The new HBO series “The Idol” starring recording artist Abel Tesfaye (a.k.a. The Weeknd) and Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp is getting slammed for being too sexual and having no point.
“The Idol” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month. A synopsis of the TV-MA-rated series says, “After a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn’s last tour, she’s determined to claim her rightful status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America. Her passions are reignited by Tedros, a nightclub impresario with a sordid past. Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or the deepest, darkest, depths of her soul?”
It was co-created by Sam Levinson and Tesfaye, who set high expectations for the project. Levinson defended the excessive nudity and sex in the show, calling it “revolutionary,” but even leftist critics didn’t see the point. Levinson is also known for the provocative teen drama “Euphoria” on HBO.
“The Idol” currently has a 17% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Nasty, brutish, [feels] much longer than it is, and way, way worse than you’d have anticipated,” the Rolling Stone reviewer wrote of the new series.
“‘The Idol’ lacks the requisite self-awareness to be much of anything, really. It’s the extension of a music star’s misplaced self-belief of his potential movie star credentials. In short, it’s crude, gross, and sexist,” another reviewer wrote.
The London Evening Standard reviewer said, “The Idol” felt “more like sleaze and torture porn.”
Another reviewer agreed it was “grim, gross, and vulgar.”
“It’s full of preposterous recycled ideas and pornish sex that would be at home on HBO’s Cinemax, not the main HBO which we know loves Emmy awards,” that reviewer said.
A Collider reviewer said not only was the series graphic, it was also boring.
“What Levinson perceives as provocative and subversive is rather underwhelming. How can a show with so much nudity, sex, and eroticism be so bland?” she wrote.
A Rolling Stone report earlier this year said there was drama on set which included re-shoots and a “chaotic” working atmosphere. HBO issued a denial in March, shortly after these allegations went public.
Though reps admitted to the project being put on pause, they refuted some of the claims made in the Rolling Stone expose. “The initial approach on the show and production of the early episodes, unfortunately, did not meet HBO standards so we chose to make a change,” HBO wrote in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.
“Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative and mutually respectful working environment, and last year, the team made creative changes they felt were in the best interest of both the production and the cast and crew. We look forward to sharing The Idol with audiences soon,” the statement concluded.
“The Idol” will be available for streaming beginning June 4.