Unique comedy series Haters Back Off has completed its first season on Netflix. This show marks a first, starring Colleen Ballinger and being based on her popular YouTube persona Miranda Sings. The show details the family and home life of Miranda, a sheltered, confident, but ultimately untalented singer who is trying to find fame via YouTube. This 8 episode season depicts Miranda’s journey from the first video she uploads to when her first video goes viral. Also part of the cast are Angela Kinsey as Bethany, Miranda’s mother, Steve Little as Jim, Miranda’s uncle, Francesca Reale as Emily, Miranda’s sister, and Erik Stocklin as Patrick, Miranda’s best friend.
While the original YouTube series was much smaller in scope, the show expands a bit, showing that Miranda’s narcissism and focus on her dreams, whether or not they are viable or not, actually has consequences for the other people in her life. Ballinger mentions that she chose Netflix over HBO because she felt the platform better understood her already built-in online fanbase. Netflix describes the show as “a bizarre family comedy, and a commentary on society today and our fascination with fame.”
On paper, this idea makes a lot of sense, with the streaming, watch-when-you-want nature of Netflix seeming like a perfect vehicle for a YouTube start to take her character in a different direction. However, as many first-time transitions are, the reception has been mixed. #HatersBackOff currently has a 6.6 rating on IMDb and 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Factors that have earned praise are the show’s reflection on the nature of online fame, as well as the occasional peeks beyond Miranda’s ego to see the fragile woman underneath. The show’s surreal nature has also been praised as a great vehicle for comedy, and the change from YouTube series to TV show lets longtime fans of the Miranda character see exactly how she got to be the way she is.
However, some feel that the show’s translation from two-minute videos to thirty-minute episodes may be a bit too much, with the basic jokes and premise of the character losing their punch when they are dragged out this long. Others also feel that aside from Miranda, the characters are one-dimensional, and the comedic nature of the show isn’t enough to compensate for this. If you were a fan of the original YouTube series, do you find that this was a worthy complement? Netflix does not release viewership data for its shows, so we can only guess how many people watched and enjoyed the show.
At the moment, given its mixed reception, HBO may need another season to refine its concept, but it’s hard to gauge what its chances are with no data from Netflix. However, Netflix has been steadfast in its dedication to keep original programming going, and we may not only see another season for that reason but if it turns out that it was another success, many other YouTube stars may make the move to this platform for new projects. Any stars that you think would be a good fit for a Netflix show?
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