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Netflix’s wacky new series Obliterated is splitting critics and viewers

Updated Dec 5th, 2023 1:27PM EST
Obliterated on Netflix
Image: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

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In Obliterated, the silly and shamelessly outlandish new Netflix series from the creators of Cobra Kai, a team of elite special forces operatives decides to get hammered after saving Las Vegas. It feels appropriate, in a way — save Sin City, and you ought to be entitled to a night of booze, sex, and general debauchery, right? The problem, though, comes when the team learns that the bomb they deactivated was actually a fake, and now the clock is ticking for them to save Las Vegas for real this time. Only, they have to do so while under the influence, or the whole city will be — you guessed it! — obliterated.

That all sounds straightforward enough, but let it be known that this newly released Netflix series (currently #2 on the streamer in the US) is so completely unhinged that it’s seriously dividing critics and viewers. As of this writing, Obliterated has a pretty solid 79% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes — and a terrible 47% critics’ score on the review site. We’ll get into why that’s the case, plus all the other key details about the series, below.

Obliterated on Netflix
A camel watches two people hook up during Netflix’s “Obliterated.” And that’s not even the craziest moment of the series. Image source: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

What to know: In Obliterated, the eight episodes of which were filmed in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, the special forces team must find and detonate a nuclear device.

“There’s only a short window of time to find the bomb, and as the clock ticks, our team must overcome deadly forces working against them … as well as overcome the massive amounts of alcohol and other substances that are in their system,” executive producer, director, and co-showrunner Hayden Schlossberg says in a promotional interview with the streaming giant, which describes the series as a cross between The Hangover and 24.

Obliterated on Netflix
Kimi Rutledge as Maya Lerner in “Obliterated.” Image source: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

Adds Schlossberg’s fellow executive producer, director, and co-showrunner Josh Heald: “Even if you’re the so-called best of the best, you’re gonna be way up against it if called back into action with a system full of liquor and drugs. Our team deals with every conceivable self-imposed obstacle as a result of accidentally partying before the mission is over.” The mission, he continues, is “way more difficult when contending with blurred vision, poor brain processing, decreased coordination, nausea, hunger, thirst, and bladder control.”

Who’s in it: The cast includes —

  • Shelley Hennig as Ava Winters, an “intelligence badass”
  • Nick Zano, as Navy Seal Chad McKnight
  • Terrence Terrell as Trunk, a Navy SEAL and Chad’s wingman
  • Paola Lázaro as Marine sniper Angela Gomez
  • Kimi Rutledge as NSA tech expert Maya Lerner
  • Eugene Kim as Air Force pilot Paul Yung
  • C. Thomas Howell as Army explosives technician Hagerty
  • and Alyson Gorske as Lana, “a Vegas party girl who gets swept up in the mission.”

Why it’s worth watching: Streamers like Netflix are obviously chock-full of generic “save the world from a ticking bomb” action movies and TV shows. If anything, the creators of Cobra Kai have already shown us that they know how to have fun — as well as how to addict us with fantastic storytelling. I’m looking forward to Obliterated for the same reason I loved a comedy like the recently released Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.

Obliterated on Netflix
Terrence Terrell as Trunk in “Obliterated.”

You can never have too many Netflix series that don’t take themselves too seriously while, at the same time, they’re taking you on an adventure-filled ride.

Critics will hate almost everything about it: Having said all that, the things about this Netflix series that I think will make it a wildly entertaining ride for some viewers are the very things that will (and are) turning off many critics. Obliterated is over-the-top, utterly ridiculous, and filled with the kind of insanity that some critics are whining is “unwatchable.” We’re talking things like a camel watching people hook up; bad guys getting beaten unconscious with a steak; and a military pilot getting high on mushrooms, hallucinating a gremlin, and subsequently crashing his helicopter.

Obliterated is not a great Netflix series. But if you’re looking for raunchy and deranged, then you’ve got yourself a winner. Check out a trailer for the new series below.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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