• Network: NETFLIX
  • Series Premiere Date: Nov 19, 2021
Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 27
  2. Negative: 9 out of 27
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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Graeme Virtue
    Nov 19, 2021
    80
    It all adds up to an enjoyable feeling of anything-goes delirium. At a time when popular sci-fi has gone gritty and self-consciously “dark”, the caffeinated fever dream of Cowboy Bebop feels like a loving distillation of the original and a breath of fresh air.
  2. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Nov 16, 2021
    76
    The pilot of Cowboy Bebop, which is based on a beloved anime series, is acceptable. ... But as Cowboy Bebop figures itself out, it proves to be an excellent vehicle for star John Cho’s charisma and range. ... The last few episodes are sensational, blending action and character development with a lyrical noir sensibility and the moody tension of an idiosyncratic thriller.
  3. Reviewed by: Nina Metz
    Nov 19, 2021
    75
    If you’re able to watch it with eyes unencumbered by comparisons, it’s a hoot.
  4. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Nov 18, 2021
    75
    As a live-action adaptation of a hugely popular series, it's often jauntier and funnier than the root stock, the violence even more outlandish and cartoonish. Hardcore fans of the animé series may be disappointed by the liberties taken but a much wider audience — the one that never __watched animé — probably won't be. Flat-out entertaining.
  5. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Nov 18, 2021
    75
    The live-action “Bebop” is at its best in episodes three through eight where the bounty-of-the-week stories build camaraderie among the Bebop crew and their adopted Corgi, Ein.
  6. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Nov 15, 2021
    70
    It’s a hangout show as much as it is a thriller, a space opera, and so on. And it’s good at nearly all these things. Every time it seems as if none of these elements should make sense together, especially in live action, Cowboy Bebop goes sprinting off a cliff, refusing to look down at the void, and just keeps moving forward.
  7. Reviewed by: Toussaint Egan
    Nov 15, 2021
    58
    As much as the live-action Cowboy Bebop attempts to create its own identity and take on its characters and universe respective to the Cowboy Bebop anime, the strongest parts of the show are not what it adds in, but rather what it lifts wholesale from the original.
  8. Reviewed by: Christian Holub
    Nov 15, 2021
    58
    The new Cowboy Bebop will probably excite anyone who's never seen the original anime, and those who have might be tickled by all the homages and recreations. But in each case, it'd be more fulfilling to move Netflix's cursor one spot over and check out the original series.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Nov 19, 2021
    50
    The series has a routine professionalism that serves it well in its lighter moments but doesn’t alleviate the drudgery of its later episodes. ... In its resolute ordinariness, the main value of this new “Bebop” would be to drive you back to watch the old one.
  10. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Nov 18, 2021
    50
    John Cho deserves a better show. Not that “Cowboy Bebop” is awful. It isn’t. It’s just typical. ... It also doesn’t help that the dialogue is uneven and stilted at times. Smooth talking characters need to talk smoothly.
  11. 50
    [Cho] has the unique ability to ground an absurd premise but also rise to its ludicrous demands, and his duality is the most rewarding component of the uneven, much-awaited Netflix adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. ... In this new form, it flirts with being just another Netflix action series, with accompanying mid-season bloat, liminal dialogue, and sexless sex scenes.
  12. Reviewed by: Clint Worthington
    Nov 15, 2021
    42
    In trying to thread the needle between both approaches, the new Cowboy Bebop tries to serve two masters and ends up satisfying neither.
  13. Reviewed by: Sam Barsanti
    Nov 15, 2021
    42
    The Netflix adaptation comes off like a cover band that kind of knows the songs and makes up for the rest by mugging to the crowd. It sucks, but at least it wants you to know it’s having some fun.
  14. Reviewed by: Max Covill
    Nov 15, 2021
    42
    Viewers returning to the “Cowboy Bebop” franchise with fond memories for the anime might enjoy their favorite episodes receiving the live-action treatment even with the above caveats, but those turning in for the first time will likely be left wondering why this was a big deal.
