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Gleefully Lurid 'Brand New Cherry Flavor' Explores The (Black) Magic Of The Movies
L to R: Lisa (Rosa Salazar) gets more than she bargained for from Boro (Catherine Keener) in Netflix's Brand New Cherry Flavor . SERGEI BACHLAKOV/NETFLIX hide caption
L to R: Lisa (Rosa Salazar) gets more than she bargained for from Boro (Catherine Keener) in Netflix's Brand New Cherry Flavor .
The trippy, lurid and defiantly weird Netflix series Brand New Cherry Flavor wears its influences on its blood-flecked sleeve. Scenes involving a character periodically vomiting up several [spoiler], or discovering a new orifice on their torso, aspire to the exultant body horror of David Cronenberg.
Whenever Catherine Keener's mysterious witch Boro suddenly appears — grinning, watchful, still — amid crowds of people at parties inside swanky art galleries or Hollywood Hills homes, you are meant to recall David Lynch's Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway .
The version of Hollywood depicted in the eight-episode series is one prone to going feathery at the edges, the way films like Barton Fink address the notion of Los Angeles as "The Dream Factory" by forcibly smearing it into the realm of surreal nightmare.
Which is not to say that Brand New Cherry Flavor doesn't succeed in telling its own strange, gruesome, often humorous tale (it's remarkable how well it manages to be dryly funny amid all its wet gore). I cite the filmmakers to which the series is indebted simply to acknowledge that all of its borrowing is clearly both intentional and deliberate.
That may not be immediately apparent in the comparatively restrained episode one, when we meet young Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar) as she arrives in Los Angeles to crash on the couch of her friend Code (a woefully underused Manny Jacinto) so she can take a meeting with the washed-up producer (Eric Lange) who's expressed interest in her student film.
The series cruises along the broad, sunny freeway of its main plot — Lisa wants to direct the movie that will be based on her student film — for so long that you start to wonder when or if it will take that off-ramp onto the dark surface-streets teeming with the fun stuff promised in the promotional materials — revenge, murder, magic curses, shadowy entities, popped eyeballs, zombies, worm-laced cocaine, creepy plants, poisonous toads, a love interest (Jeff Ward) outfitted with a hilariously convenient death-wish that keeps him hanging around Lisa long after he should flee her — but once it does make that turnoff, it hits the accelerator.
Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar) in Brand New Cherry Flavor, a tale of Hollywood ... and vines. Netflix hide caption
Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar) in Brand New Cherry Flavor, a tale of Hollywood ... and vines.
The characters in Brand New Cherry Flavor confront an endless series of deeply disturbing (sometimes pulsating, often slimy, always creepy) things as they go about their day, but one of the series' most appealing (and funny) aspects is the degree to which its two leads — Salazar and Keener — roll with everything they're dealt with.
Salazar's large, searching eyes can and do express surprise, but her demeanor, and especially her voice, suggest someone so preternaturally unflappable that she shouldn't be messed with. (You'll find out the reason for that, if you stick with the series.)
Keener underplays her role, too, delivering her dialogue with a wry, knowing, everyday matter-of-factness, even — especially — when she's discussing the mundane particulars of, say, blood-magic vs. sex-magic. A scene midway through the series, in which Boro takes Lisa along to revisit some people from Boro's past, is an example of Brand New Cherry Flavor playing to its idiosyncratic strengths: The two actors fall into a fluid, symbiotic rhythm — Salazar all sardonic defiance, Keener all smiling, shoulder-shrugging resignation. Both characters project a blithe confidence that they're in control of any given situation, but the key difference — the thing that drives the engine of the series — is that Keener's character is actually in control, while Salazar's only pretends to be.
Some viewers will find Lisa profoundly unlikeable as a lead. To them, her determination to direct a major studio movie with only a single student film under her belt makes her foolish, demanding, even spoiled. Certainly the fact that, when denied that opportunity, she immediately sets out to seek vengeance against Lange's sleazy producer in the form of an irrevocable curse won't help her case.
But the series knows exactly what it's doing. Lange plays her victim, producer Lou Burke, with a smarmy, avuncular charm that can curdle into toxic rage and preening entitlement on a dime. (His is the only character who gets to register how truly insane things get, as the series goes on; Lange, an actor who's turned up on your TV in roles large and small for years, gets a long overdue chance to shine, and seizes it.)
And yes, the revenge Lisa seeks is extreme, outsized, disproportionate. That's the whole point — her desire for vengeance creates a vortex of pain and misery (and creepiness) around her that draws in everyone and everything around her.
Late in the series, we finally get an explanation of who and what, exactly, Keener's character truly is, and where she comes from. It's all a bit undercooked, as is the precise nature of her connection to Salazar's character, and at such moments the series vacillates between being intriguingly mysterious and frustratingly vague.
But by that time you hit that scene, you'll have been on the long, strange, and deeply trippy trip that Brand New Cherry Flavor takes you on long enough that you'll most likely do what most of the characters on the series do, whenever they're faced with the uncanny or arcane: shrug, and keep going.
Netflix’s series Brand New Cherry Flavor might be the grossest thing you see this year
That’s kind of a recommendation
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In almost every one of the eight episodes in Netflix’s limited series Brand New Cherry Flavor , the protagonist barfs up a live kitten. That isn’t a euphemism. Each time, she doubles over, convulses in pain, and heaves until a slimy mass exits her mouth and splats on the floor. Upon closer inspection, it’s always a writhing newborn kitten with wet white fur. A zombie then surreptitiously collects the kitten and brings it to a witch, who drinks its blood. It’s important to know all this beforehand diving into the show, because this isn’t the wildest thing Brand New Cherry Flavor has in store. Things get wilder. And considerably grosser.
That isn’t necessarily obvious from the start. Brand New Cherry Flavor begins plainly by comparison: Movie director Lisa N. Nova ( Alita: Battle Angel star Rosa Salazar) arrives in early-’90s Hollywood with a shocking short film under her belt, determined to expand it into a feature debut. Much of the first episode is dedicated to the work that goes into getting noticed in Hollywood: parties and meetings and conversations over drinks, all of it suspect and drenched in ominous light, because exploitation is in the very air. Then Nova meets producer-director Lou Burke (Eric Lange) who agrees to help her realize her vision. But he betrays her, so she asks a witch (Catherine Keener) to curse him, which ends up costing more than Nova bargained for.
The first and easiest mistake in sizing up this occult horror-noir from Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion would be to reduce it to its overly apparent influences. Put frankly, Brand New Cherry Flavor comes across as a shameless ripoff of Davids Lynch and Cronenberg. The former is evident in the lens the series takes to Los Angeles, one obsessed with foreboding, winding highways and nonsensically dreamy imagery. The latter comparison comes when Brand New Cherry Flavor digs into its occult elements, all of which come with a healthy amount of body horror.
Brand New Cherry Flavor — the mildly obnoxious title comes from the novel of the same name by Todd Grimson, but is never really explained — isn’t terribly clever in cribbing from two of cinema’s most beloved weirdo auteurs. Most of its imagery recalls better projects like Mulholland Drive or eXistenZ , but Antosca and Zion’s commitment to telling a deeply unsettling occult story is, for lack of a better word, bewitching.
In spite of the seemingly endless possibilities brought on by the streaming era, I’m hard-pressed to think of the last thing I saw that was this fucking gross . Stews of raw rodent entrails are consumed, repulsive substances are extracted and injected, and there’s a sex scene I’d rather not talk about. This makes Cherry Flavor feel disorienting and oppressive in a way that mirrors Lisa Nova’s descent into Los Angeles’ occult underworld, where horrible things are done in exchange for power and influence.
But Brand New Cherry Flavor lingers beyond that initial shock of revulsion. It’s a story about power and exploitation, a dark revenge thriller about a woman who wants to punish the powerful man who iced her out of her own dream. The series uses its occult twist to complicate its story in compelling ways. Its portrayal of art and witchcraft aren’t that dissimilar: The show’s characters view both as selfish acts that always come at a steep cost, one that the perpetrators might not be willing to pay.
The barfed-up kittens are a metaphor, of course. Boro, the witch, tells Lisa that there’s something special inside of her, and that the price of the curse Lisa seeks will be a regular taste of that essence. Lisa doesn’t make anything after arriving in Los Angeles, but the story never lets the audience forget that she is an artist , and that her art cost something. Across eight episodes, the writers of Brand New Cherry Flavor argue that these are both dangerous things: People should be careful when they’re about to commit an act of witchcraft or art, because they never know what they might find spilling from their mouths further down the line.
Brand New Cherry Flavor launches on Netflix Friday, August 13.
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Breaking news, actors make a deal with studios after 118 days, netflix’s ‘brand new cherry flavor’: tv review.
This new Hollywood horror-satire series offers zombies, slithery executives, kittens, revenge curses and shades of #MeToo drama.
By Daniel Fienberg
Chief Television Critic
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If you have a loopy film or TV premise that requires massive audience buy-in of the sort only a truly committed central performance can engender, having Rosa Salazar as your star is a tremendous boon.
In just the past five years, Salazar has been integral to helping sell the imaginative whimsy of Man Seeking Woman , the technological ambition of Alita: Battle Angel and the rotoscoped philosophical madness of Undone . Salazar makes interesting choices and her commitment to those oddities is reliably worth watching.
Brand New Cherry Flavor
Airdate: Friday, August 13 (Netflix)
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Catherine Keener, Eric Lange, Manny Jacinto, Jeff Ward
Creators: Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion from the book by Todd Grimson
Netflix ‘s new horror-satire Brand New Cherry Flavor may be the best showcase yet for Salazar and her ability to carry a project that, with a different lead, would have collapsed under the weight of its self-conscious weirdness. She’s funny, sympathetic and possessed of an off-kilter energy that represents the best aspects of the limited series around her. She isn’t the only reason to watch Brand New Cherry Flavor , but she’s surely the best reason to keep watching a show that, stretched far beyond the capacity of the material at eight hours, will probably be too disturbing for those who like their entertainment vanilla and too vanilla for those who like their entertainment truly and consistently disturbing.
