Episode 1 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 1/5
Imagine the scene. You’ve just won £100,000. You’ve got a great house, two kids and everything you could possibly ask for. Life’s great right? Now imagine if someone came along and offered a 50/50 gamble on that life, with the possibility of losing everything but the added bonus of a little more excitement.
This is basically the premise for Netflix’s new show Sex/Life; 2021’s worst TV show. Now, just to preface this series isn’t the worst for its acting or editing. Where the show slips up is with its premise and story which are both tonally confusing and incredibly damaging for men and women everywhere.
Now, before we dive into that let’s at least look at the positives. Sex/Life has a great soundtrack and the cast at the helm of this do a great job complementing that during the show’s numerous steamy sex scenes. There’s plenty of that too, with the scenes gorgeously shot in neon lights or warm, inviting colours.
This is undeniably a pretty show and Sex/Life knows this, doing everything it can to show off the talented crew behind the scenes.
All of this accounts for nothing though when you look at the story. At the center off this is Billie, a middle-aged woman who’s very clearly going through a midlife crisis. She has two kids, Hudson and Ellary, and a loving husband in Cooper. He does everything he can to make the marriage work, although he’s less passionate than he was before on account of his busy job. Well, Billie’s not happy with that.
Longing for passion and steamy sex, Billie finds herself obsessing about her bad boy ex Brad from 8 years prior. He’s a serial cheater, a pretty insensitive guy at times but he does have a giant…heart. This shallow no-contest is then dragged out across the season, managing to actually bring things together nicely by the end… only to topple this house of cards in the most spectacular own goal of the year.
The whole show plays up Billie’s choice like it’s incredibly difficult to make, peppering in flashbacks that only reinforce that she’s longing for lust not love from Brad.
It also doesn’t help that the kids are left as uncomfortable casualties in the midst of all this drama. There’s one scene late on where the couple attend Hudson’s school for an event but end up airing their dirty laundry in front of everyone. It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable to watch and hard not to feel bad for the kids who deserve better.
The contrived drama obviously comes thick and fast, with Cooper and Billie both given opportunities to cheat across the episodes, some more contrived than others. Instead of watching with interest though, you’ll likely be rage-watching to see if either of them break their marriage vows and destroy this happy family.
It’s hard not to talk about the ending here but suffice to say, the message this gives out to men and women everywhere is nothing short of disgusting. It’s a vile, insipid final scene that distorts what should be a shocking and unsettling moment into some sort of empowering feminine symbol – especially if the choice of song is anything to go by.
Sex/Life is not worth wasting your time with. If you’re in this for the sex scenes, just make love to your partner or watch porn instead. If you’re in it for the storyline, you won’t find anything worth watching here. Character development? No chance. But hey, at least the scenes are shot well and the actors do a good job. That’s got to account for at least a few points right?
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Verdict - 2/10
7 thoughts on “Sex/Life – Netflix Season 1 Review”
Thor Manderlay—your comments are on the mark to me! Agree with all you wrote. Thanks!
… shows like this have an awkward time because what they are, they have to be in order to advance a storyline through continuing-episodes-seasons … morality keeps getting bent, until the season ends at its final-breaking-point-cliffhanger
… that IMDb has to date 22K ratings with a median-rating of ‘6’ .. with 15% rating it ’10’.. while 16% say it’s a ‘1’ … gives indication how divided we are as a society when comes to ‘marriage-vows’ … and why over a third of marriages end in divorce
… if-when there’s an S2, it will be interesting to see how all-plays-out… as there’s LOTS-of-choices all-in-this-‘threesome’ could pursue
I can’t agree with you more , this show is the most toxic show i have ever watched in my life , it’s a bad example for every man and women in the world
I’m willing to agree that this series tackles the cliche of the long lasting, “boring” and “unexciting” marriage. I also think the acting, sound and settings are well made. Although, when it comes to the final message, the series unfortunately falls short. You got the point all along, focusing on the women’s lives and desires, and in a way encouraging them to embrace the them, but unfortunately it ends up putting words in your mouth and sending a rather vile, and counter productive final message.
Thanks for commenting, really appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts. In terms of character problems, this review is a spoiler-free piece however our episode 8 recap dives in deeply with the characters and the flaws we perceived them to have. For spoiler purposes, we didn’t want to divulge those within this review.
I absolutely agree with you that the acting and soundtrack are both good, however the writing is subjective at best. In terms of the narrative around content housewives, that’s far from what we were trying to capture within the review so I do apologize if any part of it gave you that impression.
Women should be empowered and portrayed as strong, and we’ve championed plenty of shows and movies over the years that have done that. However, having an affair, cheating, lying and neglecting ones own children don’t feel like virtuous traits we’d want in a protagonist to look up to.
Now, if Sarah had a character arc that learned from this and came out a better person at the end then that would make the journey more understandable. As outlined above, the final 5 minutes score a spectacular own goal and send the complete wrong message. Again, for spoiler purposes I won’t write that here.
Of course, all media is subjective and there are great reviewers and critics out there who enjoyed the show.
Within this review I tried to be fair, highlighting the good elements (acting, set design, soundtrack) while pointing out the flaws (story, plot, character development) with specific examples referenced to each.
Really appreciate the comment and reading the review though, I’m glad you enjoyed the series!
Sorry, but this review seems to have been written by a close-minded, prejudiced hypocrite. No real engagement with the actual problems discussed and with the characters. Like so many judgmental people out there who seem to be stuck in their narrative of ‘women have to be content (house)wives once children are on the scene, and forget/surpress any physical needs and urges they may have. That is precisely the recipe that leads to so many miserable marriages, full of resentment and bitterness. This series is, in my opinion, very important as it dares to tackle this dilemma head on. And it does so in a mostly very hones and intelligent way, giving each character the depth & complexity needed to understand them. Acting, writing, directing & soundtrack all are very good, with Sarah Shahi especially a standout. I’d say that far from being a time waster, this should be watched by as many people as possible. It may make you feel uncomfortable, you may not like choices being made, but that is all part of the discussion!
Absolutely right. Frankly, Don’t even bother watching this. I understand that this is “Just a TV Show”, but still has the potential to break and destroy happy marriages and lives. Have no idea how Netflix actually decided to stream this.