Amazon Prime Video has a hit on its hands with the spy thriller Citadelpremiere that made it number one in nearly 200 territories worldwide (via Deadline (opens in a new tab)).
Starring Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jones and Stanley Tucci, the mix of fast-paced action and recognizable faces proved to be a hit with Prime Video subscribers. Citadel’s premiere numbers are second only to last year’s Rings of Power – which is an impressive feat because The Citadel is a completely new concept and doesn’t have a big name like The Lord of the Rings.
Citadel is the number one Prime Video title in nearly 200 countries and territories. #CitadelOnPrime pic.twitter.com/TwgzsBkIT7May 4, 2023
The series follows two former agents of the Citadel spy agency who have had their memories wiped and must be “reactivated” for a new, all-important mission. With plenty of guns, parachutes, train sequences, and chemistry between the spies, it feels like a Bond movie that focuses less on a single iconic character and more on the thrill of driving down the road.
Madden himself has been hinted at as the future James Bond for years, and this could be something of an interrogation – though we’ve said Bond has nothing to worry about from The Citadel. Either way, it’s a feather in the hat of the Russo Brothers, who executive produced the show and, since relinquishing their Marvel filming duties, have been developing action franchises like the Netflix movie Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth, alongside their recent success on Amazon.
“A costly mistake”?
The critics were not so kind to him Citadelwith a score of 52%. Rotten tomatoes – who writes that “The Citadel spares no expense, but still feels underdeveloped.” Critical reaction is somewhere between “TV crack” (Guardian) and “costly mistake” (Maniacs Cave), suggesting that even if it won’t be one of Prime Video’s best shows overall, some people might find something fun to keep them in the action.
That’s the first point that feels like classic Amazon at this point – throwing away excess cash for something flashy that can’t justify screen time after all. Rings of Power was, after all, the most expensive TV show ever made, and yet he couldn’t get the viewers to stay with himtearing through Tolkien’s source material, which comes at a high cost to the streamer.
Time will tell if The Citadel can entice viewers enough to make them stick with the entire season – only two episodes have been released so far, we still have some time to go.