Teen mystery drama “Cruel Summer” may be your next binge – or maybe not – according to critics.
The first two episodes of the Freeform thriller series executive produced by Jessica Biel along with Michelle Purple and Max Winkler premiered Tuesday. The show is also available on Hulu. Set in a small town of Skylin, Texas in the 1990s, “Cruel Summer” tells the story of Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia), an awkward and shy teenager who may be involved in the kidnapping of the town’s popular girl, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt).
The time-hopping show has so far received positive reviews with a Fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes
Kristen Lopez of Indie Wire gave the show a B+ rating and praised Holt as “the real surprise” of the show that “will easily snatch up fans of ‘Pretty Little Liars.'”
“Holt takes on an angrier characterization that’s compelling to watch,” she writes. “This is a delicious slice of fun akin to a great beach read.”
Review:Kate Winslet’s ‘Mare of Easttown’ is far better than any detective show should be
To binge or not to binge?:Why it’s a good thing Netflix, Disney+ are releasing some shows weekly
Variety’s Daniel D’Addario also praised “Cruel Summer” for its ability to “tell a story that moves in unexpected directions.”
“Thanks to an agile cast and a willingness to push for the unexpected response, ‘Cruel Summer’ ends up a pleasant surprise: A show with a grabby premise but also a great deal on its mind.”
Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly, who reviewed the show last week, called it “addictive and fresh.”
“Aurelia and Holt embody their slippery characters with unwavering assurance through every phase of the narrative,” she wrote, adding that “Aurelia’s transformation from kid to bitter creep is especially striking.”
However, not all the reviews were positive. The Hollywood Reporter’s Inkoo Kang offered a more mixed review, commending the actresses’ performances but noting its “predictable” plot.
“It’s certainly a smart and tantalizing concept to construct a show around. But as with a Tamagotchi, you always feel like you should be having more fun than you are.”
CNN’s Brian Lowry similarly gave a less optimistic review.
In his own words, “the four previewed episodes continue to deliver unexpected turns and crumbs of information, planting the hook deep enough to sustain curiosity about where all this is heading, with the disclaimer that the aforementioned dramas ran out of creative gas pretty quickly.”