With a huge back catalogue of films and TV shows to choose from, deciding what to watch next can be half the struggle for Netflix subscribers.
While the streaming service has produced its fair number of hits and award nominees, there are naturally going to be some duds along the way. For every Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Queen’s Gambit or Call My Agent!, you could find yourself watching poorly received recent additions such as Capone and Behind Her Eyes.
So with the platform’s library of original and archive content growing every week and the gems getting harder to find, we asked our readers, writers and reviewers what some of the worst content on Netflix is.
Here’s a list of 15 films and shows to avoid – you can thank us later...
Death to 2020
Death to 2020 had all the signs of being great: Charlie Brooker returning to political satire, an impressive team of young comedy writers, an all-star cast including Hugh Grant and Samuel L Jackson. Yet something went wrong, and this rare miss for the Black Mirror creator was torn apart by critics and fans, who called it a “disappointing” watch last Christmas. In The Independent’s one-star review, Ed Cumming said the one-off special was “a mess” that “can’t make up its mind whether it is for a British audience or an American one”.
A recent addition to Netflix’s library, this film starring Tom Hardy as gangster Al Capone in his later stages of life doesn’t sound that terrible on paper. However, it has been widely panned on social media, with Netflix users branding the film “terrible” and one calling it “arguably one of the s***test films I’ve ever seen”. Ouch.
Debuting on Netflix last year, Polish thriller365 Days was widely criticised, with many social media users accusing it of “glamourising rape culture” in telling the story of a woman who falls in love with her kidnapper and rapist. Netflix refused to remove the film, despite nearly 95,000 people signing a petition calling for it to go after it became a TikTok meme about sexual violence. Grim and one to definitely avoid.
Emily in Paris
Many of you named Emily in Paris as number one on your avoid list, and it’s not hard to see why. Near-unanimously condemned by critics, the Lily Collins-led series about an American expat living in Paris was somehow made even more offensive after being nominated twice (TWICE!) at this year’s Golden Globes. Still, at least it spawned some great reviews; in his one-star slating of the show, The Independent’s critic Ed Cumming said that it should be avoided by anyone who is French, has been to France or has ever “eaten a croissant”.
Written, directed and starring Jeff Garlin, comedy whodunnit Handsome is another film readers told us to give a miss. While the cast – including Natasha Lyonne, Amy Sedaris, Leah Remini – is impressive, the film is rated just 31 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics generally said that Handsome was incoherent and had few laughs, with Film School Rejects’Jacob Oller writing: “Jeff Garlin’s lethargic detective movie shows Netflix will buy any comedy zombie.”
Sierra Burgess is a Loser
Over the years, Netflix has become known for its teen romcoms, but not all can sadly be as well received as the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. Clearly trying to follow in its footsteps (both star the same male lead, Noah Centineo), 2018’s Sierra Burgess is a Loser tries to be an endearing story about loving someone for their personality, but instead comes across as clichéd and has some seriously warped moral values about catfishing.
Teen drama Riverdale has a large group of long-time watchers and also a lot of critics – often they’re the same people. Set in the Archie comic universe, this high-school mystery series is mostly known now for getting more and more implausible as the show goes on. “Riverdale was good for the first two seasons then went to absolute hell in a handcart,” one reader told us. Or as Twitter user Jodie put it: “Riverdale.. just don’t... don’t.”
The Last Airbender
Making a live-action adaptation of an animated series as popular as Avatar: The Last Airbender was always going to be tricky, but even with M Night Shyamalan at the helm, this 2010 film managed to get basically everything wrong. Disavowed by fans, critics and everyone in between, The Last Airbender is generally considered to be one of the worst films ever made. Fortunately, Netflix has both the original animated series and The Legend of Korra, so skip the film and go for those instead.
The Ridiculous 6
One of Adam Sandler’s many Netflix movies, this spoof western was branded “unwatchable” by critics. Hastily put together with some dodgy CGI, the movie co-stars Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner and Luke Wilson and most of its jokes revolve around donkey excrement. One to miss, we reckon.
Nope, not the US spin-off of Channel 4’s reality TV series. This 2017 film stars Tom Hanks and Emma Watson as employees at a mysterious tech company, but was taken apart by critics for its repetitiveness and lack of originality. “The Circle. Just watched it on Netflix. It has Tom Hanks and Emma Watson and is SO BAD,” one tweet reads.
The Kissing Booth
Another teen romcom, this film starring Joey King, Jacob Elordi, and Joel Courtney was lambasted at the time of release for being both clichéd and misogynistic. Somehow, it ended up with a sequel, which The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey gave the glowing review of being “not as aggressively problematic as its predecessor, at least”, and a third film is on its way later this year. God help us all.
The third instalment in the Cloverfield franchise was a surprise release from Netflix in 2018. However, it failed to live up to its trilogy predecessors with The Independent’s Jacob Stolworthy writing: “This latest entry has turned the once-burgeoning series into a sham.” Stick to the first two films, we say.
Behind Her Eyes
Based on Sarah Pinborough’s 2017 novel, Behind Her Eyes initially seems to fit into the tense relationship thriller mould we’ve come to expect from Netflix dramas. But the show was described by The Independent’s Annabel Nugent as being both boring and bizarre, slogging along to a point where even its ridiculous ending (if you know, you know) couldn’t save it.
You vs The Wild
Remember when Netflix was trialling its choose-your-own-adventure software and we all thought it would be the next big thing? One such project was Bear Grylls’s bizarre show You vs The Wild – described by one of our readers as “total trash” – in which viewers choose Gryll’s fate as he battles against the elements. “Not sure if he pitched it as a comedy but I for one spent most of it laughing hysterically at its nonsense,” one Twitter user told us.
Considered to be Netflix’s first blockbuster, Bright is an action movie featuring Will Smith, magical creatures and Joel Edgerton as an orc police officer that thoroughly underwhelmed on release, with IndieWire’s David Ehrlich calling it the worst film of 2017. We’d recommend you avoid, although wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t – for some reason it’s one of Netflix’s most streamed movies ever.