Cowboy Bebop Early Buzz: Critics Aren't That Jazzed About Netflix's Live-Action Anime Adaptation

3,2,1 ... let's jam. Netflix's newest offering to subscribers is a take on one of the most influential anime shows of all time, but the early word on the street is that the live-action adaptation of "Cowboy Bebop" does not translate the old jazzy spirit of the original series.

The synopsis, from Netflix:

Long on style and perpetually short on cash, bounty hunters Spike, Jet and Faye trawl the solar system looking for jobs. But can they outrun Spike's past?

This ten-episode iteration of "Cowboy Bebop" series was developed by AndrΓ© Nemec and penned by Christopher Yost, a writer known for his work within the Marvel Cinematic Universe with "Thor: The Dark World" and "Thor: Ragnarok," and on "The Mandalorian" for the Disney+ streaming service.

"Cowboy Bebop" stars John Cho (the "Star Trek" reboot films), Mustafa Shakir ("Luke Cage"), Daniella Pineda ("Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"), Elena Satine ("Magic City"), and Alex Hassell ("The Boys"). It drops November 19, 2021 on Netflix, but critics got an early look at the goings-on of Spike Spigel (Cho) and his band of merry bounty hunters, and reactions are coming in.

/Film's own Danielle Ryan, ever the unafraid outlier among critics, has an in-depth review of the series dropping soon. Until then, she teases her read of the show not as a straight mimic, but a loving cover song by devoted fans.

Kansas City critic Katey Stoetzel sits closer to the middle of the fence and brings overall good tidings and praise for Cho, but finds the callbacks to the original animated series to be slapdash and uninspired:

It's Missing the Magic of the O.G.

Elsewhere, the early reactions aren't so hot on "Bebop." Eric Francisco makes a point of applauding the show's reverence, but complains of a meandering plot and wasted talent. Likewise, Katie Mendoza keeps the nuance alive in her reaction, commending the energy in "Cowboy Bebop" but calling it "a parody of itself."

The rest of the early buzz (among fans of the original, it should be noted β€” these critics aren't going in cold) seems to agree that the show is a poor retread of its predecessor.

It sounds like the show might spur some conversations about live-action adaptations, which can be fantastic or terrible. Disney has been pushing feature live-action remakes and reimaginings of its own classic animated titles, with mixed results, so live-action doesn't automatically mean "bad." As to whether the critics are right or wrong, we'll have to wait ... but only for a week.

"Cowboy Bebop" drops on Netflix November 19, 2021.