Review by Camden Ferrell
Citadel is the new television series from Amazon Prime coming out this spring. It is the second most expensive television show ever made, only behind the Lords of the Rings show that Amazon made as well. Already renewed for a second season ahead of its premiere, this is a high budget show that is unimaginative and sluggish thus far, wasting a rather talented cast and an unfathomable amount of money.
Citadel is a global spy agency that has fallen. The agents have had their memories wiped, and a new agency is coming to power. Mason and Nadia are two agents who must remember who they are in order to take down this new threat in a worldwide adventure full of action. The premise isn’t particularly creative and feels like a standard spy thriller, but it still had potential to be riveting with the right treatment and execution.
From the start, the show makes no attempt at ambition, reveling in mediocre writing and setup that doesn’t feel inspired at all. The dialogue feels overly expository and full of cheap banter that you’ve probably seen in plenty of movies in the past. The show has also failed to subvert expectations, merely following the path of least resistance. This creates a story that is more predictable than one would like.
One of the few things interesting about this show is its cast. It boasts a pair of charming and visually pleasing leads in Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. While both are decent enough in their individual scenes, they have decent chemistry together that can help the show get past its slower and forgettable moments. Stanley Tucci and Lesley Manville play smaller supporting roles in the show, but both bring their reliable acting chops with them. It’s nothing remarkable, but it’s a silver lining in an otherwise mediocre and subpar spy thriller.
When a show of this nature lacks in its narrative, one would hope that it compensates for this with exhilarating action. There are a handful of decent set pieces in these episodes, but there isn’t anything that really justifies the price tag this show carries. The action isn’t as dynamic as you’d expect from a talented cast and crew, but it should still moderately quench viewers’ thirst for combat.
When all is said and done, one can’t help but feel disappointed by Citadel. It’s a genre that is ripe for energy and subversion, but it doesn’t really deliver on either. Madden and Chopra Jonas are decent enough leads, but it can’t make up for the lack of quality material they’ve been given. It’s not a bad show by any means, but it is undeniably forgettable. It’s a show that people might forget about by the time season two rolls around.
Citadel premieres its first two episodes on Prime Video on April 28 with new episodes premiering on subsequent Fridays. Three of six episodes reviewed.