Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Review – A poorly written series with no focus

By Ricky Valero
Published: August 3, 2023 (Last updated: September 6, 2023)
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Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Review - A poorly written series with no focus


Good acting can’t save Special Ops: Lioness’s issue of trying to do too much. A rare swing and miss for Taylor Sheridan. 

This review of the Paramount+ series Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 does not contain spoilers.

The Taylor Sheridan universe keeps growing with his latest collaboration with Paramount+, Special Ops: Lioness. The eight-episode espionage thriller features a star-studded cast of Zoe Saldana, Nicole Kidman, and Morgan Freeman.

Special Ops: Lioness season 1 review and plot summary

Special Ops: Lioness follows Joe, attempting to balance her personal and professional lives as the CIA’s spear in the war on terror. The Lioness Program, which Joe is in charge of, enlists Marine Cruz Manuelos to head undercover alongside Joe to thwart the next 9/11.

The series starts with us meeting Joe and her team at the CIA Outpost, where Joe gets a call that an undercover soldier’s cover has blown. As a result, Joe is forced to make a decision to call in a drone strike, killing Cruz and some enemy soldiers. From here, the series goes back to the beginning, where we are introduced to Cruz and how she became part of the Lioness Program.

READ: TV Shows like Special Ops: Lioness

Taylor Sheridan is known for his ability to develop great characters and stories that will connect audiences to them. However, in this series, he tries to have too many things going on at one time to really fully develop any of them. With the series based on The Lioness Program, I had hoped he would hone in on that and bring that to light. Instead, he tried so hard to pile story after story on the audience that he took away any importance of the program.

While the show promises this star power, it failed to deliver any of that as the prominent people on the posters and advertisements felt like ancillary pieces to the show. Another thing, I expected a little more action than was presented to us throughout the eight episodes.

One major positive of this show is Zoe Saldana and Laysla De Oliveira, who navigate this show to make it at least worth a watch in the roles of Joe and Cruz. These two did their best with a script that gave them next to nothing to work with. While I didn’t love the overall series, I hope this would get a season two so we could see Saldana as Joe once again.

Is Special Ops: Lioness good or bad?

Special Ops: Lioness is a swing and a miss for Tyler Sheridan in his attempt to tackle the world of the military. The Lioness Program is this prestigious world-class program, and Sheridan decided to convolute it with storylines that didn’t add to the overall story. The performances are good, but the lackluster story will fail to keep viewers wanting to watch this series from start to finish.

Is Special Ops: Lioness worth watching?

Fans of Sheridan’s work might find the series up their alley. However, anyone looking for an action-packed Military series will be disappointed. Special Ops: Lioness leans too heavily into the story and will leave audiences wishing they got more.

What did you think of Special Ops: Lioness Season 1? Comment below.

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