Thai Cave Rescue just climbed into Netflix top 10 — and it's a hit with audiences

A shot from Thai Cave Rescue
(Image credit: Netflix)

Investing in a brand new TV series can be troublesome, especially if it’s on Netflix. Because you never know when the show will be canceled, or if there will be a proper resolution. Fortunately, the latest entry in the Netflix top 10 entry doesn’t have that problem. Not only is it a limited series with a defined end, it’s also based on real-life events.

Thai Cave Rescue is currently sitting at number 8 on Netflix’s top 10 TV shows list. The six-part series is based on the real story that saw international teams rescue 12 kids and one adult, after rising waters stranded them in an underground cave system.

The series is not to be confused with Cave Rescue, which is a movie based on the same events that also came out this year. This movie currently has no Rotten Tomatoes score (opens in new tab), and is sitting at 5.2 on IMDB (opens in new tab), which suggests it isn’t particularly good.

Meanwhile Thai Cave Rescue currently has a 71% average score on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab), a 100% audience score, and 7.6 stars on IMDB (opens in new tab). The Rotten Tomatoes audience rating is only based on 9 reviews, so it’s likely to change as more people tune in. However, the scores we have and its place in the Netflix top 10 suggest that the series is worth checking out. 

What is Thai Cave Rescue about? 

There’s a very good chance you’ve heard about this story, since it made international headlines across the world. The short story is that unusual weather saw heavy rain arrive earlier than expected, causing underground water levels to rise to dangerous levels. 

This stranded the 12 kids, all members of the same junior association football team, and their assistant coach underground with no way out. Once authorities were alerted, rescue teams were mobilized to locate the kids, and bring them out of the caves safely.

The case is also infamous for Elon Musk’s attempted involvement. Due to the risks of cave diving, and the stranded team’s lack of experience, the billionaire announced he would develop a miniature submersible that he claimed would allow the kids on the team to be rescued safely — even going so far as to turn up at the caves with a prototype.

The submersible capsule was not used, and was deemed unusable by one of the rescue divers in a very charged interview. This led to insults being exchanged, and lawsuits being filed, which is an entire story in itself. The side-plot involving Elon Musk doesn’t seem to be part of the Netflix series, which is probably for the best.

We won't spoil how the whole rescue was resolved, so you'll just have to watch the show (or read one of many news articles) to find out.

What do critics think of Thai Cave Rescue? 

There aren’t that many reviews for Thai Cave Rescue on Rotten Tomatoes just yet, but the ones we have do come from the more reputable critics. Things are a little mixed, which is why it’s sitting at 71%, but critics have said some good things about the show so far.

Radheyan Simonpillai from the Guardian (opens in new tab) gave the series three out of five, noting that: “The intimacy with these characters naturally makes the series more affecting, even if some of the performances are a bit stilted and raw.” 

Laura Sirikul at IGN Movies (opens in new tab) gave the series 8 out of ten, noting that “though there are some questionable creative choices along the way, the story overall feels authentic and accurate, both in the casting of the boys and their stories.”

Meanwhile Daniel D’Addario from Variety (opens in new tab)  wrote: “The boys, in optimism and in fear, share a pleasant chemistry. The show is less steady when trying to conjure the social dynamics around the excavation... it’s at its strongest when letting the boys and their journey do the talking.”

On the flipside Todd Lazarski from AV Club (opens in new tab) gave the show a C, saying: “For as much as it can seem interesting and tense, the six-hour treatment begins to feel stagnant and bogged, like one of those coffee-ringed New Yorker articles that sits open on your desk for weeks…”

Another negative review came from We Got This Covered’s Scott Campbell (opens in new tab), who criticized the fact this story has already been told so many times over the past four years. “It’s a story that’s been retold across several mediums already, so in that regard, Thai Cave Rescue doesn’t really have much reason to exist.” Campbell gave the show 3 out of 5.

Should you watch Thai Cave Rescue? 

Thai Cave Rescue is a limited series with a definitive start, middle and end, with the six episodes clocking in at 60 minutes apiece. In short, it’s not the biggest investment of time and attention, though as at least one critic noted it might drag on a bit.

But if you’re struggling for something to watch, and don’t mind seeing a show you probably already know the ending to, then it’s worth giving it a try. At the very least you’re not going to be left wondering how it all ends if you give up halfway through.

Read next: Jeffrey Dahmer is the subject of another Netflix hit, and have you ever wondered why the top movies on Netflix are often so bad?

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.