The Idol's creator spoke before it started. Sam Levinson made a forecast. the "biggest show of the summer" would be his "provocative" drama.
TV critics have now given their final judgments, and the majority of them agreed that it was the summer's biggest failure.
The Weeknd and Johnny Depp's daughter Lily-Rose both starred in The Idol.
It was dubbed "definitely the worst TV show of the year" by The Telegraph, and "one of the worst programs ever made" by The Guardian.
Leila Latif of the Guardian called it "a painfully tedious TV non-event" with "the dampest squib of a finale.".
She described Depp's portrayal of the troubled pop singer Jocelyn as "limp, glazed-over, chain-smoking nothingness.".
Even harsher criticism of Depp's co-star came from Latif, who said that "an act by Abel 'The Weeknd' Tesfaye should be tried at The Hague," alluding to the Dutch city where the International Criminal Court is housed.
"We prepared ourselves for shock. We prepared to be horrified. However, nothing could have prepared you for being so incredibly bored. ".
In addition to being dull, Latif said that The Idol "feels the need to make the occasional point about how feminism and MeToo get in the way of a good time.".
She continued by claiming that HBO had "spent millions upon millions of dollars to deliver women gleefully writhing, being sexualized, and finding peace in admitting how much they suck.".
According to Ed Power of The Telegraph, the series "maintained a consistent awfulness throughout" and was "toe-curlingly naff and sexist.".
He wrote that the season finale "confirmed it was not only the worst TV show of the year, but a potential turkey for the ages.". It was the Dark Side of the Moon of awful television; it's difficult to fathom how it even made it off the drawing board, much less onto our screens. ".
He said HBO, which was "long considered the gold standard of prestige TV studio" but has now "dropped a clunker for the ages," may have suffered the most significant harm because of "the vacant Depp and atrociously stilted The Weeknd.".
Chris Vognar of Rolling Stone magazine lamented The Idol's "atonal pile-up of hazy character motives, narrative dead ends, and remarkably unsexy sex scenes," while acknowledging that HBO "has had worse mishaps" in the past.
He claimed that the conclusion was "neither a bang nor a whimper.". It wasn't quite as bad as what came before it, actually. That could be interpreted as a small victory or as damning with faint praise. ".
According to Lovia Gyarkye in the Hollywood Reporter, the show's finale was "so disorienting that Levinson's prediction that his most recent creation would be "the biggest show of the summer" now seems ridiculous.".
The Idol has issues that go beyond its gratuitous nudity or childish eroticism, the author claimed. The show is plagued by a weak plot and a confusing storyline. Storylines are carelessly picked up and dropped, their remnants haunting watchful audiences. ".
Gyarkye added attempts at character development, acting, pacing, and tone to his list of the show's flaws.
"However, there are some creative moments in the season, flashes of what The Idol might have been. ".
There was "confusion over what exactly The Idol was meant to be," according to Laura Martin of BBC Culture.
She questioned whether the program was a satire on the absurdities of the music business or an erotic drama that explored the power dynamics in a Sandamp;M relationship.
"The show floundered awkwardly, never really settling on what it wanted to convey. However, the apparent emphasis on being edgy—or "sick and twisted," as early teaser trailers suggested Levinson and Tesfaye's minds were—came at a price.
The penultimate episode's plot didn't pick up until then, and even then it was a jumbled mess, and there was little to no character development.
Any advantages were lost in the tumultuous discussion surrounding the show, she continued. ".
The Idol was neither as offensive as its critics claimed nor as "revolutionary" as co-creator Sam Levinson believed, according to Variety's Alison Herman.
According to her, "the five-episode HBO drama got in its own way, passing off reductive clichés as radical transgression, like so many works of art that too overtly aim for provocation. ".
Previously, Levinson was most well-known for developing the celebrated teen drama Euphoria.
The Weeknd, who portrayed nightclub owner and Jocelyn's mentor Tedros, can now return to his day job as one of the biggest pop stars in the world when he performs twice this weekend at London Stadium.