We are seeing a new series rise up the Top 10 charts on Netflix, surpassing both Love is Blind and The Night Agent, just shy of Beef, but it may be #1 soon. That would be Florida Man, using the meme of the same and it’s a limited series criminal caper starring Edgar Ramirez.
It also has a literal 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rarity, even for Netflix shows of questionable production. Fortunately, its audience scores are much higher, currently a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.6/10 on IMDB. It’s clearly attracting some level of audience due to its rise, so what exactly is going on here?
I’ve touched on this before, but I think part of this is an overall shortage of TV critics working today, as there are too many shows to cover and not enough critics to cover them. Florida Man, for instance, has just five critics contributing to that 0% score. Five critics for what may be the second most-watched show in the country right now, given Netflix’s reach.
Some of this may be bias toward different projects as well. Beef, for instance, a much more prestigious production from A24 on Netflix, now has 89 reviews in total to produce its 98% critic score. The Night Agent, one of Netflix’s biggest premieres ever for a series, but a somewhat schlocky spy show, has just 26 reviews producing its 77% score.
As for why there are not enough TV critics to go around, there are a few factors.
First, it’s harder to be a TV critic as opposed to a film critic. Not that the writing’s harder necessarily, but because there’s so much more to cover. Reviewing an individual film is sitting down and watching something for 2-2.5 hours. A “short” TV season review is probably four hours, eight 30 minute episodes, but a longer one might be 8-12 hours in total. Two or three times the commitment, and if it’s not a Netflix show, you have to review it week to week, usually.
Then there’s the market. There are probably more long-term established film critics than TV critics, and many people reviewing TV shows are probably freelancers looking to capitalize on the latest Google searches rather than dedicated TV show critics on staff for specific outlets. And even if they are on staff, there is simply just too much content to cover, with way, way more shows being produced than there are movies that need reviews. Most outlets do not have the budgets to pay either staff or freelancers to cover all these. In that sense, the industry is sort of broken.
As for Florida Man, I expect it will crawl up from 0% as a few more critics chime in, but for now, maybe audience scores are the better call.
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