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On the surface, Brand New Cherry Flavor is a familiar fresh-off-the-bus story about Hollywood and its capacity to devour the dreams of the innocent. Lisa Nova (Salazar) isn’t all that innocent, though.
The writer-director of a student film generating buzz for a harrowing climactic sequence nobody can quite bring themselves to discuss, Lisa arrives in Hollywood with hopes of a big break. In no time, she has a meeting with a producer ( Eric Lange ‘s Lou Burke) with Oscars on his mantel, but no recent successes to speak of. At a speed that astounds her friends, including Manny Jacinto’s Code and Hannah Levien’s Christine, Lisa has a movie deal and a decoratively dingy apartment in a classic Hollywood building and she’s even caught the attention of budding movie star Roy Hardaway (Jeff Ward). The happiness doesn’t last long, though, because Lisa is soon to learn that movie executives are sleazy, directors are replaceable and revenge pacts made with witches (Catherine Keener’s Boro) surrounded by a zombie harem come with unintended consequences.
What follows features unqualified hitmen, rainforest spirits, a wide variety of natural and unnatural hallucinogens, blood magic, sex magic and kittens. Netflix doesn’t want me to say anything more about the kittens, so I definitely won’t mention that kittens are integral to the plot.
It’s a less paranoid version of The Day of the Locust , a less surreal version of Mulholland Drive , a less horny version of Now Apocalypse , a less glisteningly leering version of Neon Demon and a less deranged version of several David Cronenberg movies, and that’s without getting to more comparable, less genre-fueled yarns. Hollywood likes Hollywood, and nothing is more Hollywood than a meditation on transformation and identity — not that Brand New Cherry Flavor is all that meditative, what with the zombies, kittens and other diabolical doses of nightmare-fuel.
Adapted by Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion from Todd Grimson’s 1996 cult novel, Brand New Cherry Flavor was presumably made for TV because everything is easier to adapt for TV at the moment, though it maintains an “early ’90s” time period that prevents it from ultimately having all that much to say about the contemporary entertainment industry (or its ’90s equivalent, really). There are #MeToo underpinnings in the predatory relationships Liz has with various industry men, though if the series has an actual perspective on several years of reckoning and the dangers of retaliation, it’s somewhere between “muddled” and “strange in ways I was uncomfortable with and therefore stopped trying to analyze.” Brand New Cherry Flavor is a cautionary tale, but not one you want to probe too deeply into, which is ironic because there’s ample probing going on.
The team of directors, starting with Arkasha Stevenson, establishes a level of neon-tinted, noir-adjacent polish throughout, fixating on the pulsing, luminous veins of the L.A. freeways at nighttime, the shabby-chic architecture appropriating from a web of transplanted cultures, the eateries and industry haunts connected to a local past nobody remembers. There’s room for flourishes aplenty, whether it’s frequent use of blood-red filters, severe camera angles or anything used to depict psychedelic disorientation.
What’s odd here, other than the kittens, is that no matter how much time characters in Brand New Cherry Flavor spend tripping balls, the overall series is predominantly linear and almost formulaic in its bizarreness. This is not experimental TV, and even if nearly every episode unleashes one or two moments likely to make you cringe or cover your eyes, it’s never hard to understand the plot and the slippage between reality and delirium is very straightforward.
Not everything Lynchian aspires to be utterly oblique and not everything Cronenbergian aspires to a complete body horror miasma, but it’s striking how Brand New Cherry Flavor achieves beats that are “weird” or “gross” without ever being pervasively unsettling. The most obvious culprit is simply that there’s not enough meat on these bones — “meat” and “bones” play a not insignificant role — for an eight-episode season length and the series ends up packed with filler that’s constantly diffusing whatever should have been cumulative.
Part of that lack of gawking horror, to the show’s credit, is a mirror on Lisa’s reaction to everything happening around her. The character is determined, to a myopic degree, to make it big and if that requires ending or ruining a few lives in the progress, that’s what she signed on for.
It’s an arc that Salazar plays masterfully, from the relative naif of the pilot to the delusion spiral of the second episode to Liza’s increasingly matter-of-fact acceptance of the chaos she set in motion. She’s a wide-eye ingenue and a femme fatale at once. Salazar’s varied deadpan is a marvel, especially in scenes with Jacinto, another expert practitioner of the deadpan arts. Any time Salazar feels too dry or sardonic, she’s able to show a real fierceness that comes out in her scenes with Keener, who opts for an underplayed amusement with everything happening around her — which, given the things Boro has to do here, was probably a good choice.
The supporting turns are all pretty solid, which might be the only advantage I’d acknowledge to this story not being told in a more appropriate four (or even two) hours. Lange does well with a character who begins the series falling apart professionally and eventually begins to fall apart in other ways, though I wish the character was more than just a Hollywood executive composite. Ward gives one of those Lynch-standard performances where you’re not sure if what the actor is doing is “great,” but it feels like exactly what the project’s tone demands. The same is true for newcomer Siena Werber as the star of Liza’s original film, who enters the story in its second half and is suddenly stealing scenes left and right.
Will Brand New Cherry Flavor be Salazar’s true breakout? I think the series’ dramatic padding, its lack of real horrifying momentum and some of its grosser standalone elements may limit it to being a curio. Still, for those who stick through the show, it’s another reminder that there aren’t many young actors making more interesting choices.
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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ On Netflix, An Oddball Horror Series About Early ‘90s Hollywood And Deranged Kittens
Where to stream:.
- Brand New Cherry Flavor
- Stream It Or Skip It
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What is “horror” to you? Is it seeing a lot of blood and guts? Is it being scared and shocked? Or is it just seeing a lot of weird stuff going on that makes you scratch your head at times and just say, “Ewwww” at others? The new Netflix series Brand New Cherry Flavor tests what you think you like about the horror genre by giving you shocking moments that are more strange than scary.
BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR : STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: A cat wriggles on a dark, windy road. A car is speeding down that road, the driver fiddling with the radio. The cat manages to get out of the way right before the car smushes it pieces.
The Gist: Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar) is driving that car, a beat-up ’70s-era Trans Am. A graphic says: “EARLY ’90s. On The Way to Los Angeles.” Lisa stops to call a former boyfriend she knows in LA and tells him she’s on the way and can she crash at his place. All the while a mysterious man on a motorcycle is hovering nearby.
When she gets to LA she finds the apartment of her ex, Code (Manny Jacinto), whose girlfriend Christine (Hannah Levien) is more than a little wary of her. But she’s also one of the few people hanging around the flat that’s not in the business; she’s in real estate.
Lisa is there to meet a big-time producer, Lou Burke (Eric Lange), who showed interest in the horror short she made and sent around (on VHS in those days). When she meets him, he’s the usual Hollywood big-shot quirky: Wearing sunglasses indoors, drinking coffee with his sushi, spewing all sorts of bromides about his experiences in show business. But he also likes her film and wants to make a feature version of it. She wants to direct as well as write. He promises that, and the contract he sends over after he options the short says she will direct.
Christine gets Lisa an apartment in a seedy neighborhood, where on one of her first nights there, she sees a group of cats eating from the carcass of what looks like a much bigger cat.
Lou takes Lisa under his wing, trying to shape her pitch and get her past the usual, “I love movies” and “I’m different from other directors” platitudes. He even takes her to a big Hollywood party to introduce her to a backer. There, she sees weird things like a mask that shows people’s thoughts on a screen, and she meets a weird lady named Boro (Catherine Keener), who his holding a cat and tells Lisa that “for you, I could hurt someone.” She scrawls the corner on which she lives on Lisa’s arm.
Before the party, Lou made a pass at Lisa, which she rejected. He tries a more overt pass when they stop on a cliff overlooking the city. When she rejects it and the ride home, he leaves. The next morning, Code tells Lisa that Lou is taking meetings with someone else to direct her film. She storms into his mansion demanding answers. He just gives bromides on “promises vs. arrangements” and others. But when he chokes her in his driveway, she goes to the corner inscribed on her arm and looks for Boro. And then things get really, really weird.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Brand New Cherry Flavor feels like a Hollywood cautionary tale like Hollywood or even something like Episodes told in a style that evokes Twin Peaks .
Our Take: It’s hard to watch Brand New Cherry Flavor , created by Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion, without thinking the entire time, “Huh. This show is pretty freakin’ weird.” And weird can be good; there are some shows that are weird in a good way, like Ultra City Smiths . Some are weird in an interesting way, like the aforementioned Twin Peaks. But Brand New Cherry Flavor just feels like it’s weird for weirdness sake. And that’s never a formula for anything that’s sustainable.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s actually a story that fills in around all the weirdness. But it’s not that complicated a story. A young woman comes to Hollywood to pursue her filmmaking career. She meets with a lecherous producer who wants to stick his tongue down her throat. When she rejects him, he exercises his power to make her life miserable. It’s a story that we all knew about before Harvey Weinstein got brought down, and there’s nothing particularly new about it in this context.
Eric Lange, so brilliant as a series of creeps and weirdos in shows like Unbelievable , does a great job here of making Lou into a quirky but seemingly harmless guy on a power trip who turns violent when he doesn’t get his way. Salazar plays well off him, though we couldn’t shake the feeling that the role of Lisa was written for Audrey Plaza, and the producers found and actress that looked and sounded like her when Plaza wasn’t available. That might not have been the case, and that shouldn’t count against Salazar’s performance, but we felt that it needed a little more eye-rolling snarkiness.