  15. Reviewed by: Stephen Kelly
    Dec 3, 2021
    40
    More generally, a lack of rhythm permeates much of the Cowboy Bebop remake, including the lead performance. Cho looks the part but can often struggle to muster the charisma and screen presence needed to sell Spike as an effortlessly cool rogue. Although, as already mentioned, he’s hardly helped by the show’s limp direction and scripting.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Nov 19, 2021
    40
    While the action sequences are stylishly choreographed, Cowboy Bebop finally bangs out a pretty dull tune.
  17. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Nov 15, 2021
    40
    Cho, Shakir, and Pineda really hold “Cowboy Bebop” together. When the plot is spinning its wheels, spending time with three actors this charismatic goes a long way. Sadly, the design and the writing rarely match what they bring to the table.
  18. Reviewed by: Kambole Campbell
    Nov 15, 2021
    40
    Instead of feeling like a fun remix, Cowboy Bebop is at best a just-okay cover version, and for the most part an out-of-tune rendition of the greatest hits.
  19. Reviewed by: Steven Scaife
    Nov 15, 2021
    38
    The melancholic poetry of the original series largely evaporates, leaving this version feeling somehow more cartoonish than the anime that spawned it.
  20. Reviewed by: Meghan O'Keefe
    Nov 15, 2021
    30
    All of the good things about Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop are betrayed by poor writing, uninspired action scenes, and a truly baffling obsession with the most annoying characters in the series.
  21. Reviewed by: Austin Jones
    Nov 15, 2021
    30
    Many moments in these 10 hourlong episodes go beyond just your average cringey attempt at recapturing the magic of the source material it’s based on—it’s actively grotesque in its bastardization of the original show, which has been contorted into a full-blown black comedy by writer Christopher Yost.
  22. Reviewed by: Christina Tucker
    Nov 15, 2021
    30
    What works best are the moments where Jet, Faye, and Spike just hang out, talking about everything from jazz to bathing habits to sexual preferences. ... Yet even when it attempts to delve into its characters’ inner lives, the show does so with weak writing that is neither subtle nor inspiring.
  23. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Nov 15, 2021
    30
    What’s missing from this gratuitous adaptation, which credits Watanabe as a consultant, is the atmosphere. Though it does have a certain pulpy, shoddy-chic, Doctor Who visual style and benefits greatly from a jazzy, dynamic new score by original Bebop composer Yoko Kanno, it can’t match the collage of aesthetics, vibes and cultural references that made its predecessor feel more like a dispatch from the future than an attempt to simulate it in the present.
  24. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Nov 15, 2021
    25
    “Bebop” diehards will be appalled, while newbies will struggle to imagine why people have been making such a big deal about the anime for the last 20 years. The New Zealand sets are so crummy, the cinematography so flat and colorless, and the ambiance so non-existent. ... The actors are often the only thing that pulls these episodes back from the brink of catastrophe, even if they can’t do much about the wretched dialogue.
  25. Reviewed by: Tirhakah Love
    Nov 19, 2021
    20
    As a whole, the new Cowboy Bebop is just so ploddingly inefficient and misguided, the idea that it could share the same DNA as its original is farcical. When it comes to stakes, the original is simply in another weight class.
  26. Reviewed by: Angie Han
    Nov 15, 2021
    20
    The zippy pacing has turned leaden, the sharp visuals reduced to muddy CG, the playful humor translated as phony laughter, the lived-in grittiness replaced with shoddy-looking sets. It’s a Cowboy Bebop too fixated on checking off boxes to consider writing its own list.
  27. Reviewed by: Rafael Motamayor
    Nov 15, 2021
    16
    The result lacks a color palette, a distinct visual language, and any resemblance of soul. This is just like the Cowboy Bebop you remember (or that your friends told you about), except it is absolutely nothing like it.
User Score
4.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 224 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 224
  1. Nov 20, 2021
    0
    More proof that anime shouldn't be adapted to live-action. It's not needed and was clearly only made to capitalize off of a name with no loveMore proof that anime shouldn't be adapted to live-action. It's not needed and was clearly only made to capitalize off of a name with no love for the show at all. Had the soul ripped out of the anime and this is what we got. Full Review »
  2. Nov 19, 2021
    0
    Where to even begin with this mess, they took the greatest anime of all time and turned it into a dumb millennial cosplay. 0/10
  3. Nov 19, 2021
    0
    I didn't think live-action anime got any worse than Ghost in the Shell or Death Note, but this tops them all for badness