Raise your pom-poms to USA Network’s new cheerleader drama, Dare Me: The series has received a wave of critical praise, and season one is now officially "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes!
The critics consensus reads: "Dare Me's slow-burning thriller pairs nicely with its moody atmospherics to create a deft exploration of the interiority of teen life." In order for a TV show to earn the Certified Fresh rating, it must have a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after 20 reviews, including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Dare Me dives into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading. It follows the fraught relationship between two best friends, Addy and Beth (Herizen Guardiola and Marlo Kelly) after a new coach (Willa Fitzgerald) arrives to bring their team to prominence.
Many Top Critics highlight the cerebral approach and moody, mysterious atmosphere. The New York Times' Mike Hale writes that Dare Me “succeeds … in approximating the dreamlike quality of the book, through inky nighttime visuals and elegantly slowed-down scenes of hallway swagger and brutally powerful acrobatics.” Vulture’s Jen Chaney also praised the show’s style, writing that the “sense of mystery acts like a magnet that keeps pulling the viewer back into Dare Me's orbit.”
The dark tone and enigmatic characters also resonate with critics: “Love is a kind of killing, Addy repeats in one chapter, haunting words that get at the core of the series, which mixes desire, hunger, control, and betrayal into an intoxicating poison,” writes the AV Club’s Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. Variety’s Caroline Framke adds: “It's so smart about the characterization of its leads, and its central three actors are so specific in their deft performances, that it pays off.”
In a rave review, Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall cautions that this high school noir is not for the faint of heart. “Dare Me takes things to some very dark places indeed,” he writes. “Enjoy being there for as long as you can stand it.”