The only other character so far that distinguishes herself is Keener as Boro. We never thought we’d say this about anything Keener does, but she might not play Boro weird enough. The writers linger on her first meeting with Lisa a bit too long, where Boro tells her to feel like she’s inside of a cat like it’s a house then to mentally break stuff. And then when Lisa goes to her after the incident with Lou, we’re still not sure what her magic is or what kind of hurt she’s going to put on the smarmy producer. It obviously involves kittens to some degree, as the deranged final scene of the first episode shows.
But so much of the first episode leaves the relationships and story still undefined, leading the viewer to just concentrate on the weirdness. And that weirdness is so disconnected from the story during that first episode that it’s hard to see where the connection will eventually be made.
Sex and Skin: We see Lisa naked in her bathtub, when Boro’s cat suddenly appears. In Boro’s house, there’s a skinny, weird naked man sitting in amongst her plants.
Parting Shot: After a scene that needs to be seen to be believed, a sweaty Lisa tells Boro, “I want to set his life on fire.” Boro replies, “We can do that.”
Sleeper Star: Jeff Ward plays a well-known actor named Roy Hardaway. He’ll factor into the story somehow, though he doesn’t have a lot to do in the first episode.
Most Pilot-y Line: We know that setting the story in the “Early ’90s” gives the writers some leeway as far as music selections are concerned. But the song “Natural One” was played in one scene; that song came out in 1995, which doesn’t quite make it “Early ’90s”. Tighten that shit up, folks.
Our Call: SKIP IT. Brand New Cherry Flavor has its high points, but its story isn’t unique enough and its weirdness seems like the free-floating kind that makes most viewers scratch their heads at what they’re seeing.
Will you stream or skip the oddball horror series #BrandNewCherryFlavor on @netflix ? #SIOSI — Decider (@decider) August 13, 2021
Joel Keller ( @joelkeller ) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com , VanityFair.com , Fast Company and elsewhere.
Stream Brand New Cherry Flavor On Netflix
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Brand New Cherry Flavor Season 1 Review
A twisted tale that packs a flavorful punch..
Season 1 of Brand New Cherry Flavor will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 13.
Brand New Cherry Flavor has nothing at all to do with cherries, but it does offer an abundance of flavor in a sea of preachy teen dramas and staid supernatural romances. This limited Netflix series is one of the freshest shows to hit the streaming platform in some time, bringing an unparalleled amount of style and surrealism to the small screen with a dash of David Lynch-like magic to boot.
Created by Nick Antosca (The Act, Channel Zero) and Lenore Zion (Billions, Channel Zero) and based on the novel of the same name by Todd Grimson, Brand New Cherry Flavor stars a ferocious and fiercely independent Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel) as Lisa N. Nova, a young, cutting-edge filmmaker who just spent a stint in the woods working on a short horror film called “Lisa’s Eye.” Hotshot director Lou Burke (Eric Lange) invites her to LA, where he makes an offer to option her short as a feature length film. However, their uneasy mentor-protégé relationship turns sour, leading Nova on a bizarre journey through LA’s seedy underbelly where she meets Boro (Catherine Keener), a shadowy, supernatural figure who’s willing to help her get back at Lou -- for a price.
What's the best new Netflix original series of 2021 so far?
Brand New Cherry Flavor is a revenge fantasy told through the lens of the early '90s and soundtracked by R.E.M., The Pixies, Primus, and other prominent artists of the era. From vine-covered ceilings to the trap-door encrusted floors, the series is an undeniable love letter to the decade, and each scene is practically soaked in nostalgic remembrance of days gone by. It helps, of course, that the tale of those in powerful positions taking advantage of young and vulnerable creators is unfortunately a timeless one. This is a story that resonates just as much in 2021, from Burke’s unwanted sexual advances to his endless lies and anger directed at Nova after she shuts him down.
Though Rosa Salazar brings some much-needed bite and venom to her role as Nova, Catherine Keener shines as Boro, the rust-haired elder with a Woodstock attitude and a Log Lady-esque affinity for cats...as well as the literal zombies she keeps in her rainforest-like dwelling as pets. She’s certainly the source of plenty of disturbing content, which I found enhanced each episode in several ways. The show is heavy on gross-out moments, such as Nova being forced to vomit up kittens at will for Boro's nefarious purposes. It goes even further than that later on in the show and, well, let’s just leave it at saying it has to be seen to be believed.There’s a decadent display of otherworldly sights and sounds, and these visuals ensure there’s never a dull moment, and continue to build until the very end.
Netflix Spotlight: August 2021
But it's not all darkness, revenge, and an increasingly feral Lisa. There's plenty of room for humor, as Nova's revenge quest turns into a game of cat and mouse between Burke and all of their respective allies. It's like watching two cartoonishly evil villains one-up each other in a '90s action flick, and this occasional comedy will elicit a grin here and there.
Some of the most engaging moments emerge from Nova's interactions with Code (Manny Jacinto) and his girlfriend Christine (Hannah Levien). Despite an initially chilly reception upon Code welcoming Nova into the pair's apartment, Christine is a sympathetic ear for the jilted director. Brand New Cherry Flavor happily subverts the "jealous girlfriend" trope and instead sees Christine and Nova become initially uneasy but fast friends. Their interactions are whip-smart and realistic, and I was pleased to see a potentially tired and rote situation turned into a positive one between the two women. And for once, there's no romantic subplot about Nova trying to win her ex back -- the spotlight remains firmly on Nova's well-deserved revenge.
There’s still time for romance, however, as self-destructive movie star Roy Hardaway (Jeff Ward) quickly realizes Nova could be the person who finally helps him overcome his lifelong death wish. The pair has definite onscreen chemistry, and their relationship is unexpectedly straightforward and sweet. All of Brand New Cherry Flavor's out-there moving pieces could come across as messy. Fortunately, Antosca and Zion keep it moving at a rapid clip, with enough exposition and disturbing revelations to keep you from reaching for the remote even when things begin to slow down. Introspective moments about Nova's past are insightful and moving, and learning about movie star Hardaway's troubled past adds another layer to an action movie hero that I initially wanted to write off as just another pretty face. There’s a lot to love about every character, so much so that by the end you’re left feeling as though you just spent time getting to know a very dysfunctional -- and violent -- family.
Brand New Cherry Flavor is the dose of neon-tinted surrealism Lynch fans have been seeking since the end of Twin Peaks: The Return. It weaves a serpentine tale over eight 40-minute episodes that shatter the illusory Hollywood dream, all the while exposing the predatory practices of directors and industry bigwigs looking to turn a profit off of starry-eyed ingenues. Each episode finds tensions (and body count) rising until the thick fog of resolution settles in, not a moment too soon. And with an ending that suggests we may not have seen the last of Lisa N. Nova or supernatural siren Boro, more Brand New Cherry Flavor is certainly something to purr about.
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Brand New Cherry Flavor review – crazy, original & bizzare
This review of the Netflix limited series Brand New Cherry Flavor does not contain spoilers. It will be released on the 13th of August 2021.
Following the release of Hit & Run last week, Netflix is rolling the dice again with Brand New Cherry Flavor. Set in the early 90s, an ambitious filmmaker, Lisa Nova (played by Rosa Salazar), travels to Hollywood with hopes of making her own movie. But following betrayal, she embarks on a supernatural mission of revenge, which just so happens to collide with her hallucinatory rabbit hole of sex, magic, revenge, and kittens. Trust me; the kittens are going to be the part that you remember.
Rosa Salazar is outstanding as the leading actress in Brand New Cherry Flavo r; she brings a lot of flavor to the role. Plus, when it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the lead character, it shows how great Rosa’s performance is. It also has to be said that Jeff Ward, who some may remember as Seth Marlowe in the No-End House entry of the Channel Zero horror anthology, is fantastic in his role as A-list movie star Roy Hardaway. Let’s hope that Jeff gets a role as a Leading Man in the near future. A little side note, Brand New Cherry Flavor was co-created by Nick Antosca, who created Channel Zero! Additional cast members Catherine Keener and Eric Lange have characters that will have you feeling all kinds of emotions. In particular, Eric Lange’s role as Lou Burke will have you shouting with anger.
It’s a unique watch with a heavy sense of WTF throughout, mainly due to the loopy nature of how the story plays itself out. But with the writing and directing being top-notch, the craziness makes sense in the world of Brand New Cherry Flavor . The craziness alone brings enough originality that ensures that the limited series is well worth a watch (or two).
Brand New Cherry Flavor won’t be to everyone’s flavor; some might not make it past the first episode, but for those that do, it’s going to be hard to take your eyes off the screen. (Even if you want to in some cases). As the show is such a bizarre watch, you likely need a summary of what’s happened. With both this series and Hit & Run being among the most entertaining that Netflix has been released, the streaming service is seriously proving to be top of the pack.
What do you think of Netflix’s Brand New Cherry Flavor? Comment below.
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Netflix’s ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ Makes for a Trippy, Disgusting Descent Into Hell: TV Review
By Caroline Framke
Chief TV Critic
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A few days after enlisting enigmatic witch Boro ( Catherine Keener ) to put a curse on a director who’s wronged her, young filmmaker Lisa Nova ( Rosa Salazar ) is sick of throwing up slimy, mewling kittens as a consequence. “No!” she practically growls, staring Boro down. “No more throwing up kittens!”
Boro shrugs, less than bothered. “Fine, no more throwing up kittens,” she says as she steps back into the shadows, disappearing into the lush jungle that’s overtaken her Los Angeles home. Lisa’s temporarily mollified — until she experiences the bodily result of that request, which is, to say the least, far worse than any of her previous retching. Resigned, she sighs. “Tell her I’ll go back to puking,” Lisa says to Boro’s stupefied lackey (Mark Acheson), who can only grunt in response as he shuffles away.
