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The Acolyte creator has a perfect response to review bombing

Published Jul 5th, 2024 10:25AM EDT
Osha (Amandla Stenberg) in a scene from The Acolyte.
Image: Lucasfilm

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If you read my Acolyte review of the first four episodes, you know I was not blown away by the new live-action Disney+ Star Wars series. I did my best to provide constructive feedback about what did and didn’t work for me, but some viewers prefer to use blunt instruments instead of scalpels when it comes to criticizing content they don’t like.

More specifically, toxic fans are increasingly turning to review bombing in order to express their displeasure with shows and movies they despise. Look no further than Rotten Tomatoes, where The Acolyte’s respectable 83% on the Tomatometer is paired with its putrid 14% audience score. There is nothing wrong with disliking this show — remember, I don’t like it either! — but it’s hard to overstate what a waste of time review bombing is.

If you need proof of that, check out The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland’s recent interview with Collider. The publication asked her about whether or not there are conversations about review bombing behind the scenes when there are coordinated efforts like this.

“Oh, yes.” Headland admitted to Collider. “Everybody knows what review bombing is like. Truly when the show first came out, my publicist was like, “OK, with the review…” I was like, “Does anybody take that seriously anymore?”

If you think roasting a TV show on every site with an audience score is going to have an impact on that show’s future, you need to reevaluate how you spend your time. Virtually every TV show or movie in an established franchise that tries to make any drastic changes or include new kinds of characters is inevitably going to get raked over the coals by thousands of angry fans.

“I understand the point of it,” Headland explained, “which is that the average viewer would look at the site and say, “Oh, the user review is really low.” But I think that, if you’re in the Star Wars fandom, I think you already know what review bombing is.”

It’s the boy who cried wolf all over again. There’s nothing of value to gain from audience scores when you can predict them before the show even debuts.

The penultimate episode of The Acolyte premieres on Disney+ on Tuesday, July 9.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.