As a huge Ryan Murphy fan who’s seen every episode of every show he’s ever done, I was excited for Hollywood on Netflix by default. Featuring a star-studded cast that includes Patti Lupone and Darren Criss, the series follows a captivating story of the golden age of Hollywood and what could have been. I’ve always been fascinated by the old-school ’40s Hollywood era, and I was confident that Murphy wouldn’t disappoint.
Although my expectations were high, Hollywood not only raised the bar but entirely demolished it. Here are 10 things I especially enjoyed about this delightful Netflix treat:
1. From David Corenswet (the charming Jack Costello) to Jim Parsons (the sleazy Henry Wilson) and everyone in between, the Hollywood on Netflix cast is genuinely great.
2. The gay couple of Rock Hudson (Jake Picking) and Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope) are easy to root for. As a bonus, Rock’s doofy antics were giving me major Finn-from-Glee vibes. It can’t be a coincidence that those two share the same last name!
3. For me, Patti LuPone‘s masterfully heartbreaking performance as the wife of movie mogul Ace was among the show’s greatest surprises. LuPone’s portrayal of Avis is painted with just the right amount of attitude and drive to make you believe she’s gunning for the demise of the studio patriarchy.
4. Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss) and Camille Washington (Laura Harrier) have terrific onscreen chemistry. I particularly appreciated their instrumental role in the turn the show takes around four episodes in.
5. The message of Hollywood on Netflix spoke to me on a personal level, and I relished its prevailing positivity like the most familiar of friends.
6. The real-life 1940s Hollywood was often problematic, sometimes tragic, and overwhelmingly white. While Hollywood on Netflix honors that complex history, Murphy’s take on the era is decidedly more hopeful and inclusive, and the diverse cast of characters brings to life a world that anyone would love to live in.
7. The gorgeous costumes and set design seamlessly immerse the viewer in a completely different time period—albeit one that never actually existed precisely as presented. Industry throwbacks like screen tests and set-building issues serve up a healthy mix of nostalgia and realism.
8. Far from being boring ’40s Hollywood-speak, the dialogue feels very contemporary. Even Henry Wilson managed to put a smile on my face with his ridiculous comments.
9. During the time period in which Hollywood on Netflix is set, sexual activity happened behind closed doors—but it was most definitely still happening. By taking us “behind the scenes,” Murphy made what I think was a wise choice in depicting these people as having sex drives just like everyone else.
10. The last two episodes of Hollywood on Netflix are terrific and close out the season with a beautiful, stunning bow. Sometimes you just need a happy ending, and the season finale fits like a glove.
I loved Hollywood on Netflix so much that when it ended, I instantly wanted to rewatch it from the beginning. Breezy escapism at its finest, Hollywood was exactly what I needed during these scary quarantine times, and I’m already eager to revisit the show’s fascinating world and its lushly drawn characters. While I’m unsure whether a potential season 2 would feature a completely new cast, I’m ready for whatever Ryan Murphy wants to throw at me next.
All 7 episodes of Hollywood are now streaming on Netflix.