This sequence of events is only unusual in the world of “ Brand New Cherry Flavor ” insomuch as it demonstrates something akin to a sense of humor about its gross-out surrealism. Otherwise, the limited series is moreso impressed with its own daring to Go There, or to be as disgusting as the freedom of a streaming service will grant it. A dark and twisty series that delights in getting truly gross, Netflix ’s newest tells a scattered tale of vengeance and ownership that’s lucky to have a stellar performance at its center.
“Brand New Cherry Flavor” — adapted by “Channel Zero” producers Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion from the novel by Todd Grimson — feels like an R.L. Stine book come to visceral life, if Stine’s “Goosebumps” series were rebooted for the adult David Lynch devotees his imaginative kid audience eventually became. The series takes place in a neon-tinged, pulpy version of early ’90s Los Angeles that owes more than a little to horror B movies and paperback books that historically have existed in media’s margins. To this long avowed horror wimp, though, the show isn’t particularly frightening so much as unsettling (though I wouldn’t recommend that anyone follow in my footsteps by trying to eat lunch while watching it — a huge, if obvious, mistake).
Lisa’s thirst for revenge is aimed squarely at Lou Burke (Eric Lange), a predatory horror director who takes advantage of Lisa in order to steal her short film for his own material gain. Lisa, focused and furious, quickly takes up Boro’s offer to destroy his life without fully realizing how that choice might affect hers, too. Keener is clearly having fun embodying the malevolent spark that is Boro, but it’s the reluctantly symbiotic relationship between Lisa and Lou drives much of the show, and both actors quickly lock into that particular dynamic to the show’s benefit. Other actors such as Manny Jacinto and Jeff Ward do their best in supporting roles, but few are fleshed out beyond the core trio of Keener, Lange and Salazar.
Salazar is the show’s clear star, making it plain why experimental shows and films like “Undone” and “Alita: Battle Angel” have depended upon her magnetic performances to keep them somewhat grounded. Even when the series loses track of who Lisa is as a character, Salazar rarely does. No matter how hyperbolic a scene gets, she imbues every one of them with vivid emotion that almost — almost — grounds the show’s self-consciously weird reality. Any time “Brand New Cherry Flavor” gets specific about Lisa’s pain, it comes close to working. Too often, it loses her personality and motivation to Boro’s jungle, Lou’s ego, or the omnipresent viscera of her own blood and guts betraying her along the way. For those curious about getting lost right alongside her, perhaps proceed with a bit more caution than Lisa on her rapid descent into a hell of her own making.
“Brand New Cherry Flavor” premieres Friday, Aug. 13, on Netflix.
- Production: Executive producers: Nick Antosca, Lenore Zion.
- Cast: Rosa Salazar, Catherine Keener, Eric Lange, Jeff Ward, Manny Jacinto.
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‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ Review: Revenge Gets Horrifying in a Sensational Netflix Fever Dream
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“ Brand New Cherry Flavor ” takes place roughly 30 years ago. If the murderer’s row of college radio deep cuts didn’t eventually tip you off, the on-screen setup puts the new Netflix show somewhere in the “early ’90s.” What transpires after that simple introduction is a meticulous, slow-motion fever dream, one that transpires with the occasional help of pay phones, VHS tapes, and print headlines.
The new limited series has plenty more on its mind than aping a particular time and place. “Brand New Cherry Flavor” carries all the psychological trappings that come with the curdled glamor of Los Angeles, but this is a specific kind of Hollywood story; one that exists in its own self-contained universe, detached from a conventional decade-signaling aesthetic. Very quickly, the show establishes its primary concern isn’t enduring stardom or lavish luxury. It’s a supernatural revenge tale brought on by what’s ostensibly a simple legal dispute.
Lisa Nova ( Rosa Salazar ) is an aspiring filmmaker, arriving in L.A. armed with an air of directorial confidence, a creeping sense of paranoia, and a killer calling card of a short film that quickly lands the attention of ethically murky producer Lou Burke (Eric Lange). When the promise of furthering her artistic vision doesn’t quite come to fruition, Lisa’s first stop isn’t the DGA. Going off little more than ethereal suggestions and the same kind of impulses that guided her short, she consults a mysterious woman (Catherine Keener) with a very particular way of helping Lisa get what she’s looking for.
Series co-creators Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion are both alums of the Syfy anthology series “Channel Zero,” a perfect primer for their latest project’s hazy blurring of real-world trauma with more mystical dangers. (Antosca created both series, while Zion worked on the last season — the one haunted by a childhood imaginary friend come to life .) Industry horror stories turn out to be just as fruitful as ones birthed from the internet, with “Brand New Cherry Flavor” taking on the same kind of reality-puncturing developments that don’t need an explanation to be terrifying. The longer the story goes, the more the pretense of a conventional drama falls away.
In the process, few series this year prove as adept at translating stress into visual form. Whether by shades of degrees or through a kilowatt jolt of nervous energy, “Brand New Cherry Flavor” feasts on the insecurities of both character and viewer, even as it veers toward a brewing showdown that covers far more than rights of first refusal. Pilot director Arkasha Stevenson (another “Channel Zero” alum ) and the rest of the season’s directors (Gandja Monteiro, Matt Sobel, Jake Schreier, and Antosca) each offer their own ever-so-distinct takes, each insidious in their own way and bathed in a lava-lamp rainbow palette that drives home the dreamlike feel of this particular rabbit hole. Credit also to DP Celiana Cárdenas, whose camera never moves along the same plane twice, taking in as much of this world’s detail as possible without taking focus away from the key developments happening within the frame.
It isn’t an all-encompassing world on display in “Brand New Cherry Flavor.” Before long, this metaphysical tug-of-war draws in a movie megastar (Jeff Ward), though his presence is less about establishing any fictional on-screen talents than setting him up as a willing accomplice. Still, when the show needs to be specific, it does so with skill. Lisa’s short has to be this tractor beam of an artistic object, luring in big-shot producers and above-the-title talent. Unspooled in snippets throughout the series, it’s recognizably a student film, the kind of work conjured after a steady diet of Maria Falconetti, Cindy Sherman, and Luis Buñuel. Yet it’s haunting in its own right, in a way that shows the power Lisa has over everyone who stands in her way, even when she’s not in the room. The whole thing doesn’t come into focus until well after things in Lisa’s life begin to spiral, and there’s a tactile nature to what’s in those few minutes that gets mirrored in these eight episodes’ most unforgettable sequences.
After “Undone” (a 2018 Amazon Prime Video gem ripe for discovery in its own right for those who haven’t caught it yet), “Brand New Cherry Flavor” marks yet another series Salazar is able to carry, even through some taxing performance demands. The sheer physicality of Lisa’s trials — some pain meted out in otherworldly forms and still more in ways frighteningly real — are tall enough a task. To be able to shade the moments in between with the kind of alternating bewilderment, exasperation, and resignation that marks Lisa’s rocky road to reclaiming her own work (and body and life) is proof of a skillset that few other actresses would be able to bring.
Her on-screen sparring partner Lange is presented with plenty of Lou’s ordeals, too. To watch him slide in and out of scummy producer mode, all while slowly losing grip on the control that he feels his status in the industry implies, is a fascinating parallel arc. Lange arrives channeling some of the best ‘90s Michael Keaton energy since ‘90s Michael Keaton — where Lou goes from there is a case study in eliciting a certain kind of blunted empathy for a character who arguably deserves it the least. Keener remains an enigma throughout the series (and necessarily so). As Lisa tries to parse out who this woman is and what she’s really after, the matter-of-fact way that Keener presents an escalating series of gnarled details and directives is chilling in its own right.
Through the swirling storm of alliances and oaths and performative rituals both pagan and showbiz, “Brand New Cherry Flavor” is fragmented without being incoherent. The idea of healing becomes an emerging theme over the course of the series, and it’s almost as if this hazy narrative is a collection of broken bones trying to set itself back into place. As the past and present start to converge, there’s a distinct sense that these characters, as they lose their ability to track certain rules and consequences, are gradually giving themselves over to whatever fantastical turn this story takes.
Whether it’s Lisa or Lou or anyone else swept up in their battle of wills, there’s a particular kind of inconsistency in the way that characters respond to the disturbing, absurd developments surrounding them. At times, these oddities are accepted at face value, tiny trip-ups in reality that can be explained away by bad coke or just Hollywood being Hollywood. Watching that relative nonchalance melt away as these curious developments get stranger and stranger is part of what gives the show its magic. In a showbiz-centered story rife with metaphorical possibility, the overarching theme seems to be what you’re willing to endure and to whom you’re willing to bind your fate. Rarely has a story about a movie proven the old adage that “no one knows anything” quite like this.
“Brand New Cherry Flavor” premieres Friday, August 13 on Netflix.
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Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021)
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Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, netflix’s ambitious brand new cherry flavor wants to mess you up.
“Brand New Cherry Flavor” is a mindf*ck in the best ways. Daring to tackle material that recalls David Lynch ’s deconstructions of the surrealism of Hollywood in projects like “ Mulholland Dr. ,” it's as ambitious as anything Netflix has produced this year. Held together by an incredible performance by Rosa Salazar , it’s not a show in which everything "works," but it’s also quickly easy to forgive its missteps because it’s clearly the product of a showrunner willing to take risks, something we still don’t see nearly enough of even in what should be the more creatively robust world of streaming television. Give me a series that takes big swings and I'll forgive it for missing a few pitches. Recalling everything from “Wild Palms” to “ Lost Highway ,” “Brand New Cherry Flavor” will be far too strange for a lot of Netflix subscribers—this is a good thing.
