Is this why Tom Holland's Apple TV Plus show has divided opinions among viewers?

The Crowded Room artwork
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

New Apple TV Plus show The Crowded Room has caused quite the conversation of late, because nobody seems to be able to agree on whether it's really very good indeed, or terrible.

Starring Tom Holland of Spider-Man and Uncharted fame, The Crowded Room is based on the non-fiction book The Minds of Billy Milligan, which itself told the story of Danny Sullivan, a man arrested over a shooting in 1979. It's a fascinating story and one that could lend itself to being a great show.

The Crowded Room is that show, and it is indeed great, according to viewers who have shared their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. But critics universally hated it, with a combined score of just 33%. So what gives?

Too long?

The Independent thinks that it might have the answer. According to the newspaper, Critics were given the 10-episode season to watch and their reviews were based on that full season. Is that the problem here? When discussing the disparity between viewer and critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes, it believes so.

"However, it’s worth noting that critics were given access to all 10 episodes, and agreed that the show would have been much better had it contained fewer instalments," the report says. Whether an opinion that there are too many episodes is enough to pan a show in the way critics seem to have done is a matter for debate.

The show certainly sounds like it's worth checking out no matter what the critics say.

"Starring and executive produced by Tom Holland, 'The Crowded Room' is a gripping, 10-episode limited series that stars Holland as Danny Sullivan, a man who is arrested following his involvement in a shooting in New York City in 1979," Apple TV Plus' description begins. "A captivating thriller told through a series of interviews with curious interrogator Rya Goodwin (Amanda Seyfried), Danny’s life story unfolds, revealing elements of the mysterious past that shaped him, and the twists and turns that will lead him to a life-altering revelation."

You can watch Apple TV Plus on just about anything, and there are plenty of Apple TV 4K alternatives if you'd like to save some money as well.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.