Zombieverse, Netflix’s new reality TV show, is being trashed online – but it’s not putting off viewers from tuning in. The latest South Korean-developed series to land on the world’s best streaming service, Zombieverse hasn’t proven to be the smash hit Netflix hoped it would be.
For the uninitiated: Zombieverse is a reality TV-based drama series where a group of contestants – mostly comprising Korean comedians and music artists – are tasked with ‘surviving’ a zombie apocalypse in Seoul, South Korea. To stay alive, the gang must complete various tasks to acquire weapons and other useful items to fend off the undead. The end goal is to make it onto a boat and sail to safety, but not everyone will make it out.
Per review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Zombieverse is – at the time of writing (August 9) – sitting at an absolutely paltry 29%. For comparison’s sake, similarly panned series including Apple TV Plus‘ The Crowded Room and Disney Plus‘ Secret Invasion, the latter of whom has been trashed by Marvel fans, are rated more highly than Zombieverse. Presently, that duo have scores of 33% and 54%, respectively.
Despite its largely negative reviews, Zombieverse is still proving to be a popular conversation starter among Netflix’s global fanbase. The mash-up series only began airing on August 8, but it’s already become the talk of the entertainment town, with viewers engaging in a fierce online debate whether Zombieverse is, regardless of its Rotten Tomatoes score, good or not.
Over on Reddit, user Starrylands called it an “incredible disappointment”. Fellow Redditor Conscious-Equal-7863 was in agreement, saying it was “hot garbage” and that they turned it off after 15 minutes.
The story is much different on X (formerly known as Twitter), though. User iKennyJ stated it was “absolutely worth watching” if viewers wanted something funny to stream, while daheeverse labeled it an “intense” watch that’s “perfect for binge-ing”. As revealed by fellow user dontsippy (see below), Zombieverse is making waves on Netflix Korea, too, with the series currently sitting fifth in its most popular TV shows list.
#zombieverse is top 5 on Netflix Korea 💅 #덱스 #jinyoung pic.twitter.com/G8ZwkiVciBAugust 9, 2023
Zombieverse, then, isn’t off to the best of starts where Netflix is concerned. It’s struggled to immediately hook viewers across the globe in the same way that other hit Korean shows did, such as All of Us Are Dead and Black Knight.
However, the same was true of Squid Game. The most-watched Netflix series of all-time took time to gain momentum among the streamer’s subscriber base. The survival drama series’ popularity was driven by word of mouth recommendations and, in some respects, people’s desire to stream something original amid the Covid-19 pandemic. That double-whammy helped to cement Squid Game as one of the best Netflix shows ever and led to the announcement of Squid Game season 2.
Given the factors that contributed to its success, Squid Game is an outlier of which we might never see the likes of again. Few other Netflix original series – developed in South Korea or elsewhere – have matched its unprecedented success. In fact, Stranger Things aside, Wednesday, The Night Agent and Fubar are the only three Netflix shows to come close to toppling Squid Game in the race to become Netflix’s most-streamed TV show.
So, the jury is out on whether Zombieverse can become the next major Korean hit on Netflix. Based on its sluggish start and negative reactions, it probably won’t be. But, if more people continue to tune in to see what all the fuss is about, it could surprise us all. After all, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful feeling that affects many of us. If enough Netflix viewers get FOMO over Zombieverse, its place on the Netflix trash heap won’t be guaranteed just yet.