Co-creator Nick Antosca (with Lenore Zion) knows a thing or two about weird TV, having delivered on of the most underrated horror programs of the 2010s in “Channel Zero.” He brings that show’s energy to some of “Brand New Cherry Flavor,” a show based on the novel of the same name by Todd Grimson that will never offer an explanation for its title. The increasingly great Salazar (“Undone,” “ Alita: Battle Angel ”) does the best work yet of her career as Lisa Nova, a young filmmaker who has come to Los Angeles with dreams of bringing her visions to life. Before she gets the chance, she’s beset upon by a predator named Lou Burke ( Eric Lange ), a power player who promises to make her dreams come true but ends up being truly evil. Lisa turns to a mysterious figure named Boro ( Catherine Keener ) to get revenge, and then things get really weird. Manny Jacinto , having a great month with this and “Nine Perfect Strangers” co-stars, and then the great character actor Patrick Fischler shows up later in the season to remind viewers even more of one of Lynch’s masterpieces.
“Brand New Cherry Flavor” is almost impossible to adequately describe in narrative terms. Lisa starts vomiting kittens. There are actual zombies. A character from Lisa’s past returns in a subplot clearly designed to bring to mind “Saint Joan” and Jean Seberg (and the on-set trauma) for movie fans. Keener is the source of most of the magical stuff and I’m not fully convinced by every acting decision this typically strong performer makes here, especially early in the series when she seems to be playing weird a bit too directly, but Salazar always brings the show back into focus, even when it’s narratively going off the rails. She’s a fantastically present performer, selling the surreal aspects of Lisa’s journey without overplaying them with melodrama. She seems to be actually thinking, feeling, and responding instead of winking at the audience. It’s essential to the success of the show that it has a center that holds while everything goes mad around it, and Salazar understands that.
The first half of the season focuses a bit too heavily on just the battle between Lou and Lisa, but the shows gets stronger as it spins off into stranger flights of fancy in the second half, including a visit to Boro’s past and the aforementioned former of collaborator of Lisa’s. The old joke about Los Angeles is that no one was actually born there, coming to the city of angels from small towns around the world, bringing their own baggage on the trip. “Brand New Cherry Flavor” captures this feeling of displaced trauma, people who struggle to make connections as they run from demons they left in their wake. And yet it’s not a depressing show, often coming to life in gory, fascinating flights of humor and wit.
The truth is that “Brand New Cherry Flavor” only frustrated me when I felt slight twinges of trepidation regarding its tone. Especially in the first half, it's almost like the show really wants to get as crazy as “Twin Peaks: The Return” but someone, possibly Netflix, is holding it back from living up to its surreal potential. I’m not sure if I just adjusted to the fine line the show walks between realistic scenes of dialogue from fully-realized characters and puking kittens, or if it really does get more confident in its tone management as the season goes on. Either way, the last couple episodes are thrilling in a way that makes me want to taste more of this flavor of television as soon as possible.
Whole series screened for review .
Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.
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The Ending Of Brand New Cherry Flavor Explained
Spoilers ahead for Netflix's "Brand New Cherry Flavor."
Netflix's latest limited series, "Brand New Cherry Flavor," is arguably one of the most disturbing, twisted, and just plain gross television shows you'll watch all year. It also happens to be one of the most fascinating horror entries of 2021. Adapted from Todd Grimson's late '90s novel of the same name, the limited series comes from creators and "Channel Zero" alums Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion. "Brand New Cherry Flavor" stars Rosa Salazar ("Alita: Battle Angel"), Eric Lange ("Perry Mason"), Catherine Keener ("Get Out"), Jeff Ward ("Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."), and Manny Jacinto ("The Good Place").
Over the course of eight episodes, we're taken back to the Hollywood of the early 1990s. The story follows Lisa Nova (Salazar), a young filmmaker who gains the attention of fading film producer Lou Burke (Lange) through her shocking horror short film. Lou takes an interest in Lisa and offers her a deal to develop her short into a feature-length film, with the promise to have her direct the movie and mentor her. Lou's predatory side quickly reveals itself when he makes a pass at Lisa after weeks of mentoring her. She rejects him, but his bruised ego leads him to box Lisa out of working on her own movie. Devastated, Lisa seeks revenge with the help of Boro (Keener), an enigmatic dark magic practitioner whose offer to hurt Lou comes at a high price.
As Lisa battles it out with Lou (and eventually Boro), she gets sucked deeper into the macabre underbelly of Hollywood, where magic, deadly spirits, and zombies (yes, zombies) mingle amongst human affairs. To fully understand the finale, we need to take a closer look at Lisa's feuds with Lou and Boro, as well as analyze the meaning behind the show's surreal events.
Lisa wins her deadly power struggle with Lou
"Brand New Cherry Flavor" begins and ends with the fraught, frequently violent power struggle between Lisa Nova and Lou Burke. After forming a bond through Boro's dark magic, Lisa begins her revenge attempts with some shocking attacks: Phantom insect bites, incurable hiccups, and causing the director Lou picked to direct her movie to spontaneously combust at one of Lou's parties. Things escalate when Lou's son, Jonathan, is taken to the hospital and is preyed upon by one of Boro's many zombie guards. Believing Lisa is the person who ordered his son to be turned into a zombie, Lou turns murderous. He arranges for a hitman to kill Lisa, but the job is botched when Jonathan, who feels tied to Lisa, walks in on the attempted hit and Lisa is left for dead.
Meanwhile, Lou's health is spiraling downward after snorting what appeared to be a magical tapeworm amidst a batch of fake cocaine gifted to him by Lisa. As the tapeworm eats away at his brain, Lou grows weaker and more manic. After Lisa recovers her health thanks to a healing milk bath at Boro's, she resolves to kill Lou once and for all. Lisa is given a key to Lou's room at the Bel Air Hotel after having a surreal conversation with the spirit of her mother (more on that in a sec) in the chamber underneath her apartment. Lisa goes to Lou's hotel room, confronts him, and gets him to confess his motivations for ruining her life; her rejection of him made him feel "small." Although disgusted, Lisa eventually gets the last laugh when she removes the tapeworm from Lou's eye and it is revealed in the finale he has gone completely blind.
Lisa narrowly escapes Boro's clutches, but she's not in the clear
Turns out, things between Lisa and Boro are even trickier than Lisa's battle against Lou. Midway through the limited series, Boro reveals she is much older than she appears. In fact, Boro's consciousness has been hopping from host body to host body for centuries and merely inhabits a missing housewife's body at the present. In the final act, which roughly begins at Episode 6, Boro heals Lisa from the murder attempt by one of Lou's hitmen. As Lisa recovers, Boro tells her a story about a man in South America who sought out a mystical jaguar to give him what he desired. The jaguar helped fulfill his wishes but demanded the man give his wife to the animal as part of the payment. The man tricked the jaguar, leading to a struggle between the two for power. Boro says that this man was a body she once inhabited, thus drawing a subtle connection between Lisa's fight with Lou and Boro's fight with the jaguar; this stuff is cyclical, man.
Later, Lisa meets the spirit of the jaguar in a dark chamber that magically appeared under her apartment earlier in the show. As she talks with the spirit, it reveals itself to be Lisa's mother, whom she had never met before. Lisa is forever changed by the encounter and resolves to seek revenge against Boro for the pain she caused in deceiving her. However, Lisa's planned confrontation with Boro is ultimately botched. In the end, Boro attempts to take over Lisa's body but fails to do so. Lisa escapes Boro's house and eventually, Boro just takes over the body of Mary, the actress in Lisa's short film who was also wronged by Lisa and seeking revenge against her.
Brand New Cherry Flavor is ultimately about the allure, dynamics, and price of power
"Brand New Cherry Flavor" wears its cinematic and literary influences on its sleeve and through them, helps us understand what it's attempting to say. David Cronenberg's body horror, David Lynch's fascination with the dark underworld of shiny Los Angeles, and even Bret Easton Ellis' morbid fascination with the ruling class in Hollywood are all filters through which "Brand New Cherry Flavor" examines what it means to seek out and effectively wield power in Los Angeles, a place many movies and TV shows have repeatedly depicted as a hollow, morally bankrupt city.
Lisa's quest to find power through successfully getting her movie made devolves into a quest to regain the power Lou stole from her in both his mental and physical manipulations. Their feud takes the form of a haunting, #MeToo-esque struggle as Lisa works through Lou's predatory betrayal. Between Lisa and Boro, there is a supernatural battle for power, as Lisa tries to find power through magic and Boro tries to gain control over Lisa — much like Lou attempted — in every way possible. The kittens that Lisa coughs up as payment to Boro symbolize the grim toll of the Faustian bargain Lisa has made with Boro for revenge; In order to hurt Lou, Lisa must surrender another piece of her innocent self.
In the end, "Brand New Cherry Flavor" — a cheeky title poking fun at the state in which one arrives in L.A. before being worn down by all its darkness — tells us that it's hard to win a power battle. Instead, merely escaping with your life and trying to find peace in the fallout is perhaps the best you can hope for.
‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ TV Review: Netflix’s Gothic Horror Series Is Ballsy But Hollow
Catherine Keener hams it up as a witch in a show set in early-’90s Hollywood
Few things are more frustrating to watch than a show that is all style and very little substance. But the themes of Netflix’s new Gothic horror series, “Brand New Cherry Flavor,” are so resonant and timely that it wouldn’t be entirely fair to accuse it of that offense even though it makes no good use of them. Instead, the show overcompensates by using horror staples like the undead, a witch’s curse and a classic rock soundtrack to cover up what it lacks — a point.
And yet the premise is so promising! Creators Lenore Zion and Nick Antosca present a dark fiction piece set in early-’90s Los Angeles that hinges on the terrible treatment of female filmmakers whose work is often ignored or even co-opted by greedy, old white men with more clout. This still happens, with myriad think pieces interrogating the problem, and particularly to young non-American directors like the protagonist in “Brand New Cherry Flavor.” Exploring their boiling hot rage on account of this is ripe for genre material.
