Obsession Season 1 Review – Netflix at its mischievous worst

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3/5


TV shows and films that are inclined towards the erotica territory are generally looked down upon. Such is the ferocious increase in volume and subsequent decrease in quality that they often annoy viewers more than excite them. The French and other Europeans did it the best and the Americans came up to show how to make money from it.

While it is crude to judge a creation like Obsession solely on its presumed underlying intentions, one cannot resist giving in to the temptation. The new Netflix television series is an uninspired, crass, and vividly disturbing series about the titular emotion that turns into a form of toxic expression of love.

National sensation Dr William Farrow (Richard Armitage) leads a normal, boring British life with his family. His wife Ingrid and children Sally and Jay convene at Ingrid’s father Edward’s house for the weekend. They celebrate William’s achievements and Edward, who is a successful barrister, wants to introduce him to the parliament in hopes of securing an advisory position.

There is another thing about Jay’s girlfriend, Anna Barton. Jay wants the family to meet her so she decides to show up at the party where William has gone alone. And boy do they “meet” properly.

In just an instant of seeing each other, Anna and William begin a sordid affair. It is purely and bitingly carnal. Anna establishes ground rules for their meetings but as the “obsession” grows, the obedience to the rules declines, leading them on an ominous path of self-destruction. At just four episodes long, Obsession does not concern itself with any legitimate attempts to create a fully-realized cinematic universe for viewers.

The sole focus is on Anna and William, and specifically on how they “surrender” to each other’s obsession. That is surely a plan but without the support of a functioning narrative that progresses gradually, the excitement just does not last. The reason is that it is not something we experience, generally speaking, in our ordinary lives. The depiction is right from our deepest and most perverse fantasies. Once that materializes, its repetition makes it redundant. The taboo and erotic nature of their relationship can also be seen as a form of escapism for audiences who are looking for a break from their mundane lives.

We do not have any need for more of the same being spread across to cover most of the episode runtime, but that is what ends up happening. Obsession is still trending in many top 10s across the globe on Netflix and the reasons are obvious. Its explicit content and provocative themes have sparked curiosity. The most notable instances in mass media like Obsession in the past include 50 Shades of Grey and Sex/Life. They are more or less similar in their shape and form, even though they are not disingenuous creatively. Their cumulative success is a reflection of modern society’s changing attitudes towards sexuality and desire.

It suggests that people are becoming more comfortable with exploring and expressing their sexual desires and are open to discussing taboo subjects that were previously considered off-limits. It also indicates a growing desire for escapism and entertainment that is titillating and sensational, as people seek to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. Obsession is surely a worthy challenge for its target audience; the younger demographic that perhaps has those sordid inclinations.

However, it is crucial to approach and consume such works with a critical and thoughtful lens while acknowledging their flaws and problematic elements. Obsession has scarce artistic merit except for its wonderful central performers. Our hats must be tipped off to Charlie Murphy and Richard Armitage who do full justice to their bold portrayals. Murphy especially brings so much to Anna that you would think to give her a chance for retribution. Her immense theatrical training is exploited to the fullest through the use of close-ups and intimate settings.

Armitage aligns the nature of his performance with Murphy’s on most occasions and it is quite visible to conclude. We even saw Indira Verma give a decent impression of herself in the final episode when she got the chance. That is one department where Obsession deserves praise. If you have some time to spare and are browsing for something brief, slutty, and firmly grounded in escapism, Obsession will float your boat. But it embarrassingly loses significance and interest the longer it goes on.

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  • - 5/10

2 thoughts on “Obsession Season 1 Review – Netflix at its mischievous worst”

  1. A bluntly bad ridiculous piece of crap which seems to have been written thinking we are all dumb asses. Period.

  2. One of the most ridiculous Netflix series I’ve seen. The characters are one-dimension and the bad writing makes it laughable in a number of scenes. Could they have given the Richard Armitage character a few more lines? He seems to be catatonic for the entirely of the story. I get that he’s “obsessed” with this woman but surely the writers could have given him a little more depth –after all he’s a renown surgeon and obviously an intelligent guy. We never see him struggling with conscience or rethink the choices he’s making. I only finished it because I wanted to watch Anna and William get their just desserts.

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