• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 19, 2011
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 28
  2. Negative: 8 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 16, 2011
    50
    Given the emphasis on soapy doings and shiny exteriors, the serial threatens to short-change its most interesting attributes, glancingly commenting on issues pertaining to sociology and the sexual revolution (such as a Bunny marveling, "I make more money than my father") while lacking the latitude to truly probe them.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 19, 2011
    40
    The sobering truth is that sometimes when you mix too many colors, you don't get a brighter rainbow. You get dark gray. Or, in this case, a supersize soap opera.
  3. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 19, 2011
    50
    If the show can rein in some of its more outrageous plot tendencies and focus on music and social issues, it could grow into a Club viewers will want to frequent.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 20, 2011
    40
    An insipid and unconvincing attempt to position bunnies at the forefront of a social and sexual revolution.
  5. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 16, 2011
    50
    The Playboy Club plods forward with no ballast, hoping that the vibrant early '60s music and the miles of bunny cleavage will compensate for the lack of original plotting and characters.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 19, 2011
    63
    The series does have energy and narrative drive, some fun performances, and a glossy '60s eye-candy sheen. That may be enough to hold your attention while Playboy works on some of its problems.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 20, 2011
    40
    The whole thing quickly becomes hokey and a grind. Blame goes consistently to the writing.
  8. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 19, 2011
    75
    A competently made soap with some good actors and nicely staged musical numbers.
  9. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 16, 2011
    25
    Playboy Club makes the mistake of aping Mad Men's Stern social seriousness. [26 Sep 2011, p.54]
  10. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 19, 2011
    50
    Taylor does a strong job of showcasing the show's main set, a recreation of the original Club, and several of the musical numbers (sometimes the Bunnies get to sing, and other times the show casts actors to play '60s musicians like Ike & Tina Turner) really pop. But the show's attempts at social relevance ring hollow, and the main plot leans too heavily on the wooden Cibrian.
  11. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Sep 19, 2011
    50
    The acting isn't great, some of the hundreds of subplots aren't bad, but this ain't "Mad Men" and Cibrian and Heard are no Jon Hamm and January Jones despite their desperate attempt to be.
  12. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 19, 2011
    58
    NBC, together with Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind"), tries to duplicate the success of AMC's "Mad Men" but cribs the wrong details with a woefully untalented cast, mixed feminist messages and a melodrama that is at times laugh-out-loud funny.
  13. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 16, 2011
    50
    Subtract its clunky dialogue, ludicrous plot devices and empowerment nonsense, and you're left with its heightened sense of pulchritude.
  14. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 16, 2011
    25
    Unless the writing of the show improves exponentially, it may not be around long enough for us to remember the characters' first names, much less learn their last.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Sep 19, 2011
    30
    The Playboy Club is nothing but a tarted-up mob drama; the bunnies may be used as the marketing and milieu but the main narrative is about the men, and no one seems aware of the irony.
  16. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 16, 2011
    42
    An ambitious but ultimately weak attempt to set an ensemble drama inside Hugh Hefner's hallowed, smoke-filled nightclub of early 1960s Chicago.
  17. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 19, 2011
    60
    As a kind of CSI: Sleaze City, the show is quite watchable.
  18. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Sep 19, 2011
    0
    What was one of the worst drama pilots of the fall is now one of the worst for slightly, superficially different reasons.
  19. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Sep 20, 2011
    30
    They want to be both fun and edifying and end up being neither, and style-wise, they feel too much like Wikipedia entries with actors. The series might have managed to overcome these problems (partly, at least) if it had a a strong point-of-view, however conflicted, toward what it's showing us. But it doesn't.
  20. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Sep 19, 2011
    50
    What we get is an unwieldy and mostly humdrum combination of mob tale and backstage musical.
  21. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Sep 16, 2011
    63
    The bottom line is this isn't a show you tune into for sophisticated narrative, innovative plot twists and complex characters. It's a sexy, soapy period drama that's as fluffy as the tails on its buxom stars' backsides.
  22. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Sep 19, 2011
    10
    For viewers looking for a solid hour long drama, it is one more thing not to watch.
  23. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Sep 19, 2011
    63
    Some might say the show is overstuffed with stories, but I had no problem following the various strands, even if some were less interesting than others.
  24. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Sep 16, 2011
    80
    A sharply drawn and riveting one from the evidence on hand, and bolstered by a skilled cast. This club should lure plenty of customers, television-viewing variety. They'll have good reason.
  25. The Playboy Club isn't in the same league, or even the same galaxy, as the critically adored "Mad Men." While the latter offers nuance and depth and keen insights into its era, the former settles for stock characters, cliches and superficiality, punctuated by a lot of come-hither looks.
  26. Reviewed by: Nancy Franklin
    Sep 26, 2011
    30
    I said that The Playboy Club might be promising. Guess what? I lied.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrea Reiher
    Sep 19, 2011
    70
    The Playboy Club is fun fare. The show could really take off if it chooses to not only be fun, but also explore the various frontiers the 1960s backdrop provides.
  28. Reviewed by: Renee Scolaro Mora
    Sep 19, 2011
    30
    While options during the era were surely limited, the show's broad strokes don't do justice to the choices women were making, or their self-awareness while making them.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Dec 30, 2011
    3
    I tried to like this show - I was hoping for something engaging and entertaining but after persisting with it I have given it the flick. The reason? The constant glorification and sanctification of Hef. The man made lots of money off **** and ass... fine, I can accept that - but please, stop the revisionist butt-kissing which paints the man as some sort of social champion, changing the world, curing it's ills, empowering women and supporting special interest groups. The whole thing comes off reeking of a self-serving propaganda piece as opposed to the entertaining show it could have been. Full Review »
  2. Sep 24, 2011
    5
    Not as bad as I pictured it. Of course I've always viewed the entire Playboy empire as a bit of a farce. Hefner (or the Heff-like narrator) tries to sell himself as a pioneer of civil and women's rights while he has women prancing around with bunny ears and cotton tails sticking out of their bums. I wonder how many times the phrase "like Madmen" was tossed around during the writers meetings? Full Review »
  3. Nov 5, 2011
    9
    I really liked this show, certainly was better than most of the other new shows out there. I can't believe they pulled it after 3 weeks. Thought it was well made and had some good drama going on, not to mention some good eye candy. Hopefully the rest of the series will be out on DVD Full Review »