But does this show really do that? Eh, not really. The series centers on Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar), a young director from Brazil who’s just stepped foot in the City of Angels with a finished film that’s so wonderful that it immediately catches the attention of award-winning auteur Lou Burke (Eric Lange). He entices her with a bunch of industry speak about how he can bring it to the right hands, while being extra touchy with her bare leg. Though Lisa mercifully pushes his hand away, he takes it as a slight and ends up stealing her film and putting his name on it.
It’s infuriating and devastating, obviously. And Lisa has every right to want to, as she puts it, “set his life on fire.” She came all the way to Hollywood to achieve success and her first whiff of it is unpleasant. On top of that, she feels she has something to prove to her estranged mother whom she never really met (more on that in a bit). Since it’s, well, L.A., Lisa stumbles across a witch named Boro (Catherine Keener, in perhaps her hammiest role yet), of sorts, and takes her up on her offer to sabotage Lou.
From there, “Brand New Cherry Flavor” goes from a sizzling feminist diatribe that immediately hooks you with its premise to a woman terrified of her own power — and that of the totally berserk woman she ill-advisedly turned to for sweet, sweet revenge. Boro, as we learn, is living a double life in what looks like a creepy greenhouse that she’s populated with zombies that she uses as pets/servants. Kudos to production designer Troy Hansen, who really makes Lisa’s every visit to Boro’s lair look wilder than the last time.
There are many things in “Brand New Cherry Flavor” that can whet most horror fans’ appetites, including vines growing out of Lisa’s apartment into what appears to be a dungeon, a sex remedy, her throwing up kittens at Boro’s ill wil, and phantasma lurking around every corner (or at the dinner table). Zion and Antosca are clearly throwing everything at the wall here to see what sticks.
But not much does. The series is fun to watch, but it runs away from itself around the midway point when things hit the fan for Lisa and the curse goes totally awry. Boro becomes the master in Lisa’s story of vengeance, while Lou, on to Lisa early on, wages his own violent war against her supernatural one.
It’s a lot. Meanwhile, the maternal themes — one between Lisa and Boro and another between Lisa and her real mom — come into greater focus before the writers drop the ball. Is Lisa really trying to prove something to her mother, or is she subconsciously desperate for any kind of support, even the grisly kind? She slips into Boro’s clutches pretty quickly.
But what about her rage at Lou because he’s the jerk who plundered her art? That’s still, well, part of the story. But there are so many other things flying around in “Brand New Cherry Flavor” that you almost forget that there is a whole film to recoup. The film itself, and its actress, Mary Gray (Siena Werber), have their own subplots in a series that continues to unravel with empty suspense and dark rooms. What’s missing is Lisa’s humanity. She’s arguably the only “normal” character, aside from her best friend (played by Manny Jacinto, in a thankless role), yet she’s written so one-dimensionally that we’re forced to rely on the effects to uplift eight increasingly wild episodes. It just doesn’t.
As fun and ballsy as it is at times, “Brand New Cherry” reads disappointingly hollow.
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[Review] Netflix’s “Brand New Cherry Flavor” Is ‘Mulholland Dr.’ Meets “Channel Zero” and It’s Glorious
Netflix’s horror opus is a lucid love letter to revenge that thrives on nightmare logic, unhinged performances, and Hollywood’s fake veneer.
“Curses aren’t real.”
There’s a line of dialogue early on in Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion ’s Brand New Cherry Flavor where a character innocently remarks, “You know those nights where every twenty minutes you wake up from a different dream?” That feeling is exactly the chaotic, dizzying, surrealist energy that courses through Brand New Cherry Flavor at every single moment.
Brand New Cherry Flavor begins in an aggressive place that only grows more visceral. It’s full of moody sequences that are bathed in neon light and juxtaposed with uncomfortably extreme close-ups of the human body. It’s the non-existent Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk adaptation that you didn’t know you wanted from a story that’s more layered than what either of them could devise. It’s what Neon Demon should have been. It’s a series that bursts with a glossy look and satirical sheen that’s gloriously in excess. The art design, costumes, and every inch of set dressing work overtime, but in a way that feels infinitely natural. It simultaneously contains some of the wildest visuals and ideas from Antosca’s ( Channel Zero, Hannibal, The Act ) oeuvre that unravel in a slow Rube Goldberg-like nature that shows that revenge–and curses–take time to be done right. And boy does Brand New Cherry Flavor do it right. It’s a neon-soaked nightmare-fueled exploration of identity, sexuality, and the artificial constructs that perpetuate their exploitation.
Brand New Cherry Flavor is largely filtered through the erratic personality of Lisa Nova ( Rosa Salazar ) in her efforts to take 1990s Hollywood by storm. She’s convinced that her hot, new independent short will revolutionize the film industry. This is a story about the inherent power that not only exists inside of women, but how people are desperate to sap this strength for themselves. It’s a perspective that fits Hollywood like a sequined glove as fabricated personalities struggle to sell themselves and their art, but more importantly, learn to accentuate how the spectacular can be hiding in plain sight. Lisa Nova is a character that’s overly ripe when it comes to her desires for the real her to be seen, but it’s also accompanied by a white-hot rage that festers whenever this version of herself is denied and belittled.
Lisa’s discouraging journey begins in a manner that’s meant to feel intentionally traditional and common. Thousands of naïve, optimistic ingenues experience this every year in Los Angeles. She’s repeatedly told that she’s just one in a million. Lisa’s pedestrian origins only strengthen her gradual transformation that asserts why she’s anything but ordinary and actually a phenomenal and unpredictable agent of change. Brand New Cherry Flavor scratches at the surface of complex territory with Lisa’s manipulation and her subsequent revenge plans. It’s naturally difficult to see her get abused, but the actions that she takes are arguably overkill. This forces the audience to reckon with whether Lisa deserves to achieve any of this or if she’s somehow even worse than those that she takes down. Perhaps humility and better coping skills would be a far healthier plan of attack for Lisa.
The audience innately empathizes with Lisa, but each episode entertains the idea that maybe the best solution to all of this would be for her to be taken down. Would audiences rally so hard behind John Wick if the villain just took away the final cut from his debut film rather than killing his dog? That’s almost the question that Brand New Cherry Flavor asks its audience to consider, which seems insane, but it actually makes perfect sense in this artificial world that it constructs. Lisa doesn’t lose a pet, spouse, or child. She’s sad about the loss of her movie, which in Lisa’s lonely existence is more important than all of these things combined. It adds a fascinating wrinkle to this mission where it’s celluloid art that puts all of this horror in motion, which is certainly fitting with Brand New Cherry Flavor’s themes.
Brand New Cherry Flavor is a triumph of tone and upsetting imagery, but it also hits as hard as it does because of the performances that bring these characters to life. Rosa Salazar is an absolute revelation as Lisa Nova. Salazar has been an actor to watch for years now and she’s progressively gotten more exciting opportunities. However, Brand New Cherry Flavor is the showpiece that she deserves and will hopefully garner her even greater attention. She negotiates so many complicated emotions in ways that are just gutting. There are entire episodes where Lisa is strung out on a heightened drug trip and Salazar is able to maintain her wide-eyed invaluable intensity for the full runtime without any of it feeling like a repetitive schtick.
The series also negotiates the unlikely pairing between Lisa Nova and her producer, Lou Burke ( Eric Lange ), who are at opposite ends of this, but have similar passions. Their relationship gets poisoned in the way that L.A. can taint and misrepresent the many things that get fetishized by Lisa and the people that are in the social circles which she strives to enter. To Brand New Cherry Flavor’s credit, it strangely finds a way to almost humanize Lou after it seemingly pushes him to beyond the point of redemption.
Brand New Cherry Flavor is Rosa Salazar’s show to steal, but Catherine Keener as the mysterious Boro is also on a whole other level. This is some of the best work that she’s ever done, which is saying something for the consistent actress. It honestly feels like she’s doing her best Lin Shaye impression as her character walks out of the eerie party from Lost Highway. She’s absolutely chilling and Keener needs to tackle more horror. Boro’s backstory grows increasingly fascinating and it routinely subverts the expectations of what it looks like it’s setting up.
In Brand New Cherry Flavor , Lou tries to force intimacy with Lisa, but the series is also very interested in the shared bond between punisher and sufferer. It argues that there’s inherent pain in intimacy and that it’s its own form of collective trauma. There are some overwhelming sequences that juxtapose pain on top of each other as a way to connect abuser and victim in a disturbingly powerful way. It’s moving that Lisa’s roaring rampage of revenge causes such significant fallout and sheds so much blood, yet at its core, this is just a story about acceptance and culpability that any person can relate with on some level. Brand New Cherry Flavor just delivers it in such haunting and uncomfortable ways that effectively emulate Lisa’s surreal trip to Hollywood.
All of Nick Antosca’s previous horror projects are goldmines of nightmare fuel. Brand New Cherry Flavor dips its cloven hoof into voodoo and witchcraft territory that feels both genuinely upsetting and original. It forces a look inward which prompts great character studies in a natural way. The horror series also has the impeccable ability to take innocuous things like cats or plants and turn them into supernatural conduits of dread. Brand New Cherry Flavor evokes a lot of haunted magical realism, but in the best way possible. It feels like a curse gets unleashed early on in the series and this heavy dread is felt more in every entry.
Brand New Cherry Flavor also contains one of the most disturbing mixes of body horror and sexual expression since Crash or Videodrome . Cronenberg gets explicitly name-dropped in the series, but this show deserves kudos for what it contributes to the subset of horror. It’s unreal. Admittedly, there are few situational scares that feel slightly contrived in their executions, like how Lisa’s Ayahuasca-esque drug trip just happens to come with a side effect of Cenobites. At the same time, these visuals are still super effective so they’re easy to excuse.
All of the directors, which includes Gandja Monteiro, Jake Schreier, Matt Sobel (the director of the upcoming Goodnight Mommy remake), and Arkasha Stevenson ( Legion, Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block ), guarantee every episode is filled with arresting imagery. The series also makes exceptional use of cover songs to recognizable music, which continues to hammer in the series’ themes of transformation.
