Red Rose is the best Netflix show you're not watching — and it's 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

The cast of the BBC and Netflix's Red Rose, huddled around Amelia Clarkson as Wren Davies who is looking into a phone.
(Image credit: Netflix)

The biggest complaint I can give the new Netflix show Red Rose is that it feels like an elongated episode of Black Mirror split into eight parts. But that's high praise coming from me, as I rank Charlie Brooker's sci-fi anthology series as more than just one of the best Netflix shows, but one of the greatest TV shows ever made. 

Originally released on the BBC last August in its native Britain, Red Rose has just dropped in its entirety on Netflix this month. The show has managed to climb to No. 6 in the U.S. version of the streamer’s Top 10 list, but it still feels like it's being overlooked. Especially when you don't see much conversation about it, and underwhelming shows like Perfect Match and New Amsterdam currently occupy spots in the Netflix top 5 right now

Much like the mockumentary series Cunk on Earth, which I championed earlier this month, I’m here to implore you to give Red Rose a watch. But be careful this show is seriously compelling, and you just might find yourself binging the entire first season in no time at all. 

What is Red Rose?  

Red Rose is a thriller series that explores our relationship with technology, and in particular smartphones. As you may have guessed, it examines how a dependency between us and our gadgets can result in disastrous consequences. 

It’s also got some seriously effective horror elements, and while it almost certainly won’t frighten genre aficionados, it’s spooky enough that you might not want to watch with all the lights switched off. 

Set in the town of Bolton, located in the North West of England, Red Rose takes place over a long summer as a group of school friends are manipulated by a mysterious smartphone app that threatens them with dangerous consequences if they do not meet its demands. As the app starts to drive a wedge between them, pushing their relationships to breaking point, the terror only increases. But could the secret to the app's power be found in its sinister origins? 

Weaving together conventions of the horror genre, with surprisingly effective social commentary. Red Rose is both a twisting thriller series that will have you gripped from the first very episode, but also a statement about our inability to look away from the screens we’ve come to depend upon.

Why you need to stream Red Rose on Netflix 

If you’re craving a Netflix show that will have you clicking the “watch next episode” button as soon as the credits start to roll, then Red Rose could be exactly what you’re looking for. U.S. viewers might struggle with some of the cultural references, not to mention the regional accents (that’s what subtitles are for!), but push on and you’ll be rewarded with a seriously compelling thrill ride. 

You don’t just have to take my word for it either, Red Rose has enjoyed a strong critical reception. In fact, it’s currently the holder of a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, this rating is only from 12 reviews in total but it does include very positive takes from major U.K. publications like The Guardian, The Times of London and The Daily Telegraph

If you’ve just finished You season 4 part 1, and want another show to keep you hooked as you wait for the second half of the season, then Red Rose will fit the bill nicely. It seems a shoo-in to be one of the best Netflix shows of 2023, and it would be a great shame if it doesn’t manage to push up further into the streamer’s top 10 most-watched list. Make sure you don’t overlook this one.   

Editor's Picks 

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.