Despite the star power of Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas and the extensive production budget of $250 million spent for the show, ‘Citadel’ didn’t meet the high expectations. There are some reasons why the spy action series fell short of its potential.
The Russo Brothers, known for their successful work on movies like ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ are the show’s executive producers. ‘Citadel’ stars Madden as Mason Kane and Chopra as Nadia Sinh, two spies working for the secretive global agency, Citadel.
Their mission is to stop the powerful Manticore syndicate from acquiring nuclear materials. After surviving an ambush and a train explosion, they’re given new identities and ordinary lives.
Eight years later, Mason is asked for help by fellow spy Bernard Orlick to stop the Manticore’s world domination plans. During the mission, Mason reunites with his long-lost love, Nadia, who has vague memories of their past. Together, they take on the Manticore to save the world.
‘Citadel’s failure can be traced back to several factors, but the biggest one was its high budget. The show needed to be a massive hit to make enough money to cover its expensive production costs. Unfortunately, despite the big investment, the six-episode spy series had a poorly written script. The action scenes also fell short due to bad choreography, editing, and weak visual effects.
It had poor performance in terms of ratings. It never managed to break into the top 10 most-watched streaming shows in the U.S. in any week since its premiere on April 28, 2023. The episodes were really short, just 35-40 minutes long. This might not have been a problem if the show had exciting action and a gripping story. Amazon released weekly episodes, which meant waiting a week for a show that could be finished in one movie’s runtime.
But these issues aren’t the only reasons for the show’s failure. The plot felt uninspired and recycled, like many other spy movies and TV shows. The story didn’t progress well, so viewers didn’t connect with the main characters. In the end, people found the show too generic.
Some viewers commented on the series on Reddit and shared their disappointment. One of them said:
“It’s very average, and then you read about the budget and struggle to find the money spent. Six episodes also feel like a long movie instead of a TV show.”
Another one wrote:
“Yeah, it seems way over cost on production value and severely underdeveloped on the writing. Right from the start, there is zero intrigue. And the premise seems like a grade-schooler came up with it. A secret organization of goody two-shoe spies against a secret organization of comically evil spies.”
Despite its disappointing first season, ‘Citadel’ is set to return for a second season on Prime Video. Surprisingly, the show was renewed even before the first season’s release. While details about the second season are limited, Madden and Chopra Jonas will return as Mason and Nadia, and new cast members may join the series.