Netflix has a reliable roster of limited series horror programming that makes offerings like Brand New Cherry Flavor easy to give a chance. However, Brand New Cherry Flavor is such a frightening, refreshing change of pace. Just when it feels like the series verges on predictability it takes a wicked turn and at only eight episodes it doesn’t suffer any problems with pacing. Brand New Cherry Flavor tells an important, timely story that often feels like a new season of Channel Zero , but with an even bigger scope and mission to provoke. Brand New Cherry Flavor provides the perfect taste for horror fans, and audiences won’t ever want to cleanse their palates.
All eight episodes of “Brand New Cherry Flavor” premiere on August 13th, only on Netflix.
Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer, comedian, and critic, whose work can be read on Splitsider, Bloody Disgusting, Den of Geek, ScreenRant, and across the Internet. Daniel knows that "Psycho II" is better than the original and that the last season of "The X-Files" doesn't deserve the bile that it conjures. If you want a drink thrown in your face, talk to him about "Silent Night, Deadly Night Part II," but he'll always happily talk about the "Puppet Master" franchise. The owls are not what they seem.
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How Arrow’s ‘Hellraiser: Bloodline’ Workprint Drastically Alters and Improves the Sequel As We Know It
The fourth installment of the Hellraiser franchise, Hellraiser: Bloodline , was the last film of the series to be released theatrically. It was also notorious for its troubled production, eventually leading director Kevin Yagher to walk away when Miramax demanded reshoots. Miramax then brought in Joe Chappelle to complete the film.
When Yagher saw the finished cut of Hellraiser: Bloodline , post reshoots, it’d become so removed from his vision that he had his name removed from the credits using the Alan Smithee pseudonym, as did Chappelle. While Yagher’s version of the prequel/sequel is lost to time, Arrow’s Hellraiser: Bloodline Workprint assembles the footage Yagher shot, offering fans the closest we’ll ever get to a Director’s Cut. Arrow’s workprint makes for a more coherent and fascinating version of the troubled franchise installment.
Hellraiser: Bloodline spans time, tracing a family lineage that began with Philippe “Toymaker” LeMarchand and his creation of the infamous puzzle box. LeMarchand’s descendants, John Merchant in 1996 and Dr. Paul Merchant in 2127, find themselves tormented by dreams and memories, compelled to build even more elaborate versions of the Lament Configuration. That makes their bloodline (each iteration played by Bruce Ramsey ) an inherent threat to Hell, drawing the attention of summoned demon Angelique ( Valentina Vargas ) and Pinhead ( Doug Bradley ).
Frequently referred to as “Hellraiser in Space” thanks to the reshoots placing prominent emphasis on this storyline, the theatrical cut toggles between the three timelines and opens with the 2127 events. It creates an almost dream logic vibe as it bounces around from outer space to the late 18th century and then back to the present. The purpose of these overlapping timelines was to answer Miramax’s demands that Pinhead play a more prominent role; making 2127 the bookending timeline allowed Pinhead to appear much sooner in the runtime.
The workprint mostly plays chronologically, opening in 1796 to trace the origins of the Lament Configuration and the inciting summoning of Angelique that unwittingly curses LeMarchand’s bloodline. The workprint also completely changes the relationship between Angelique and Pinhead; what was hinted to be seductive in the theatrical becomes full-blown antagonistic and violent in the new version. Playing the events mostly in order, save for a few flashback sequences to 18th-century France, highlights how long Angelique has been away from Hell by the time she summons Pinhead in 1996. Important plot beats and emotional moments are expanded or added for larger impact, too. It’s not just the entire structure that’s reworked, but the finer details.
Ideologies have shifted massively in Angelique’s 200-year absence, highlighting the opposing nature of Angelique and Pinhead. Angelique prefers the slow, seductive game, while the no-nonsense Pinhead takes pleasure in pain and suffering; he has no time for her games. It’s this antagonistic relationship that makes the workprint so engaging; their conflicting ideologies constantly work to undermine their tenuous alliance to neutralize the Merchant bloodline permanently.
Not only do these characters get further fleshed out through this alternate cut, but it also clarifies a lot of choices made in the theatrical version. In this case, it underscores the bid for power between two headstrong demons, adding different context and weight to Angelique’s eventual transformation into Cenobite upon her return to Hell.
Arrow makes it abundantly clear that the workprint is absolutely not the Director’s Cut, despite having Kevin Yagher’s name listed as director in the credits. It’s presented from a timecoded VHS and assembles alternate material, rearranges the plot structure, and employs temporary music and sound effects to help bridge the gap between Peter Atkins’s initial screenplay and the final theatrical cut that was so removed from the original concept that Yagher scrubbed his name from the project. More than just a compelling look at what might’ve been, it presents insight into the post-production process and how films shift at every stage of development.
While it’s a shame that a true Director’s Cut of the film is impossible, Arrow’s workprint is an absolute gift to fans. It’s an alternate vision that drastically changes the tone, structure, and even the characters depicted in the theatrical cut. That this gem is nestled within Arrow’s Hellraiser: Quartet of Torment boxed set that features all-new 4k restorations of the theatrically released Hellraiser films makes this one of the easiest recommendations of the year.
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Brand new cherry flavor, common sense media reviewers.
Stylish horror drama has sexual harassment, assault.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages about surviving and living with
Characters show resilience, tenacity, self-relianc
The main cast features few people of color, and ac
Violence is shown throughout. A woman is brutally
Sexual content includes dialogue about sex, some n
Profanity is used throughout: "f--k," "s--t," "bit
Some product placement is shown in Brand New Cherr
Characters are seen drinking alcohol, smoking, usi
Parents need to know that Brand New Cherry Flavor is a horror drama about an aspiring filmmaker who turns to witchcraft to enact revenge on a producer. The series takes place in the 1990s and draws inspiration from a wide range of classic -- mostly cult -- horror movies. David Lynch's 1997 film Lost…
Positive messages about surviving and living with trauma.
Positive Role Models
Characters show resilience, tenacity, self-reliance, and business savvy.
The main cast features few people of color, and actors seem to be typecast by race in most cases; for example, the people in positions of power are all played by actors who present as White.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is shown throughout. A woman is brutally choked by a man, someone is hired to harm another person, a dead animal is shown being eaten by other animals, etc. However, Brand New Cherry Flavor generally seems to be more on the creepy side of the horror spectrum than the gory side.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content includes dialogue about sex, some nudity, and sexual harassment and manipulation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
Profanity is used throughout: "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Some product placement is shown in Brand New Cherry Flavor, at least partly to establish the '90s time period.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are seen drinking alcohol, smoking, using marijuana, and discussing other drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brand New Cherry Flavor is a horror drama about an aspiring filmmaker who turns to witchcraft to enact revenge on a producer. The series takes place in the 1990s and draws inspiration from a wide range of classic -- mostly cult -- horror movies. David Lynch's 1997 film Lost Highway , for example, is a major influence on the first episode. The series seems more interested in the creepy side of horror, as opposed to the gory side, giving it more in common with horror-adjacent work like Hereditary (2018) or Mandy (2018) than with slasher flicks like the Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street series. The show does feature violence and sexual content throughout, including the physical assault and sexual harassment that launches the main character's revenge plot.
Where to Watch
Videos and photos.
- Parents say (1)
- Kids say (1)
Based on 1 parent review
Gave me nightmares and I'm 47
What's the story.
BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR begins with Lisa Nova ( Rosa Salazar ) arriving in Los Angeles, fresh off of shooting her first short film and ready to make her way into the industry as a writer-director. Sure enough, her first meeting with big-shot producer Lou Burke ( Eric Lange ) nets her a contract to make a feature film. But when Burke betrays her, Lisa appeals to the mysterious Boro ( Catherine Keener ) for help exacting her supernatural revenge.
Is It Any Good?
From the very beginning, this show has no shortage of style or confidence, from its luminous cinematography to its cult movie visual references to the 1990s art direction and needle drops. But as it goes along, Brand New Cherry Flavor begins to feel more like a horror pastiche along the lines of a less-campy American Horror Story . The revenge plot feels very familiar and soon the story starts to meander. Ultimately it feels more interested in hitting as many genre touchpoints as possible (which can be satisfying in its own way) than in thriving on its own merits.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why Brand New Cherry Flavor is set in the 1990s. What might the title be referring to? How does the film industry setting affect the rest of the story? Are there other horror movies set in the horror movie industry?
What are Lisa Nova's goals? What drives her? Why does she want revenge? How does her quest for revenge change her?
What are some ways that horror tropes are used in Brand New Cherry Flavor ? Do you recognize nods to other films? Are the horror elements in the series part of an overarching metaphor? What is the metaphor? Why is horror the right genre to tell this particular story?
- Premiere date : August 13, 2021
- Cast : Rosa Salazar , Catherine Keener , Eric Lange
- Network : Netflix
- Genre : Drama
- TV rating : TV-MA
- Last updated : February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Brand New Cherry Flavor: Season 1 Reviews
The show takes the audience in for the ride, with its use of gore, horror and zombies; nevertheless, the uncanny and messy storyline makes it unworthy to watch it for a second view.
Full Review | Jul 20, 2023
So many elements of Brand New Cherry Flavor feel borrowed, and so much of what it has to say feel shouted.
Full Review | Original Score: C | Feb 23, 2022
What was I supposed to do, not watch a show that featured Catherine Keener as a cat witch? Yes. I was supposed to not watch this.
Full Review | Original Score: D- | Nov 19, 2021
If you're not squeamish about blood and enjoy a messy bit of mind f**kery, Brand New Cherry Flavor is a must-see. But it's definitely not for everyone.
