“The Idol,” HBO’s new drama series, fails to live up to the excitement and quality of shows like “Succession” and “Barry.” Despite not being as bad as initial reports suggested, the premiere episode is plagued by boredom rather than offensiveness or production issues.
Created by Sam Levinson, known for “Euphoria,” and starring Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp, the show attempts to delve into the dark side of the music and entertainment industry but falls short. It relies heavily on tired clichés and stiff performances, lacking the provocative edge it aims to achieve.
Depp portrays Jocelyn, a pop star reminiscent of Britney Spears, who is trying to revive her career after a mysterious breakdown. The episode introduces Jocelyn’s various handlers and a public-relations crisis caused by a leaked private photo. However, these elements only serve as an extended teaser before Jocelyn encounters Tedros (Tesfaye), the owner of a club she visits.
Despite her assistant’s concerns about Tedros, Jocelyn invites him over and shares her unreleased single with him. This sets the stage for Tedros to manipulate her, urging her to explore her sexuality to enhance her singing.
It remains to be seen where “The Idol” will go from here, but based on the unimpressive first episode, it’s hard to envision the series becoming genuinely interesting. Unlike “Euphoria,” which fearlessly explores teenage sexuality with older actors, “The Idol” fails to capitalize on its glitzy backdrop to create an edgy or distinctive atmosphere.
HBO’s decision to withhold advance screenings for critics suggests the network’s attempt to prevent negative reviews before the show airs. However, avoiding criticism does not hide the fact that “The Idol” lacks the enjoyment and appeal it promises.
Ultimately, the series falls short of its goals and fails to provide an engaging and enjoyable viewing experience.