Most shows get bad reviews because viewers don’t like them. The Boys has the opposite problem.

The first season of the popular TV series based on the comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson was released all at once on Amazon Prime Video. The second season premiered last Friday — but only the first three episodes were released, leaving the remaining five episodes to come out weekly throughout September and October. Fans who preferred the original binge-watch release style are none too pleased about having wait this time around, and they’re currently bombing the show’s reviews on Amazon as a result.

Consider: The first season of The Boys currently has a rating of four out of five stars out of a total of 8900 user reviews. As of this writing, The Boys Season 2 has a 2.5 star rating out of roughly 2700 reviews. 52 percent of those reviews give the show just one star. Here’s are five of the six most recent reviews as I write this post:

  • “Raise your hand if you subscribe to Prime Video because you can watch an entire season on your own schedule. I would be shocked if 95 out of 100 hands were not up. The fact that showrunners decided to drip-feed their content is stupid and only matched by Amazon's agreement to allow it.”
  • “Love the show, but why are we moving back to the weekly release schedule? Having the ability to watch episodes when I want is important. I don't want to set aside an hour every week for 3 months to watch a series. If I like it, and have free time on a weekend or evening, I want to watch as much as I can.”
  • “Why would Amazon do this? I’ll wait until the entire season is out before I watch.”
  • “Why stagger episodes?”

The only one of those six most recent reviews gives it five stars under the headline “Release the whole season at once!” And the review itself reiterates the same complaints. It’s just nicer about its gripes.

While this is silly behavior, it is true that Amazon Prime users pay for a year’s worth of the servic all at once. Where Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max users typically pay for a month-to-month subscription, Amazon’s video service is connected to the company’s Prime shipping, which is an annual membership. Unless customers’ subscription fee is due in the next couple weeks, The Boys’ staggered release isn’t really going to generate a ton of additional revenue for the service.

Some shows prefer weekly release schedules because they generate longer periods of buzz and attention, which bring more eyeballs to streaming services and specific series over the long run. (Take the weekly release schedule of The Mandalorian on Disney+ last fall, for example.) In order for that kind of schedule to make sense, though, the buzz has to be positive. If all your fans are kvetching that they can’t watch the show when and how they want, that sort of defeats the purpose.

Fans didn’t mount this kind of campaign against The Mandalorian when it was released weekly last fall, so the lesson here seems to be this: Don’t condition your fans to expect a show one way, then switch on them midstream. That’s where you get into trouble.

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