The Pitfalls of Review Aggregation: True Detective: Night Country and the Problem with Rotten Tomatoes

The Pitfalls of Review Aggregation: True Detective: Night Country and the Problem with Rotten Tomatoes

In the dynamic world of entertainment, creators often face the daunting prospect of public scrutiny, with reviews and ratings playing a pivotal role in shaping the perception of their work. The age-old saying in show business, “if you’re bad, prepare to be pelted with fruit and vegetables,” has taken a digital turn, manifesting as online disparagement and the infamous “review bombing.” This phenomenon recently targeted True Detective: Night Country, shedding light on the deeper issues with review aggregation platforms, particularly Rotten Tomatoes.

True Detective, known for its gripping narratives and stellar performances, took a different approach in Night Country by featuring two female detectives portrayed by Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. This departure from the traditional male investigator duo led to a backlash from fans of the first season, who, according to Night Country’s showrunner Issa López, actively attempted to lower the series’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

López’s appeal on Twitter, urging her followers to counteract the negative reviews, highlighted the importance creators place on these platforms. Rotten Tomatoes, a widely used online resource, significantly influences a film’s or series’ success in the real world. Positive reviews, denoted as “Fresh,” are utilized in marketing campaigns, and distributors may base their decisions on the site’s verdict when acquiring film rights. In the realm of television, a Rotten Tomatoes rating can impact a show’s fate, determining whether it gets canceled or renewed.

However, the problem extends beyond a few disgruntled fans. Rotten Tomatoes’ flawed system of review aggregation, often referred to as “review bombing,” raises questions about its reliability as an indicator of a work’s actual quality. The binary positive/negative metric oversimplifies the complex nature of artistic merit, favoring blandly likable content over daringly innovative creations.

The platform provides both critics and audience scores, with the latter tending to favor accessible material while critics might appreciate more challenging or arthouse content. Nevertheless, neither score can be deemed entirely trustworthy. The critics’ scores suffer from a limited pool of approved critics, often resulting in overly positive reviews for even the most mediocre commercial productions. This system undermines the credibility of film criticism, as evidenced by cases like the lukewarmly received Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which secured a critics’ score of 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes despite widespread disapproval from mainstream outlets.

Rotten Tomatoes is not the sole culprit; other platforms like IMDB and Letterboxd also contribute to the culture of review-by-consensus. This practice reflects the broader issue of nuance disappearing in the digital era. Reducing the assessment of media to a numerical score oversimplifies artistic expression and becomes susceptible to manipulation, as observed in the case of True Detective: Night Country.

Efforts by fans to “correct” the review-bombed score may not necessarily represent genuine opinions but instead contribute to meaningless factionalism. In a world where nuance and thoughtful critique are sacrificed for numerical judgments, viewers are urged to look beyond the Tomatometer and seek out critics whose taste aligns with their own. A few trustworthy writers can offer more reliable insights than a massive crowd of anonymous reviewers.

In the end, the best judgment often comes from personal experience. So, next time you’re contemplating whether a new drama is worth a watch, consider bypassing the review scores and forming your own opinion. After all, in the diverse landscape of entertainment, subjective experiences often defy numerical categorization.

The Pitfalls of Review Aggregation: True Detective: Night Country and the Problem with Rotten Tomatoes

Summary: The recent “review bombing” of True Detective: Night Country on Rotten Tomatoes sheds light on the deeper issues with review aggregation platforms. Rotten Tomatoes’ binary positive/negative metric oversimplifies the complex nature of artistic merit, favoring blandly likable content over daringly innovative creations.

The flawed system of review aggregation raises questions about its reliability as an indicator of a work’s actual quality. In a world where nuance disappears in the digital era, viewers are urged to look beyond the Tomatometer and seek out critics whose taste aligns with their own. In the end, forming your own opinion based on personal experience often proves to be the most reliable judgment. “True Detective: Night Country” is currently available for streaming on Sky and NOW.