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Netflix’s Controversial Cleopatra Doc Receives Lowest Audience Rating in TV History

peak but justified

It’s official: Queen Cleopatra is the lowest rated show in TV history.

For the past several weeks, the almost entirety of the internet turned into a public courtroom, once again, reviving an age-old debate regarding Cleopatra’s ethnicity and race. Fueled by Jada Pinkett Smith’s latest televised venture, Queen Cleopatra, in which the American actress and director recounts the story of the life of one of history’s greatest rulers, the Netflix-produced docu-drama quickly caused turmoil in all spheres of society when it aired last week, sparking discontent amongst scholars and anger across the region, especially in Egypt. Why? The former empress is portrayed as Black, casting biracial actress and screenwriter Adele James for the role, going against the prevailing belief that Cleopatra was of Greek or Macedonian descent.

Recipient of all kinds of deprecating comments, negative questioning, and hostile defiance, the eponymously-named series has just reached a new low that the production team is probably going to have a hard time stomaching. Queen Cleopatra by Netflix is officially the lowest-rated show in TV history on Rotten Tomatoes’ entire repertoire of reviews, a historic achievement for all the wrong reasons. 

Rated at a very poor 1% of satisfaction approval by audiences, Pinkett Smith’s take on Cleopatra’s reign seems to have broken a new record, and not a good one, only confirming the orbiting commotion surrounding the documentary series and amplifying the loud frustration of the inhabitants of the Land of the Pharaohs.

If we were to take ourselves back to the initial kickstart of the controversy, government officials, historians, and everyday netizens, all collectively called the production out for reasons that all involve some sense of alleged “historical re-writing,” prompting Egyptian directors to take the matter into their own hands and string a documentary about a piece of history that is arguably solely theirs to tell.

Now sitting next to the Nicolas Cage-starring Left Behind released in 2014 and Sylvester Stallone’s Staying Alive at the very bottom of the American film review website, if there’s one lesson to take away from this entire ordeal, it’s that you should probably never annoy 100 million Egyptians, as it’ll always come back to bite you at some point in some way. 

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