US critics were seemingly unimpressed by the first instalment of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ new Netflix series, describing it as “a straightforward romance with no real royal dirt”.
Major US media outlets offered mostly unfavourable takes on the tell-all documentary, the first three episodes of which began streaming on Thursday.
In them, Harry accuses the royals of having a “huge level of unconscious bias” and Meghan saying the media wanted to “destroy” her.
Variety’s chief television critic, Daniel D’Addario, said that the couple had previously “shocked the world multiple times over” – both with the infamous “Megxit” and subsequent interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.
“With today’s release… the Sussexes surprise us yet again, with just how narrow their vision of their fame is, how pinched and unimaginative their presence on the world stage has become,” he wrote.
“They may have shed their responsibilities to the crown, but they’re still in a kind of service.
“There’s an air of duty about the entire enterprise of ‘Harry & Meghan,’ as if they’re honor-bound to keep reciting their personal story until we eventually lose interest.”
Thursday’s episodes also shared some details about previous allegations of racism within the royal family.
But Stephanie Bunbury, of Deadline, said the episodes were not “the royal evisceration we have been expecting”.
Harry & Meghan. A Netflix Global Event.Volume I: December 8Volume II: December 15 pic.twitter.com/WpFzVEC7Yx
— Netflix (@netflix) December 5, 2022
“The story so far is a straightforward romance, with the best-looking royals no longer in the business seen sitting on a couch agreeing that, guess what, they fell madly in love on their second date,” she wrote.
“None of this, however, is the royal evisceration we have been expecting.
“Presumably, the Harry Formerly Known As a Prince and his maligned wife will go into a bit more detail in next week’s Volume II on what prompted them to walk away from the whole thing and set up shop in California.”
Writers for The Hollywood Reporter agreed that despite viewers experiencing “an intimate retelling” of Harry and Meghan’s “great love story” there was no “truly groundbreaking content”.
“While expectations of what the documentary might reveal were high, the audience is not enlightened about anything truly groundbreaking in the first three episodes,” a THR article read.
The next instalment of the six-part series is due to be released next week on December 15.