Netflix just got the perfect show for Valentine's Day — and it's 94% on Rotten Tomatoes

(L-R) Ambika Mod as Emma Morley and Leo Woodall as Dexter Mayhew in One Day on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is never one to skimp on Valentine’s Day content. The streamer has a track record of dropping new shows and movies that are perfect for loved-up couples to watch over the romantic holiday, and its flagship V-Day offering this year is a new adaption of David Nicholls’ One Day. 

Landing on Netflix today (Thursday, Feb. 8) One Day is a 14-episode romantic drama that chronicles the tumultuous relationship between Emma (Ambika Mod) and Dexter (Leo Woodall) over two decades. This series is based on the 2009 novel that became an instant bestseller and was turned into a movie just two years later starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.

Unfortunately, the book’s big-screen adaptation wasn’t particularly well received by critics or readers (it holds a poor 35% score on Rotten Tomatoes). So, Netflix’s TV show version is a second chance to do the popular source material justice. And based on the early reviews, it looks like the streamer has done just that as One Day is getting a strong reception right out of the gate. 

Whether you’re in a couple or not, One Day looks set to be the Netflix show that everybody is talking about this month and it's one you won’t want to miss. Here are all the details you need to know about this romantic drama that has already been labeled a “note-perfect adaptation.”

What is One Day about?  

A love story spanning almost 20 years, One Day begins on July 15, 1988, as Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew are preparing to graduate from the University of Edinburgh. Belonging to different worlds — Emma a studious overachiever, and Dexter a carefree slacker — the duo meet at a party, and sparks quickly fly.

Going their separate ways the next morning, this single night spent together could have been the end of their involvement. However, it becomes their first encounter of many, and over the next few years, they become close friends, and occasional romantic partners as their dynamic constantly shifts. But as the years pass, they face growing older, growing up and maybe even growing apart. 

All of this is fairly standard territory for the romance genre, but the unique twist in One Day is that each episode is set on the same date (July 15) exactly one year apart. This gives the show a unique structure, and while you could dismiss the format as a cheap gimmick, it makes each episode highly compelling as you’re eager to find out what’s changed between the two in the last 12 months. 

One Day reviews — here’s what the critics say 

One Day has only just landed on Netflix so reviews are still trickling in but the early signs are very positive. At the time of writing, One Day holds an impressive 94% on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. That makes it among the most well-received new Netflix shows of 2024 so far. 

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair labeled the Netflix show “a graceful series” that is “pitched in the language of real people that age” and also praised it for handling some of the novel’s more somber plot points with “compassion and understatement.”

London Evening Standard’s Alexandra Jones was also impressed. “Despite its flaws, it would be po-faced to not give this gorgeous, cleverer than most, rom-com its due; it is a perfect, sunny watch for gloomy February,” Jones wrote in their four-star review. 

Hollywood Reporter’s Angie Han praised the two leads: “The spark between Emma and Dexter burns bright enough throughout to make the ride more enjoyable than not.” Meanwhile, Anita Singh of The Daily Telegraph felt it would appeal to a younger demographic noting that in particular “15-year-old girls will adore it.”

However, not all the reviews have been positive. Rachel Cooke of New Statesman was less impressed feeling the series failed to capture its setting, and also criticized it for a “made-for-TV feel” concluding that the show is overall “unconvincing.”   

Should you stream One Day on Netflix?  

If you’re looking for a new romantic show to watch in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day then you can’t go wrong with One Day. Book readers especially will be pleased with this fresh adaptation after the underwhelming 2011 movie. But of course, the show is also very watchable for anybody unfamiliar with the source material. 

One Day is also extremely bingeable. While it’s comprised of 14-episode, a larger number than many Netflix original shows, each chapter runs roughly 30 minutes in length, with a couple being even shorter (Episode 11 is a mere 19 minutes long), so dedicated viewers you could quite feasibly consume the entire limited series in a single weekend.  

Netflix has had a pretty strong start to 2024 with a handful of must-watch new shows including Fool Me Once and Griselda, and One Day is set to continue that trend. And if you need even more viewing recommendations check out our roundup of the biggest new shows to watch this week across all of the best streaming services

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.