Photograph: Netflix
Rating 4.5
Streamer Netflix
Seasons 1
Episodes 8 x 50 mins

Whilst our former health secretary may have been getting frisky in lockdown, for many aspiring lovers it has been a long, hard time without dates. And never one to miss an opportunity, Netflix are cashing in by delivering a televised shagathon, in the form of this ridiculous and soapy series. Well, you know what they say: sex sells.

Which is definitely why this show went straight to the top of Netflix’s series chart – we can say without doubt, people are not tuning in for the complex plotlines and compelling dialogue. Sex/Life is based on the novel by BB Easton titled, 44 Chapters about 4 Men, and follows the life of Billie Connelly – unfortunately, not that one – who by all appearances, is living the dream. She’s got a massive house, two small kids, and her husband Cooper, who looks like he was hand-chiselled by Michelangelo himself. Every morning he pops on his expensive looking suit and goes off to his job, leaving Billie at home to think about how he doesn’t fancy her as much anymore, before floating off to reveries of her former life, when she was shagging her way round New York City. But clearly these daydreams aren’t enough, and she soon decides to type up her shag-nanigans on her computer, which she then conveniently leaves open for hubby to see…

This show makes Bridgerton look positively PG

Naturally, he’s not best pleased, and the rest of the series is spent with Billie toing and froing between memories of her ex-lover Brad who treated her like dirt but also gave her steamy encounters in hot tubs, and her stable, nice husband, Cooper. On a ridiculous scale, this is up there with the likes of Love Island, or Emily in Paris, where the dialogue is lacking, and what is there is vapid and obvious. Plus, the characters are about as rounded out as a sheet of A4 paper, and the plotlines as intricate as a wooden spoon. But like we said, that’s clearly not what people are watching this for…

If you love trashy TV, you need to watch Emily in Paris

We likely don’t need to tell you that the critics weren’t sold on this one. However, it wasn’t all negative either – The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson notes, “There are ideas here that could lend themselves to insightful exploration: the lure of reckless youth versus the stability of later life, or the issues that Cooper has with his wife’s sexual history, and why it bothers him so much that before they met… But nothing goes deep, except for, well, you get the idea.” And in Variety, Daniel D’Addario says that “For a show about the basic instincts, it’s unusually removed from anything recognizably human; for a look at what it means to heedlessly seek fulfilment, it’s surprisingly sour and mean.” However, The Telegraph’s Rebecca Ried reckons, “If you’re looking for some titillating escapism to enjoy with a glass of wine, it’s an easy win,” calling the harsh reviews “unfair, because the show has real strength when it comes to reflecting the very real contrasts and tensions that exist for a lot of women… The grip of her sexuality is equally matched by the grip of her very accurately drawn domestic life.”

First shown July 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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