'The Order' Is One of the Most Polarizing Shows on Netflix. Why?

Is a "cheesy" supernatural teen drama going to be Netflix's next big hit?

The Order on Netflix is a supernatural, young-adult drama about a magic secret society that involves monsters and werewolves and the dark arts. It began streaming a week ago on March 7, and is on its way to becoming a sleeper hit.

But here’s what else has surfaced about The Order: It’s one of the most polarizing shows on Netflix. Right now, on Twitter and Reddit, The Order is wedging a divide between those who give it a shot and give up, and those who binge the whole thing and already want to know about Season 2.

Why is The Order drumming up such a divisive reaction? It isn’t the immediate smash hit that some of Netflix’s drops tend to be, like 2018’s Bird Box, 2017’s Bright, or the 2015 true crime series Making a Murderer, which had the benefit of a prestige release window of December. (Stranger Things, Netflix’s biggest original franchise, first premiered in August.) Having premiered in early March, The Order isn’t getting the same treatment its other high-profile productions have received. But it’s still trending in a big way.

Here’s a graph illustrating a spike in “The Order Netflix” searches on Google, dating back to 30 days prior to publication of this article (the trailer for the series premiered online on February 21):

Netflix The Order

The Order doesn’t yet have a massive fandom, certainly not in the same way other Netflix shows like Stranger Things did shortly after premiering.

But those who have seen it, man, they’ve got thoughts.

Here’s a top result: A thread on r/netflix proposing their “unpopular opinion” that The Order is, in fact, a good show. That their disclaimer is an “unpopular opinion” means we’re off to a peculiar start in talking about a single TV show.

“The characters’ perspective of the world and The Order plays like a Greek tragedy - the characters’ flaws are there because of their virtue,” writes user u/ih8reddit420. They go on to reason that The Order isn’t attracting a massive audience is because it’s, in their words, “cheesy.”

The Order Netflix
Yeah, looks cheesy.

“Now the reason why it’s unpopular is that the impression it gave was that it’s cheesy,” they write. “First impression it gives is teen angst and romance, though it wasn’t forced down your throat. I liked that it was actually handled well, and you can understand why the characters would behave that way.”

Other Reddit users are responding to the show that seem to occupy a middle spectrum. Other threads about The Order contain takes such as “it’s good but slow” to “Feels like it wants to be The Magicians to “Boring. Weak plot.”

Then, there’s Twitter, which has no in-between. You’re either all-in on The Order or you’re a chaotic-loving hater.

As The Order ends Week Two of its life on Netflix and enters Week Three, the series will either continue to find an audience and blow up, or carve its niche of viewers who will yearn for its renewal every year.

The Order could be Stranger Things, or it could be One Day at a Time, an acclaimed sitcom that garnered a dedicated following but was just recently canceled because “not enough people watched” it to warrant another season.

Netflix is famously secretive about its analytics. No one outside Netflix knows how a show, be it Stranger Things or The Order, performs on the service. Unless it tells us; in a rare move by Netflix, the streaming giant told the world after Bird Box that the Sandra Bullock film was viewed by 45 million subscription members in its first week.

So, will The Order find a big audience and live to see Season 2? The show enters a crowded marketplace; not only does The Order fit in with the fantasy/YA corner occupied by the likes of The CW’s Riverdale and Netflix’s own Sabrina, there is also the strikingly similar series, The Magicians on Syfy, which is creatively hitting its stride. (The Magicians is also streaming on Netflix.)

All we really know for sure is that, when it comes to Netflix, a show is popular when lots, and lots, of people talk about it, and don’t stop talking about it.

The Order is streaming now on Netflix.