HBO's Latest Drama "Idol" Struggles to Impress Critics Despite Star-Studded Cast

Hollywood's highly anticipated new drama, "Idol," made its debut at this year's Cannes Film Festival, offering television critics a first glimpse into the much-talked-about series.

by Faruk Imamovic
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HBO's Latest Drama "Idol" Struggles to Impress Critics Despite Star-Studded Cast

Hollywood's highly anticipated new drama, "Idol," made its debut at this year's Cannes Film Festival, offering television critics a first glimpse into the much-talked-about series. Starring the multi-talented artist The Weeknd, the show promised a captivating storyline with a star-studded cast, including Lily-Rose Depp.

However, despite the initial hype, the first two episodes of "Idol" failed to impress, receiving lackluster reviews.

HBO's 'Idol' Falls Short Despite Star Power

The Weeknd takes on the role of Tedros, a charismatic nightclub manager and cult leader, whose life intersects with that of Jocelyn, a promising pop star portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp.

The premiere screenings at Cannes garnered a five-minute standing ovation, a testament to the star power of the cast and the show's potential. Yet, the applause soon gave way to disappointment as critics dissected the series.

With a meager 14 percent Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes, "Idol" finds itself in the company of films like "Fifty Shades of Grey," known for their lackluster reception. Rolling Stone film reviewer David Fear did not mince words in his scathing critique, stating, "It has mistaken misery for profundity, stock perversity for envelope-pushing, crude caricatures for sharp satire, toxicity for complexity, nipple shots for screen presence." His words paint a vivid picture of the disappointment felt by many who had high hopes for the show.

Challenges and Controversies Plague the Making of 'Idol'

Behind the scenes, "Idol" faced numerous hurdles during its production. Amy Seimetz, the original director, departed the project, leading to delays, rewrites, and reshoots.

Ultimately, the reins were taken over by Levinson himself, who rejected Seimetz's vision and shaped the series according to his own vision. The behind-the-scenes drama raises questions about the impact on the final product, perhaps contributing to its mixed reception.

Critics also took aim at the show's script, criticizing it for relying on tired clichés and overused tropes. Peter Debruge of Variety described it as a calculated attempt to deceive viewers into believing they were witnessing an insider's look into Hollywood, when, in reality, it fell back on tired plot devices reminiscent of Sidney Sheldon novels and pulp pornography.

Such criticisms underscore the lack of originality and depth that many anticipated from "Idol." Despite these setbacks, the series boasts an impressive ensemble cast. Alongside The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, viewers can expect to see talented actors such as Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Jane Adams, Jennie Ruby Jane, Mike Dean, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Ramsey, Suzanna Son, and Hank Azaria. Their performances may offer some redemption for the show, providing moments of brilliance amidst the narrative flaws.

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