Read more: Why is The Idol so controversial?
Directed by Sam Levinson, the show stars Lily-Rose Depp as rising popstar Jocelyn who is trying to get her career back on track after a death in the family led to a breakdown.
As she does so she meets nightclub owner Tedros (Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd) who introduces her into a dark world.
The show was marred by controversy long before it came out, and viewers had the chance to come to their own conclusions about the show when it premiered on HBO and Sky Atlantic – several of which shared their opinion on the programme on social media.
What did viewers think of The Idol?
Comparing the new show to Succession and other HBO hits like The Last of Us, one person wrote: "hbo sundays going from succession to the idol has got to be one of the biggest downgrades in history"
hbo sundays going from succession to the idol has got to be one of the biggest downgrades in history
— mai (@maisenser) June 4, 2023
Along the same lines, one user added: "hbo's run from the white lotus to the last of us to final seasons for both barry/succession and going to 'the idol' right afterwards is possibly the worst downgrade i've ever seen"
Read more: ‘The Idol’ Stars Defend Controversial Show (The Hollywood Reporter, 3-min read)
A viewer also said: "HBO went from house of the dragon to White Lotus to Last of Us and then succession and now we ending up with “The Idol” lmao what a downgrade"
Making the same point, one viewer shared a short interview clip of Robert DeNiro repeatedly saying things are "terrible" as they said: "Sunday nights on HBO going from Succession to The Idol."
Sunday nights on HBO going from Succession to The Idol pic.twitter.com/kvaQE3nk6n
— Emily (@emilybernay) June 4, 2023
Other viewers were highly critical of the show after watching the pilot, with one person writing: "The Idol is simultaneously awful self-parody, a pretentious art project, and grotesquely exploitative of its subject matter.
"Sam Levinson's dialogue is about as natural as a chicken nugget. The Weekend's performance is awful. It feels like a show made by CIS men cause it is."
The Idol is simultaneously awful self-parody, a pretentious art project, and grotesquely exploitative of its subject matter. Sam Levinson's dialogue is about as natural as a chicken nugget. The Weekend's performance is awful. It feels like a show made by CIS men cause it is. pic.twitter.com/7gEid4lxLB
— Lord Edge (@cgd0911) June 5, 2023
Another person wrote: "Just watched #TheIdol and Jesus Christ it’s like a student film with a big budget. Sam Levinson is trying to be deep but his writing is just f**king weird. Also The Weeknd’s character is f**king creepy as f**k and makes me hate the actual Weeknd"
Read more: Lily-Rose Depp felt comfortable with nudity in The Idol (Bang Showbiz, 1-min read)
While one user added: "ya… this show thinks it’s way smarter than it actually is. Not the twisted, flaming mess it actually is. There are some great performances, notably Lily-Rose Depp, and Eli Roth is the MVP! How HBO ordered this but cancelled Westworld, I will never understand…"
Did viewers like The Idol?
Not everyone was critical of The Idol, though, as one viewer joked: "the feminist in me leaving my body every Sunday cuz I will be seated for the remainder of the season"
BLACKPINK star Jennie Kim also received a lot of praise from viewers for her acting debut, with one person claiming people will only watch the show because of the K-Pop star: "the idol is a** like idgaf sam levinson and the weeknd should thank jennie for making people tune in."
The Idol airs on Mondays on Sky Atlantic at the same time the show is released on HBO in the US, and it airs again at 9pm.
Watch the trailer for The Idol.