Some shows are just critic-proof: no matter how negative the reviews, people fall in love with them. A list of critic-proof shows might include Baywatch, Big Bang Theory, Miranda or – ugh – Mrs Brown's Boys, and it looks like there's a new addition: First Kill, Netflix's new teen vampire show. Despite some pretty awful reviews it's rocketed to second place in Netflix's charts.
I know what you're thinking. How could anybody dislike a fun series featuring teen lesbian vampires? But many critics do, and the show has a disappointing 57% on Rotten Tomatoes from the critics compared to 92% from audience reviews.
The problem, it seems, is that for the critics it's just not teen lesbian vampire enough. Decider felt that it could have been "a fun teen supernatural series" but that clumsy storytelling lets it down; Variety reckons it "feels more like an uncanny valley version of what it’s attempting to be rather than a worthwhile story all its own" and TV guide says "It's not a good show, but it does have a good message: Love is love. Netflix is releasing this during Pride Month for a reason."
And that seems to be resonating: First Kill's heart, and quite a few people's necks, is in the right place.
Why First Kill seems critic-proof
I like to think of some shows as cheeseburgers: you know they're not necessarily made from the best ingredients, but they're fun and life-affirming in moderation. Many of my very favourite shows have been cheeseburgers: it's the cheese that makes them so much fun. And that's the vibe I'm getting from First Kill. The reviewers aren't criticising the performances or the stories; they're just not convinced the writing's as good as it could be. So if you switch off your analytical mind and just go with it, it's fast food for the soul. You can watch It's A Sin and have a cry some other time.
That's certainly what the audience reviews are saying. "This show was everything I was hoping it would be. Think The Vampire Diaries but make it lesbians," says Kathryn M. "It's fun, it has lesbians, no homophobia present, no coming out stories, interesting family dynamics, campy cgi, nice vampire lore," adds Arianna T.
I'm with Maya S and Molly D: "yes it's low budget, cheesy, corny, etc etc... but us lesbians deserve some fun trashy tv too, not just stories where our representation gets swept under the rug or killed off," says Maya, while Molly says it's incredible because "lesbians deserve cute, cheesy TV shows too!" She's right. We do.