney called the film a "slapdash comedy with an embarrassment of misused talent."

The comedy "Me Time" left reviewers exhausted.

Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg in orange and blue tracksuits in "Me Time"
Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg in "Me Time."Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 7%

Summary: Alone for the first time in years, stay-at-home dad Sonny (Kevin Hart) reconnects with his old friend Huck (Mark Wahlberg) during a chaotic weekend.

The brazen comedy proved too crude, crass, and tiresome for most critics.

"A moderately decent enough way to kill an hour and 41 minutes but you might be better off spending your quality alone time a better way," critic Jeffrey Lyles wrote.

All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change. Netflix's originals generally consist of both content created by the streaming service and content exclusive to the platform

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