What Is Happening To HBO? Is The Idol Supposed To Be This Bad?

Although there have only been three episodes so far of HBO’s newest drama The Idol, the series, led by Sam Levinson and the Weeknd has already become the network’s least loved project. Following Lily-Rose Depp’s as vulnerable pop star, Jocelyn, the show delves into Jocelyn’s struggle to maintain her music career, grieving her abusive mother, and entering a problematic relationship with a local cult leader. All in all, the show received major criticism for its disturbing content even before it premiered, and now that it’s on-screen, the reviews have seemingly only gotten worse.


HBO is known for producing some of the best television of all time. From The Sopranos and The Wire to Game of Thrones and Succession, the network has proven that it understands what good television looks like, especially when it is hard-hitting, dramatic, and important. Unfortunately, taking on The Idol seems to be a major miss for the company, as the series rakes in more and more worrying critiques. The Idol earned abysmal reviews with a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been described by Vox as “shallowly written.” Worse than simply being deemed bad, The Idol has become controversial in its depictions of sex, fame, and abuse.

The Idol Is Terrible For HBO’s Prestige TV Reputation

The Weeknd embraces Lily-Rose Depp in The Idol

Overall, The Idol is a significant demerit against HBO. Despite owning some of the most popular and beloved media properties of all time, The Idol has garnered so much bad press that even HBO’s prestigious reputation could take a hit from it. In fact, even before the series aired it received plenty of negative talk. In particular, in March 2023 Rolling Stone published an article claiming that, one, the making of The Idol had been a disaster, and two, that the show itself was “torture porn.” All of this combined with the show’s worsening reviews each week creates a bad look for HBO.

Related: The Weeknd Is Hurting The Idol Beyond Repair

Furthermore, The Idol reflects on its cast and creators as well. The Idol was written and directed by Sam Levinson, who worked previously on the HBO hit, Euphoria. While Euphoria faced some criticism for its intense content including sex and drug abuse, it mostly maintained a positive reputation. However, with The Idol seeing so much backlash for the same issues, there’s a chance that Levinson may also find his reputation struggling. The same goes for The Idol’s cast including the Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp.

Why HBO’s The Idol Is So Bad

The Weeknd giving a deep stare in The Idol

There are various problems with HBO’s The Idol with the first and foremost being that many believe it is a poorly written show. Critics have noted that Levinson’s writing lacks depth and that it lacks the satire it originally advertised. Despite bringing up topics such as idol worship, relationships and fame, and abuse, the show doesn’t make any clear statements on these ideas. Furthermore, the show is criticized for its heavy reliance on sex, adding little to the plot. One interesting comment about The Idol is that it has the potential to be a good show, but hides that greatness behind confused, sex-infused plot lines instead.

The complaints around The Idol are seemingly endless at the moment, with only three episodes currently released. From the overwhelming amount of mature content to the Weeknd’s poor acting, the series has collected more haters than fans. However, there are some voices that still stand with the series, and the possibility of it saving its own reputation still exists. But, at this time, HBO has definitely put its money in the wrong place as The Idol seemingly gets worse and worse.

Sources: Vox, Rolling Stone

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