Fans Love Taylor Sheridan’s Gritty CIA Thriller, Despite Woke Critics Hating It

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Fans don’t seem to care one bit that critics hate Taylor Sheridan’s “Special Ops: Lioness.”

The series from the “Yellowstonecreator premiered last Sunday on Paramount+, and was thoroughly flamed by critics.

The premise is relatively straightforward…..on the surface. It follows a female operator plucked out of the Marines to join a highly-classified CIA team. Her mission is simple. Get close to women with ties to terrorists, gain their trust and then the kill squad shows up and takes care of business.

Zoe Saldana stars in “Special Ops: Lioness.” (Photo Credit: Lynsey Addario/Paramount+)

These programs are real, these women exist and you’ll likely never know their names or any of the things they’ve done. I wish I could say more, but I don’t need a very uncomfortable phone call. Welcome to the world of black ops.

Personally, I loved the first two episodes of the show. It’s dark, gritty, violent, sinister and everything fans have come to love from Sheridan’s writing, even if it’s not sent on a Montana ranch.

Well, critics hated it and it opened with a 54% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 33% rating from top critics. The show was also slammed as “shameless military propaganda.”

Killing terrorists is now a bad thing. What a time to be alive.

Fans love “Special Ops: Lioness.”

While woke critics might hate the show – it still holds a 38% rating from top critics – fans have a very different view of the series with Zoe Saldana and Nicole Kidman.

The series currently holds a 74% rating from fans on Rotten Tomatoes after just two episodes. Turns out that regular people very much enjoy watching bad guys die and mysterious thrillers about the world of black ops.

This is a great example of the disconnect between regular fans and critics. You know something is going to be fire when critics hate it but fans can’t get enough. If you see a score on Rotten Tomatoes featuring a massive gap, the show or movie is probably going to be awesome.

“Special Ops: Lioness” is a hit with fans. (Photo Credit: Lynsey Addario/Paramount+)

Always trust fans over critics.

This also isn’t the first time Taylor Sheridan has had a serious with this kind of split. “Mayor of Kingstown” has a 42% rating from critics and a 92% rating from fans. That’s a 50-point swing.

Now, “Special Ops: Lioness” is in a similar position. Something tells me that 74% rating, which is already very respectable, will only go further north as more episodes come out.

Fans want non-woke content, and while “Special Ops: Lioness” isn’t overtly political, it does paint America as the good guys who have to make some tough decisions. There’s even a line in there about race when dealing with a fight at a school, and Neil – played by the great Dave Annable – spits some facts about letting emotions boil over.

“Special Ops: Lioness” is hated by critics but loved by fans. (Photo Credit: Paramount+)

If you love intriguing stories packed with action, mystery and a great cast, then you need to be watching “Special Ops: Lioness.” It’s absolutely worth checking out.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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