Critical Condition: Dirty John

Dirty John | Netflix, from Thursday

☆☆☆☆ “A dazzling matchup of pulp and prestige … Based on the Los Angeles Times‘ addictive true-crime podcast, Dirty John is the story of a convict and con man who took catfishing to almost operatic levels … Adapted for TV by Desperate Housewives writer Alexandra Cunningham, the show blends sun-drenched SoCal romance with an undercurrent of dread.” — Entertainment Weekly.

☆☆☆ “Bravo’s TV version of the podcast Dirty John, starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana, doubles nicely as a Very Special Episode(s) of its The Real Housewives of Orange County franchise: Affluent suburban businesswoman falls for dangerous con man. Glossy and well-acted, its transfer from your daily commute’s most suspenseful listening stretch ever to serviceable wine-and-laundry-folding companion show feels, all in all, a smooth one.” — Los Angeles Times.

☆☆☆☆ “There are larger inventions, conveniences of plot or characterisation like a five-figure theft of cash and the discovery of a long-term affair, that will aggravate people who have read or listened to the original story … It’s not nearly as compelling, and its continual efforts to make the characters and situations more palatable grow wearying.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆☆ “The show’s slavish attention to replicating the story and its clues as once laid out in a podcast may be hard to parse as presented in a TV series. Good storytelling in one medium doesn’t necessarily make sense in another. Bravo’s Dirty John might have been better served to remember that and try something new.” — Variety.

☆☆☆☆ “Decidedly not ambitious ‘prestige’ television, the first three episodes make perfectly clear this isn’t a nuanced series, or one interested in exploring abuse or manipulation in serious fashion. It’s trying to be a juicy nighttime soap that uses the ‘true story’ tag to drive viewers’ mouths further and further agape.” — IndieWire.

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