Netflix’s New Series Hit With The Lowest Score In Company History

Neflix's Queen Cleopatra has a horribly low Rotten Tomatoes score, including a 1 percent audience rating.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

netflix cleopatra
From Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra

For Netflix, it’s never been a big challenge to dominate the charts with a new series. From Orange is the New Black to Stranger Things to Ozark and Squid Game, the streamer has never been at a loss when it comes to bringing fans their new favorite binge. Unfortunately, it seems they’ve finally landed a major miss as the platform’s latest original, Queen Cleopatra is being widely panned by both audiences and critics with the former slapping it with a 1 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, in part due to review bombing.

The second team-up between Netflix and Jada Pinkett Smith in the producer’s African Queens franchise, Queen Cleopatra is the follow-up to African Queens: Njinga which hit screens back in February. The first installment, which performed much better with both critics and audiences, followed a dramatized telling of the true story of Queen Njinga of Angola during her rise to the throne and the hardships she faced with her own family as enemies. 

In Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra, audiences follow the titular and legendary Queen as she battles opposing forces who would see her and her family removed from the throne and wiped from history. Many critics and audiences have slammed the new title for its historical inaccuracies and claim that it takes more of a dramatized turn than what actually happened to the royal. Along with the story not being historically accurate, many Egyptians are up in arms about the casting of the titular Queen as she’s portrayed by Adele James, a black woman, which has led to a conversation about the true ethnicity of the historical figure.

It seems likely the controversy over her skin color has a lot to do with the review bombing effort.

Others have said that the show moves too slowly with a handful of other naysayers commenting on lackluster performances. This is a staunch contrast to Netflix’s African Queens: Njinga which was widely praised for both its performances and storyline. With the first season of Queen Cleopatra now in the books, it’s unclear how the streamer will move forward with future installments. 

netflix cleopatra

As for the argument of the Queen’s true ethnicity, this has been a debate in Hollywood for decades as the infamous figure’s real-life story is one filled with mystery, sensuality, and power – the perfect triad for an on-screen telling. Just last month, Netflix took to their Tudum site to get the jump-start on what they knew would turn out to be a debated subject when Queen Cleopatra landed on the streamer. In a statement, their PR person said that they didn’t want to make the character’s ethnicity the main “focus” of the series and instead, tried “to depict her of mixed ethnicity to reflect theories about Cleopatra’s possible Egyptian ancestry.”Although they gave it their best, Netflix is finding itself at the center of a bad review storm when it comes to how audiences and critics received Queen Cleopatra.

With Jada Pinkett Smith’s name attached to the production team, and the overall success and open arms that the first season was welcomed with, it seemed a sure thing that a series about one of the most notable figures in history would have also been a ratings hit. Unfortunately, you never know what will be a winner with audiences these days but with a slew of titles coming out this year including FUBAR, The Three-Body Problem, and The Fall of the House of Usher, we’re sure the streamer will be back on its feet in no time.