A divisive new Netflix show is blowing away the competition and has already reached the No. 1 spot on the streamer's Top 10 TV shows chart. Cowboy Bebop, a live-action adaptation of the classic anime by the same name, is currently Netflix's most-watched series. The show is also the No. 2 most-watched project on all of Netflix, trailing only behind the new film Red Notice, which features Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne " The Rock" Johnson, and Gal Gadot.
Cowboy Bebop stars John Cho as a bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, who is also known as "Fearless." Spike was born on Mars, and he has "a history of violent gang activity and extensive fist-fighting and marksmanship abilities." The series also stars Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black and Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine, two of Spike's compatriates. The series has been met with mixed reactions from both viewers and critics. The majority of the controversy comes from fans comparing the show to its iconic anime predecessor.
For those who have not seen the original, or are able to remain impartial, film critics Nina Metz, of the Chicago Tribune, explained that "if you're able to watch [the series] with eyes unencumbered by comparisons, it's a hoot." Mark Cassidy of ComicBookMovie.com added, "Netflix's adaptation doesn't quite recapture the anime's effortless cool, but it comes pretty damn close." Finally, Bradley Russell from Total Film had high praise for Cowboy Bebop, giving it four stars out of five stars and calling it "a worthy companion piece to the original series" that is "overflowing with charm, personality, and style."
In an interview with GQ, Cho opened up about the series and why he pursued the role of Spike, explaining how he had wondered for years if he could do a physical, action role. "And yet, I have to say I wasn't particularly artistically interested in those things except for 'Oh, I haven't done that; that would be fun to do.' I was wondering if something like that would ever come along, and if so, would I respond to the material. What would be the world in which I would want to do something like that?"
Cho continued, "I read the script first, and it was totally original, totally funny, totally smart, witty, and such a collage of genres. I just thought, 'Maybe I could get into this.' I didn't know about the anime, but when I watched it – three minutes in, I could see why this has a tremendous following. It's just smarter than anything else out there. And I've said this before, but Spike, in the show, touches so many shores of all these genres I'm really interested in film noir, westerns, action, sci-fi. And I thought it would be fun to touch so many bases. I'm mixing metaphors, I apologize." Cowboy Bebop Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.