Netflix’s newly released docudrama, ‘Queen Cleopatra’, seems to have hit a record low, scoring a mere 2% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This staggering disapproval may make it the worst-reviewed show in TV history.
The streaming giant has recently faced criticism for cancelling popular shows after just one season, but ‘Queen Cleopatra’ may not face the same fate. The show narrates the legendary tale of Cleopatra, charting her rise and fall as one of the last pharaohs of the Egyptian dynasty.
Despite the compelling subject matter, the series has been widely criticized by both reviewers and audiences. Its lowly 11% approval rating from critics underscores the extent of the disapproval. However, one factor beyond the quality of the show appears to be contributing to the negative reception.
The casting of Black actress Adele James as Cleopatra has sparked controversy, particularly among viewers in Egypt. Critics argue that this casting choice lacks historical accuracy, as there’s no credible evidence that Cleopatra was Black. The historical consensus suggests that Cleopatra was of Macedonian Greek descent.
This controversy has led some to attribute the poor reviews to review-bombing. However, critics have also been highly critical of the series, with many describing the acting and production quality as reminiscent of a ‘soap opera’.
Audiences have echoed these sentiments. Several fan reviews have dubbed it “a rather incoherent and uninteresting show”. While some concede that the acting was passable, many complain that the story is “just slow and dreadful”.
Given the unprecedented low ratings, if Netflix decides to cancel the show, a significant backlash is unlikely. Currently, ‘Queen Cleopatra’ sits at #6 in Netflix’s Top 10 list, but it has not climbed significantly higher since its release.
With over a thousand reviews in, the series has set a new low, not just for Netflix but possibly for TV history. For comparison, Netflix’s now-cancelled ‘Resident Evil’ adaptation had previously scored a low audience score of 26%. Even other high profile misses like ‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ with 73%, ‘Space Force’ with 77%, ‘Haters Back Off’ with 76%, and ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ with 39% look positively received by comparison.
The strikingly low 2% audience score is, even considering the show’s controversy, bordering on the mathematically impossible. It sets a precedent that Netflix and the wider industry will undoubtedly want to avoid in future productions. As the dust settles on the ‘Queen Cleopatra’ debacle, questions remain on how Netflix will respond to this unprecedented critical failure.