Full Review | Oct 12, 2021
The bizarre body horror meets Hollywood satire, plus Nick Antosca's captivating visuals, makes for a potent combination. Salazar is solid, but this is 100% Catherine Keener's show. She is eating this performance up and it's great.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Oct 2, 2021
An utterly bonkers noirish thriller that is one of the best shows on Netflix right now.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5 | Oct 1, 2021
...when this eight-episode miniseries is firing on all cylinders, it's a glorious grotesque about all forms of power and exploitation that delivers all kinds of thrills and grungy majesty.
Full Review | Sep 25, 2021
There's something about the ghost of the near past, so familiar and so foreign, that's a special brand of chilling. Brand New Cherry Flavor understands.
Full Review | Sep 17, 2021
This surprising and deeply grotesque horror story is set in the '90s, and it's very much one for our times.
Full Review | Aug 27, 2021
It kind of reminded me of American Gods in a way as the line blurs and the viewer is thrust into a mind-bending world.
This show has no shortage of style or confidence... But as it goes along, Brand New Cherry Flavor begins to feel more like a horror pastiche along the lines of a less-campy American Horror Story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Aug 25, 2021
Keener as Boro and Lange as Burke are equal parts charismatic and despicable.
Full Review | Aug 25, 2021
If you like your exploitation horror served with plenty of sauce and a tincture of cheese, this should prove an over-the-top treat...A terrifically entertaining, supernaturally spiced adventure that is unashamedly low-brow and delightfully disgusting.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Aug 21, 2021
This is truly something new, fresh, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Full Review | Aug 19, 2021
There's an audience for this who are going to absolutely luxuriate in its deadpan weirdness-I just don't think it's a very large one.
Full Review | Aug 17, 2021
Give Brand New Cherry Flavor a shot is what I'm saying, I guess. And no, I don't know what the title means. But it has the right vibe, and that's all that really matters here.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Aug 17, 2021
A Brand New Cherry Flavor is a treat for the eyes, not quite so much for the brain. Something like David Lynch for the more casual crowd.
Full Review | Original Score: 6.5/10 | Aug 17, 2021
Brand New Cherry Flavor isn't the type of show I would normally watch, and it was uncomfortable getting past episode one because of the sickening animal torture, but that doesn't mean others won't enjoy this dark, magical tale.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/10 | Aug 16, 2021
Like the grungy horror and neo-noir of the '80s and '90s, Brand New Cherry Flavor luxuriates in the grime, one regurgitated kitten at a time.
Full Review | Aug 16, 2021
Even the style-over-substance horror crowd seems bound to be disappointed by Cherry Flavor.
Full Review | Aug 14, 2021
10 Movies and Shows That Prove Netflix is Still King
Posted: November 3, 2023 | Last updated: November 3, 2023
- I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is one of the best comedy shows on Netflix, pushing boundaries and maintaining a high Rotten Tomatoes score.
- Castlevania gets everything right as a video game adaptation, boasting visually stunning fight scenes and a compelling story.
- Netflix's diverse range of films and shows includes the surrealist masterpiece I'm Thinking of Ending Things and the genre-bending horror series Brand New Cherry Flavor.
Netflix's position as the top dog in streaming has become muddled as of late. Despite starting out as a humble DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix has ballooned to a multi-billion dollar company that has dominated the streaming space since it started allowing subscribers to instantly watch movies and TV shows back in 2007. However, with the competition ramping up and some lackluster releases , it's not surprising that some people are starting to lose confidence in the company. While some of Netflix's recent releases may not be great, the streaming service has also released a slew of great shows and movies over the last couple of years. Here are ten shows and movies that make Netflix worth revisiting.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (2019)
I think you should leave with tim robinson.
Netflix is well-known for having great comedy specials , movies, and shows. While there's a lot to choose from, I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is one of the best comedy shows to come out in recent years. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is an American comedy sketch series created by Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin.
What Makes It Great
The show's brand of unhinged humor entertained audiences from all over the world, as the show provided uninhibited fun for fans of this type of comedy. One of the main things that contributed to the show's success has to be its willingness to push the boundaries and subvert expectations. What's so impressive about it is that despite having an off-putting brand of humor — in the best way — it maintains a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Aside from great comedies, Netflix has also released a lot of wonderful anime titles over the last couple of years. Shows like Great Pretender and Devilman Crybaby are just some of the great anime to come out of Netflix. However, Castlevania is a stand-out among the rest. Based on the video game of the same name, Castlevania follows the story of the Belmonts and their fight against humanity's most dangerous predator: vampires.
Related: The Top 10 Animated Video Game Movie and TV Show Adaptations, Ranked
While video game adaptations don't usually go well, Castlevania gets everything right. If you're looking for a high-octane action show to watch, Castlevania is the perfect show for you. Not only does it boast visually stunning fight scenes, but it also features a gritty and compelling story courtesy of legendary comic book writer Warren Ellis.
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
Say what you want about Netflix, but they've released a pretty diverse range of films and shows over the last couple of years. One notable movie that highlights how great Netflix can be is 2020's I'm Thinking of Ending Things . The psychological drama, directed by Academy Award winner Charlie Kaufman, follows the story of a young woman who goes on a road trip with her boyfriend to meet his parents.
I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a surrealist masterpiece by one of the masters of the genre. This film explores themes of identity, memory, and love in a way that will leave audiences bewildered. The film is worth watching for the final sequence alone so give this a shot, and whether you love it or hate it, you'll definitely feel something.
Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021)
Netflix has always taken risks when it comes to the shows and movies that they put out. Nothing exemplifies this more than the genre-bending horror series Brand New Cherry Flavor . The show follows the story of Lisa Nova, a budding filmmaker, who arrives in Los Angeles with dreams of making her first feature film. However, after hitting rock bottom, she encounters a mysterious woman who gives her supernatural abilities to enact revenge on those who have wronged her.
Related: Brand New Cherry Flavor: 8 Most Intense Moments in the Netflix Series
The show is lauded for blending elements of horror, supernatural, and psychological thriller genres. Writing for Variety , critic Caroline Framke describes the show as, "A dark and twisty series that delights in getting truly gross," adding that Rosa Salazar's central performance is "stellar." Much like I'm Thinking of Ending Things , Brand New Cherry Flavor goes to show what great work Netflix produces when it lets its creators get weird.
The Sandman (2022)
Neil Gaiman's The Sandman is a legendary comic that has fortunately made its way to Netflix. The show follows the journey of Morpheus, an anthropomorphic representation of dreams, as he attempts to undo all the damage that has been done due to him being captured by humans for over a century.
Despite the fact that the comic was deemed unfilmable, the crew here have done a remarkable job. If you're a fan of the comic, then this show is right up your alley as it remains relatively faithful to the source material. With that being said, this show is also great for people who are unfamiliar with The Sandman .
Read Our Review: Heartstopper Season 2 Review: A Triumph in Storytelling Heartstopper is a coming-of-age romance series that's written and created by Alice Oseman and based on her webcomic and graphic novel of the same name. The show follows a teenage boy, Charlie Spring, as he goes through the ups and downs of falling in love, as he finds himself absolutely enamored by the school's star rugby player Ben.
Heartstopper is the perfect comfort show. It's the right show for people looking for a fun coming-of-age series that's both socially conscious and incredibly enjoyable. It has a unique, optimistic spirit that shines through despite how heavy the show can get sometimes.
Physical 100 (2023)
Physical 100 is unlike any reality show that you've ever seen. It's a South Korean competition series that pits one hundred competitors against each other in a contest of physical strength. What makes the show even more interesting is that the contestants are all well-known figures such as Olympians and professional bodybuilders
Aside from being entertaining, the show is actually quite compelling due to the interesting cast of contestants. To add to this, the feats of strength and speed that the contestants show off on the show are impressive to say the least. Physical 100 is the perfect show to watch if you're looking for something exciting that highlights the extreme feats that human beings are capable of.
Read Our Review: Beef Review: A Shockingly Perfect Netflix Series Beef is a comedy drama series that revolves around a road rage incident gone wrong. When Danny Cho, played by Steven Yeon, and Amy Lau, played by Ali Wong, get into an altercation on the road, their lives are changed forever when each of them dedicate their life to ruining the other's.
Beef takes audiences on a wild ride that just keeps ramping up. When you think the show can't push things even further, it defies expectations as Amy and Danny go scorched earth on one another over a simple spat on the road. What's most impressive about this series is just how far these characters are willing to go.
Read Our Review: Nimona Review: A Brilliant and Timely Adaptation of the Award-Winning Graphic Novel Nimona is a movie based on ND Stevenson's graphic novel of the same name. It revolves around the story of a shape-shifter named Nimona and the former knight Ballister Boldheart as they attempt to clear the ex-knight's name after he's framed for a crime he didn't commit.
Despite seeming like your typical fantasy movie, Nimona masterfully subverts common fantasy tropes. This refreshing take on the fantasy breathes new life in a genre that's been rather stale in the last couple of years. The talented cast of voice actors also help to bring the quirky and lovable characters of Nimona to life. Riz Ahmed, in particular, absolutely kills it as Ballister Boldheart.
One Piece (2023)
Netflix's one piece.
Read Our Review: One Piece Review: Netflix Found Itself a Treasure with Its Dynamic New Pirate Series Netflix has done the impossible and has made a great live-action adaptation of an anime. One Piece is based on Eiichiro Oda's incredibly popular manga of the same name, which had already been adapted into an anime series. It follows a group of ragtag pirates led by Monkey D. Luffy as they set off on adventure on the high seas to find the legendary treasure called the One Piece.
What's great about Netflix's live action One Piece is the amount of care and effort that evidently went into the production. The show not only captured the look of the manga, but it managed to replicate its essence. The show offers a cast of wonderfully peculiar characters and exciting action sequences that will keep even newcomers to One Piece entertained.
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