Is Cumberbatch-Starring 'Eric' on Netflix Actually Worth Watching?

Is Cumberbatch-Starring 'Eric' on Netflix Actually Worth Watching?
Image credit: Netflix

Benedict Cumberbatch takes a twisted journey through the underbelly of '80s New York City.


  • Netflix has released a new series with Benedict Cumberbatch, Eric.
  • Although the story is set in the '80s, the series raises issues that are still relevant today.
  • However, the ideas are touched on superficially and the treatment of some characters can be problematic.

A few days ago, a new psychological thriller, Eric, was released on Netflix. And the star of the show is none other than Benedict Cumberbatch!

Even though the show was only released on Netflix on May 30, it has already received quite a few rave reviews. But let's find out if it's worth your attention at all.

What Is the New TV Series with Benedict Cumberbatch About?

New York, 1985. Vincent Anderson, a puppeteer, is devastated by the mysterious disappearance of his young son, Edgar. Driven to despair, he finds solace in Eric, the blue monster his son created for Vincent's children's TV show, but which Vincent rejected. Together with Eric, Vincent delves into the sinister underworld of Manhattan, where he realizes that the real monsters are the people themselves. Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Especially when you consider that the father is played by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch!

The new series boasts pretty good scores on Rotten Tomatoes: 71% from critics and 73% from viewers. But let's discuss whether the show is worth watching.

The Series Touches on Some Profound Issues

Eric can be an incredibly cathartic experience, offering no small amount of reflection on how emotionally inaccessible and harsh parenting leads to the formation of childhood trauma, and how such parenting can lead to estrangement between family members.

In addition, the story places great emphasis on the socio-political context. Corrupt cops and officials (many of whom take advantage of their position by coercing minors into sex), increasing poverty and homelessness, the lack of social housing and any safety net at all — all lead to class hatred and tensions between civilians and the state.

Minor spoiler: the show quickly reveals the identity of Edgar's kidnapper, but he is merely a symptom of the social problems described above, being a low-level graffiti artist who meant no harm to the boy. Instead, the instigator is Vincent, who has projected his career and mental problems onto his own child. But even he is only a symptom, a consequence of the rotten life in New York City in the 80s.

Is Eric Worth Watching?

But how well and coherently have all these ideas been integrated into the story? It is worth noting that the seemingly simple premise is actually overcomplicated. So much so that Abi Morgan seems confused by all these ideas and fails to deliver a clear message. But sometimes it's great to have room for interpretation and personal conclusions, isn't it?

Is Cumberbatch-Starring 'Eric' on Netflix Actually Worth Watching? - image 1

Still, there is a much more problematic issue in Eric. Namely the portrayal of black people. Yes, we have been shown the extent to which corruption and institutionalized racism affect the oppressed in general and people of color in particular. But by the end of the show, it feels like the black characters were used as little more than a plot device to move the story — mere tools to fight corruption and save white people, not human beings.

So, what is our call? For all its flaws, we recommend this miniseries. Yes, the plot can feel unnecessarily complicated at times, with ideas about race, sexuality, and mental health that, while important, are touched on a bit too superficially.

Still, Eric is an incredibly gripping psychological thriller that makes you care about its characters. And of course, we can't overlook Benedict Cumberbatch's superb performance as a parent who has gone through a very dark period in his life.

All six episodes of Eric are available to stream on Netflix.