Please: Do not watch Netflix’s ‘Cowboy Bebop!’


Cowboy Bebop live action poster

Oh, how I hate Netflix and its exploitative business schemes. I wasn’t much of a Netflix watcher to begin with, and I’ve only finished about 4 shows in the 9 years I’ve had it. However, when I heard the talk about a live-action Cowboy Bebop remake, my first reaction was, “This’ll be fun.” In a bad way. In the worst way possible. It was certainly “fun”… in the worst. Way. Possible.

   Cowboy Bebop is an animated action/adventure show originating from Japan in 1998. The show follows bounty hunters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black through space on their constant quest for high bounty heads to get by. On their travels, they meet the characters Faye Valentine, Edward Wang Hwe Pepel Cybulski IV, and Ein (a corgi) who quickly follow suit to help them out. Each of them had their own distinct personalities and differentiated from each other in more ways than a few. The show was well written and well received to the point where people are STILL talking about it 24 years after its initial release. I’m such a big fan of the show and consume anything that has that sweet, recognizable logo on it. The world is a cruel place, though… and apparently we can’t have good things without a tumor growing from it and ruining its reputation.

   The Netflix adaptation followed only four of the characters, with Ed being introduced in the very last episode, which screwed up the plot more than it already was. The reason for this was for people to anticipate a second season of the show, which- womp womp– will never happen because it got canceled a few weeks within its release. I watched the Netflix adaptation all the way through, twice. That is only because I’m a suck-up for the franchise and there is nothing else in terms of media I can consume. It’s either the live action Cowboy Bebop, spending $1,057 on the books they put out (I’m not making that up) or the board game they made years ago, both of which… sounding infinitely better than watching the live action adaptation twice. Dang.

   What makes this adaptation so bad, though? “What doesn’t?” is a better question, because there isn’t a whole lot about the show that redeems itself. I think the only things I liked about this show were the revamping of some old songs from the original show, that was a neat touch. Plus, the actor for Jet (Mustafa Shakir) played his part very well, and I’d even go as far to say that he made the original character better; it wasn’t… NECESSARILY any of the actors’ faults for the show being abysmal. Those are the only nice things I will and can say about it though. Everything else is hot garbage. Many plot holes are created throughout, the story never really ends up tying itself together, and the rest of the actors are not good picks at all. It seems more like the casting director put up an ad on Craigslist asking for people that don’t bear the slightest resemblance to the characters they would play with the subtitle, “Acting skills not required!” Plus, don’t even get me started on some of the horrible action shots they have. I’ve never seen something use more reverse shots and obvious cutaways than this show. It’s nauseating, both physically and mentally. 

   I don’t necessarily want to be totally mean to EVERYONE involved because I do know that the actors did their best, but unfortunately, I believe some things are just better left alone. The way that Netflix feels the need to modernize everything is completely unnecessary, especially in the case of Cowboy Bebop. One of the main reasons it’s still talked about is because of how well it aged, (like a fine wine, may I add). What made the original Cowboy Bebop so endearing was the fact that it’s timeless. It’s set in the 2070’s and used many elements to make it really sell the viewer that it was in fact set in the future. Characters used holograms as televisions, were confused when they saw things like VHS and BetaMax, and so much more. There were dedicated bits to the characters learning about things that were found on Earth at that current time. The difference between the original and the reboot is that the reboot completely got rid of any and all charm that the original had. There were no goofy jokes about finding things that the future wouldn’t know of, no intertwining paths of the characters meeting, and barely any Ein screen time! It’s always going to be a mystery to me that people defend the live-action adaptation… it’s just so bad.

   I’m not usually one to judge people for the things they like unless it is creepy or puts others in danger, but I genuinely do not understand why people like this show. I watched the first episode with a select few people and, I kid you not, the prevailing response to it was, “That was certainly a show.” The soundtrack and a few actors are the only things that save it from being COMPLETELY trite. This show did not need a revival because it wasn’t dead to begin with. Like I said before, it’s timeless and holds up so well in modern-day time. It’s timeless BECAUSE we aren’t in the future… yet. I don’t know, this show just makes me angry because now a chunk of the fanbase were pushed away and other people who would have been interested in the original and now see the live action are going to give it a bad rep. I’m begging you, if you are interested in the Cowboy Bebop franchise… DO NOT WATCH THE NETFLIX ADAPTATION.