Obliterated, review: brainless teenage-boy's fantasy nonsense is a new low for Netflix


The only explanation for the sheer awfulness of this all-guns-blazing military drama is that it was dreamt up by intoxicated adolescents

Shelley Hennig in Obliterated
Lady in red: Shelley Hennig in Obliterated Credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

Call off the search: the worst show of 2023 is here. That is, unless you’re a 13-year-old boy, in which case Obliterated (Netflix) is your dream product. Guns! Naked breasts! A lead character who is a government operative but also looks smokin’ hot in a red bikini! And that’s before we get to the script, in which a foreign baddie plots to nuke Las Vegas. Standing in his way is an elite tactical unit (the best kind) whose members say things like: “We’re supposed to stop the bad guy with the bomb” and to a female team member with a computer: “You’re the tits, Tech Chick.”

Remember how the boys in Weird Science came up with their ideal woman? Obliterated is what would happen if they were teenagers now and decided to invent an eight-part Netflix series. It is so avowedly dumb that you spend the first episode thinking that the writers are spoofing 1980s action movies and any minute now they’ll cleverly up-end it. Nope. The hour ends with the team’s crazed bomb-disposal expert falling face first into a coffee table after lacing his guacamole with magic mushrooms.

The rest of his team of “real American heroes” have also been on mushrooms, MDMA and champagne (glugged straight from the bottle – this is Vegas, baby!), in between sex scenes. This is at a party they’ve thrown to celebrate a successful mission, in which they went undercover to capture a Russian villain and killed loads of people to a soundtrack of cool rock music. “No one’s ever going to know what we did because, until this is declassified, today never happened,” says Special Agent Ava Winters (Shelley Hennig), walking away from a job that involved a military helicopter firing missiles through a hotel window in a packed holiday destination.

“Had we streamed our take-down on TikTok, we’d be trending right now,” laments the team’s female sniper, who also says admiringly of a colleague: “McKnight might be the cockiest son of a b---h I’ve ever met, but that’s why the ladies love him.” See what I mean about a 13-year-old boy writing the dialogue?

Anyway, it turns out that their mission actually failed, and they get called back to the field despite all of them (including the pilot) being high. “I don’t care how f—ed up we are, we’re still the best in the game,” says a character called Chad McKnight (Nick Zano). I did not think it was possible to cross The Hangover with the combined oeuvre of Steven Seagal, but here we are.