Netflix has been treating us to delightful original films and series over the years, delivering excellent work across all genres. With its benevolent nature, it isn’t easy to keep up with all the films that Netflix begins streaming every month.
It can make the platform quite tricky to navigate. While we tend to go back to our comfort shows and films whenever we can, it is hard to ignore the new delights that grace the platform.
However, Netflix’s constant grind to produce new content and add a film or series almost every week is detrimental in many ways. Not only do they demonstrate poor quality Originals but also reinforce the concerns of auteurs like Martin Scorsese who worry about the kind of effect this could have on the future of cinema.
While Netflix has produced quite a few brilliant Netflix Original shows in 2021, namely Maid, Squid Game, Sex Education, The Chair, Young Royals and more, there have also been a huge number of let-downs this year.
If you are interested in having a bad-series-binge-marathon, here are the five worst Netflix Original series of 2021, ranked from bad to worst:
The 5 worst Netflix Original series of 2021
5. Pretty Smart – Jack Dolgen
Filled with Disney stars, including Emily Osment and Gregg Sulkin, the comedy series tries to ring in the nostalgia of 1990s sitcoms with a set laugh track but fails to induce a laugh out of us. Incredibly boring and forgettable, the forced chemistry among the actors makes us cringe a little as we endure this saccharine torture for ten thirty-minute-long episodes.
Ivy League college student is brutally dumped by her ex and moves in with her ditzy sister Claire and her three wacky roommates. Exuberant and loud, their personalities clash, and soon, they become a loving, dysfunctional family in the heart of Los Angeles.
4. Fate: The Winx Saga – Brian Young
Derived from the popular anime Winx Club, this series focuses on a magical boarding school named Aleea College in the Otherworld. A fairy who has fire powers, Bloom, enrols in this academy where she rooms with Stella, Aisha, Terra, and Musa to control the various elements of nature. The four friends help Bloom discover stories about her past amidst a growing threat of the ancient creatures, Burned Ones, returning to Otherworld, threatening to upstage the peace and sanctity.
The live-action remake of the popular anime failed to recreate the magic woven in by the source text. Although it tried to bring a refreshing perspective with teenage angst and drama in the backdrop, the writing could have been way better along with character development.
3. Tiger King 2– Rebecca Chaiklin, Eric Goode
After a record-breaking hit with the first season during the pandemic, Netflix surely wanted to capitalise on the situation with season two. However, it tanked due to the absence of the much-romanticised and much-coveted “hero” of the first season, Joe Exotic. The show also faced a lot of backlashes prior to its release from one of the main subjects, Carole Baskin, who refused to participate as she was enraged by the slander being meted out at her.
The second season seemed to be a completely unnecessary retelling of the story of Carole Baskin’s first husband’s mysterious disappearance. As usual, the real issue about animal rights and awareness about the exploitation of the environment and animals sit on the back burner. This was simply Netflix cashing in, and it reeked of plastic storytelling.
2. Sex/ Life – Stacy Rukeyser
In what could have been a raunchy thriller, Sex/Life was an utter mess. A suburban mother is bored of her goody-two-shoes husband. She fantasises about her ex-boyfriend and their torrid romance and soon finds herself at the crossroads of her current stability and her past rendezvous that threatens to destabilise everything that she has built.
Starring Sarah Shahi, Mike Vogel and Adam Demos, the only memorable scene in the film is the shower scene that led Demos to be identified as the “shower guy” for being anatomically blessed. Never have sex scenes seemed so hilarious and bizarre and been an instant turn-off instead of being erotic. A messy storyline fails to ring in the excitement and thrill and delivers a clumsy product that reeks of boredom.
1. Cowboy Bebop – Andre Nemec
In a pathetic adaptation of the eponymous 1990s anime, the series sees Spike Spiegel and his ragtag team of bounty hunters, namely Faye Valentine and Jet Black, engage in interstellar travel as they pursue some dangerous adversaries while dealing with past trauma of their own. Starring John Cho, Daniella Pineda and Mustafa Shakir, we officially crown Cowboy Bebop as the worst-ever Netflix Original series of 2021.
Imagine casting Harold from Harold & Kumar as one of the coolest characters in the history of anime. Yes, that is exactly what Netflix did with the live-action adaptation of one of the most popular and genre-defining anime from the 90s. Besides retaining the cool and iconic jazz soundtrack from the original, the live-action remake was a disaster. Colourless, bland and boring, it is the kind of series that deserves little to zero attention. We’re glad that any plans for renewal for a potential season two have been scrapped.