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Echoes is Netflix’s No. 1 show — and it's being slammed by critics

Michelle Monaghan as Leni McCleary, at a police interrogation, in of Echoes
(Image credit: Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Echoes, the latest popular Netflix show, stands atop the chart despite all of the odds being against it. And it's been there for quite some time, too, arriving at the No. 1 spot on the Netflix TV charts on August 21, shortly after its August 19 release.

This popularity is a peculiar case because it's hard to find where its supporters are, except for, you know, sitting in front of their TVs and streaming devices watching the limited series. And this may mean Echoes is proving a point about how the proverbial vocal minority isn't strong enough to take down a series people won't put down.

But the angry audience isn't alone, as Echoes currently (as of August 29) has a 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab). And critics aren't mincing their words, either, accusing the series of the biggest sin in TV: being boring.

Echoes, a drama series starring Michelle Monaghan (Made of Honor, Mission: Impossible III) came to Netflix from creator Vanessa Gazy and showrunners Quinton Peeples and Brian Yorkey (both of whom worked on the popular 13 Reasons Why. And while Echoes is all about twists and turns, the biggest twist — we'd say — is its popularity. So, let's dive into what the heck is going on with Echoes. 

Echoes explained: What's up with Netflix's mystery?

Echoes is a mysterious thriller build around that an old, but still popular, trope: creepy twins. Leni and Gina (Michelle Monaghan stars in dual roles) share a dangerous secret: the fact that they have been living double lives. 

This leads to the reveal of the first juicy and salacious twist: the twins have been sharing a pair of homes, husbands and a child. Fooling them all in the process. That is, until, someone seemingly figures their con out. 

Leni, it turns out, has gone missing. Jack Beck (Matt Bomer of White Collar) calls Gina to break the news, and says Leni may be missing. He even finds blood on a horse. 

And, then, someone starts sending Leni some threatening messages, intimating they know one of her secrets. Likely, you know, that whole thing where she and her twin have been fooling everyone. Some out there may be thinking this is Gina, having faked her own disappearance. Then, in the middle of the series — don't read the episode descriptions, trust us — Echoes turns itself inside-out.

Echoes reviews: What critics think

As noted above, Echoes has a terrible 29% Rotten Tomatoes score, and that's primarily made up of notes from critics who say the series fails to deliver. They differ on when it flops, though.

Brian Tallerico at RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab) notes that "Sadly, the potential of Echoes starts to drain before the premiere is even over as it gets goofier and goofier in a way that’s not entertaining but frustrating. And then it makes the opposite mistake, over-explaining everything about its story through dull flashbacks and interrogation scenes." He adds, "For four episodes, Echoes defiantly makes almost no sense."

Michelle Monaghan as Leni McCleary, staring concerned out of a car, in of Echoes

(Image credit: Netflix)

For CNN (opens in new tab), Brian Lowry warns that "Echoes begins looking like an enticing plunge and doesn't quite pull itself out of the shallow end of that gene pool." He recommends people tune into Apple TV Plus' Bad Sisters instead.

At the Guardian (opens in new tab), Adrian Horton writes "Unfortunately, little of the tension you could infer from [Echoes'] description makes it to the screen in this seven-episode series, which has some wild gesticulations but featherweight emotional heft."

It's not all damning words from critics, as Lauren Piester at The Wrap (opens in new tab) praises Echoes for being over-the-top. She declares that Echoes "becomes something a whole lot weirder and a whole lot more interesting than most that have come before."

Echoes audience reviews: What people are saying

At first, I thought the negative Echoes reviews that totaled to 41% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab)  could a case of review-bombing due to inclusive storytelling, as user B A comments "A lot of twists and turns if you can ignore the glaring wokeness in the show. It is small city Virginia if run by Hollywood. A small rural town chuck full of LGBTQ people, the 'good' man who is 100% ok if his married girlfriend want to abort their baby, the loving husband faithfully supporting his adulterous wife sleeping with her brother in law and aforementioned boyfriend. You know - Hollywood values ..."

But the more I looked, the more I found valid critiques that had nothing to do with what B A is talking about. Marilyn C writes "Bad. Is just so bad. The plot is ridiculous, acting painfully bad, a million twists and turns that take you nowhere. Do not waste your time."

Michelle Monaghan as Leni McCleary, on horseback, in of Echoes

(Image credit: Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

A user named "The S" gave Echoes a 1/2 star review writing "Holy cow, er…um, horse. This is godawful. Embarrassing. It plays out like a horrible soap opera plot from the 1970s. Acting is atrocious, plot is laughably unbelievable. Netflix is the kind of unwatchable series that they throw together in a streaming service where it's all quantity and no quality. My apologies to anyone who sat through this…I know your pain."

But what of the positive audience reviews that got Echoes its 46% score? Peyton S writes "yes, it was drawn out for too long. 4 or 5 episodes instead of 7 would have worked fine. however i found myself not able to stop watching and excited to know what would happen next."

Echoes outlook: Should you watch tonight?

Michelle Monaghan as Leni McCleary, in all black at a funeral, in of Echoes

(Image credit: Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Echoes continuing popularity on Netflix suggests there's some enjoyment to be found in this soapy show. All of the above reviews, though, suggest it's best to go in with your expectations properly calibrated to the lowest setting. 

While some say Echoes is too twisty and turny and convoluted, that might be exactly what you want. Just don't say we didn't warn you.


Next: Check out our Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power review to see why we think it's great — and divisive. We've got the 7 best new movies to stream this week on Netflix, HBO Max, and also the WWE Clash at the Castle live stream details.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.