Netflix really decided to save the worst for last in 2023. Kidding, of course. But the latest Netflix original action series Obliterated premiered on Nov. 30, well after fellow hits like The Night Agent and FUBAR. Perhaps the last major new Netflix original series launch of the year, the action-comedy from the team behind Cobra Kai left something to be desired.
In the series, an elite team bands together to thwart a terrorist attack in Las Vegas, and after they believe they have successfully stopped the threat, they party in Sin City. However, they soon discover the bomb they stopped was a fake and the real one’s still at large. Through the haze of drugs and alcohol, the team has to prove their strengths to save the city.
Shelley Hennig and Nick Zano lead an excellent ensemble cast, but the cast and its incredible chemistry isn’t the issue with the series. It’s the overall tone and the complete misfire of its sense of humor. Obliterated feels directly ripped out of the 2000s, and that’s not a compliment. To some it’s definitely a fun throwback to the kinds of blockbuster action movies that we rented on VHS or watched on cable, but that feeling wears thin by the end of the first episode.
If you’re expecting something light and heartfelt like Cobra Kai, you’re in for something more aligned with the creators’ work on American Reunion and Harold & Kumar. The show is raunchy, violent, graphic, and full of gratuitous nudity. There are some humorous bits that work and others that can be just straight up gross. It’s no wonder critics are split with the show’s 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (Judging by the 79% audience score, viewers like it more.)
Your mileage may vary with Obliterated. To its credit, it’s not a boring show. You will be entertained by its fast pace and wild plot twists. Zano’s charming as the honestly hatable bro Chad McKnight, a performance and character that’s akin to a Brad Pitt action hero role. The real draw here is the instantly iconic Hennig, who proves that she has the talent to carry a show on her shoulders. It’s just a shame it’s not a better one but rather a crass adult animated sitcom come to life.
Written by Reed Gaudens