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Devil in Ohio is Netflix’s new No.1 TV show — but viewers aren’t impressed

Madeleine Arthur as Mae in Netflix's Devil in Ohio
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has a new No.1 TV show, but while it’s clearly grabbing the initial interest of plenty of subscribers it doesn’t appear that every viewer is impressed with what they’ve seen. 

Released last week (Friday, September 2) The Devil in Ohio has risen straight to the summit of Netflix’s most-viewed list ahead of docuseries I Am a Killer and trashy reality show Dated & Related. But it may have a fight on its hand to stay in the No.1 spot as the show’s critical and audience reception has been far from positive. 

What is Devil in Ohio about?  

The Devil in Ohio stars Emily Deschanel, sister of New Girl star Zooey Deschanel, as Dr. Suzanne Mathis, a hospital psychiatrist who agrees to shelter one of her patients, a young girl named Mae (Madeleine Arthur) who has recently escaped a mysterious cult. 

Suzanne’s husband Peter (Sam Jaeger) and 15-year old daughter Jules (Zaria Dotson) aren’t quite so sure about sharing their home with a stranger. And their suspensions are soon proved correct when Mae starts wearing Jules’ clothes, sleeping in her bedroom, and flirting with her crush. 

Mae was only supposed to stay for a few days, but in reality she has no desire to leave the Mathis household any time soon. And Suzanne quickly discovers that her good intentions could actually threaten to tear her own family apart. 

The limited series is based on the novel of the same name by Daria Polatin, the author also serves as showrunner for this adaptation. 

What do critics and viewers say about Devil in Ohio?  

The Devil in Ohio has debuted to pretty poor audience scores. On Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) the first season has pulled a woeful 31%, and over on IMDb (opens in new tab) things aren’t looking much better with the show earning a very average 6.0/10 score. These audience scores would suggest that while the show may be pulling in a solid viewership many Netflix subscribers aren’t impressed with what they’ve seen. 

At least, The Devil in Ohi can take some comfort from a slightly higher Rotten Tomatoes score from critics. The show has a 50% rating, which is higher than its audience score but is still a rotten rating, so probably not something that Netflix or the show’s creative team will be bragging about anytime soon. 

Daniel D-Addario of Variety (opens in new tab) was fairly scathing: “Netflix’s Devil in Ohio isn’t so great that its missteps end up making sense, but it’s so schlockily unembarrassed by its excesses and its shortcomings alike that it feels difficult to critique.”

Forbes (opens in new tab)’ Paul Tassi claimed that the core premise has potential but that Netflix had wasted that. The critics suggested that if a network like HBO had worked on the series the outcome could have been a TV show of much higher quality. 

There have been some slightly more positive review as well. Annabel Nugent of the Independent (opens in new tab) said: “Certainly, Devil in Ohio does not reinvent the wheel -- and no doubt it’ll be subsumed into the amorphous mass of Netflix adaptations sooner rather than later, but in the moment, it’s decent viewing.”  

Should you stream Devil in Ohio?  

If you’re looking for a thriller series that can be binged over the course of a few evenings, or one very lazy Sunday, then you might find some value in Devil on Ohio. By several accounts it’s an easy watching show with plenty of suspense and a few well-placed twists that will probably have you clicking the next episode button out of sheer curiosity alone. 

However, if you’re looking for something truly noteworthy, or have multiple shows to choose from across various streaming services, then Devil in Ohio on Netflix probably isn’t a show that you’re going to regret skipping. This definitely isn’t appointment viewing, and it likely won’t be long before another TV show has dethroned it from the top of Netflix most watched list. Fingers crossed that show gets a slightly better audience score. 

Rory Mellon
Deals Editor

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.