This new Netflix action show is rising up the Top 10 list — and it's 93% on Rotten Tomatoes

Andrew Koji in Warrior
(Image credit: Cinemax)

You can't keep a good "Warrior" down, it seems. 

The martial arts action drama, based on an original concept by the late icon Bruce Lee, was canceled twice — first by Cinemax in 2020 and then by Max in 2023 after its third season. But it keeps coming back for more. After departing the Warner Bros. Discovery-helmed streaming platform, "Warrior" made its way to Netflix for one more attempt at attracting the viewers it apparently didn't have at its prior two homes.

The move seemed to have worked like a charm, as the first season of "Warrior" shot to the top of Netflix's English-speaking TV chart in just one week of being available on the platform. It's brought in nearly 2 million views and just over 14 million viewing hours since its debut, and amassed a whole swath of new fans, at that. 

Not only is it doing well at its new Netflix home, but it's also thriving. And that could have big implications for its future. If "Warrior" sees enough continued success like it's enjoying now, perhaps Netflix could be persuaded to give it another go with a fourth season — just like fans have been asking for. 

There's little not to like for action fans in this critically-acclaimed series. With a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its first season and 100% for its second, "Warrior" has clearly struck a chord with reviewers and audiences alike. 

What is 'Warrior' about?

The story behind "Warrior" was developed over 50 years ago by Bruce Lee, the legendary Hong Kong-American martial artist and actor. He shopped around an eight-page treatment for a TV show about a Chinese immigrant with martial arts skills, but it never got made. Until 2015, when his daughter, Shannon Lee, partnered with filmmaker Justin Lin to develop the series at Cinemax. 

Set in 1870s San Francisco, "Warrior" follows martial artist Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) as he sets off from China in search of his sister Xiaojing (Dianne Doan), who had moved to the city years ago. When the powerful fighter arrives, he finds himself sold into one of the most powerful tongs, or secret organizations comprised of Chinese immigrants, in Chinatown. 

It's not just all-out action, though. Sure, "Warrior" is peppered with plenty of fight scenes that'll make any martial arts fan foam at the mouth. But the drama features character development as well, so you don't just watch "some guy" fight his way through a selection of epic action scenes. You want to know why, how, and who's who, too. 

That's why the show's cancellation makes little sense. It seems more like a series of unfortunate events. "Warrior" was originally shut down when Cinemax announced it would no longer produce original content. Then, the show moved to Max in 2021, but didn't get a ton of promotion or buzz — leading to its second cancellation.

With this newfound success on Netflix, however, it's possible that could spell out a fourth season for the series. There's nothing set in stone just yet, but it's very likely that, given the fervor from eager fans and the way the numbers have climbed since "Warrior" hit the streamer, Ah Sahm may very well rise again. 

What the critics say about 'Warrior'

Though "Warrior" had trouble drawing fans (at least when it was on Cinemax and Max), it had no problems garnering positive reviews. 

The first season was called "a deliriously good time" by Micah Peters of The Ringer, "efficient, energetic, and enjoyable" by Maureen Ryan of IGN Movies and "a victory in nearly every sense of the word" by Alison Foreman of Mashable

Season 2 was more universally loved at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. "'Warrior' is just really fun to watch. Its martial arts sequences are standouts, as complex as they are bloody, and the dialogue feels straight out of a dark graphic novel," wrote Karen Turner at Vox.

As The Ringer's Miles Surrey described it, "The vibe is very much “What if 'Peaky Blinders' was racially diverse and half the characters could roundhouse kick you in the face?”

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Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.