Citadel, Prime Video’s expensive and divisive spy thriller TV show, has been renewed for a second season.

In a press release, Amazon Studios confirmed that the Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas-starring series would return for another outing on Prime Video. Showrunner David Weil is also coming back to pen the next installment’s scripts, while Joe Russo – who executively produced Citadel season 1 alongside brother Anthony – will assume directing duties for the show’s sophomore season.

For the uninitiated: Citadel is an action spy thriller starring Madden and Chopra Jonas as Mason and Nadia, two elite agents who work for the titular espionage corporation with no allegiance to any one nation. However, when Citadel is infiltrated and destroyed from within by Manticore, a shadow organization hellbent on world domination, Mason and Nadia have their memories wiped to protect them, and Citadel’s secrets. Years later, the pair are reunited by fellow agent Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci) in order to stop Manticore once and for all.

At first glance, it might seem strange that Citadel would receive the green light for another outing. Pre-release, the reportedly $300 million project (one of the most expensive shows ever made) received negative reviews from critics, resulting in the series receiving a 54% rotten rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. In our Citadel review, we said “James Bond and The Night Agent have nothing to worry about”, adding that the “disparity within its makeup, most notably its bewilderingly volatile story beats, and overall unoriginality makes for a bland spy series.”

Mason and Nadia prepare to fight in Citadel on Prime Video

Amazon will be delighted with Citadel‘s global performance (Image credit: Prime Video)

“Citadel is a truly global phenomenon,” Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “Our goal was always to create a new franchise rooted in original IP that would grow Prime Video’s international audience. 

“This show has drawn an outsize number of new international customers to Prime Video. Its massive worldwide debut audience is a testament to Joe and Anthony Russo’s remarkable vision, the incredible talents of Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lesley Manville, and Stanley Tucci, and the tireless work of the creative teams, cast, and crew. Given the overwhelming number of our customers who have embraced this show, we are not only thrilled to share the premiere episode of Citadel globally without membership, but also confirm that the series will return for a second season.”

To mark Citadel‘s season 2 renewal, Amazon has confirmed the show’s first episode will be available to stream for free on Amazon Freevee – Amazon’s ad-supported streamer – in the US for one month starting today (May 26). Viewers outside the US will be able to stream Citadel‘s premiere on Prime Video without an Amazon Prime subscription, too, over Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28).

A thrilling victory for Amazon in the face of adversity

An injured Nadia talks to Mason on a train in Citadel

Citadel has proven to be more popular than most critics expected (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Despite its eyewatering cost, multiple production issues, and poor critical reception, Citadel has proven to be another smash hit for Prime Video.

Per Amazon’s press release, Citadel is the second most-watched Prime Video original series of all time outside of the US. Add its American viewership into the mix, and the show is the fourth most-streamed TV series on Amazon’s platform globally, too.

Unlike Netflix, Amazon Studios doesn’t release official viewing figures, so we’re unable to verify exactly how popular the show has been. To provide some context, though, The Rings of Power, Amazon’s big-budget Lord of the Rings TV show, is reportedly the most-watched Prime Video original ever, with 24 billion minutes streamed (per Collider). 

According to a Hollywood Reporter piece from June 2022, other popular Prime Video shows include Reacher (5.76 billion minutes viewed) and The Wheel of Time (4.91 billion), which sat in first and second place before The Rings of Power overtook them. As Prime Video’s fourth most-streamed TV original, then, Citadel can’t be too far behind the latter of that duo.

Citadel‘s unlikely success, then, is another example of how reviews from critics can inform global audiences on what’s worth streaming, but don’t necessarily have a bearing on what people will enjoy watching. 

In some cases, critics are right on the money with their opinions on whether a movie or TV show will or won’t be a hit – just look at how Marvel movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was panned pre-release – those reviews likely put a significant dent in its box office performance, but the film was also poorly received by fans. However, there are also instances where critics and more casual viewers don’t see eye to eye. Citadel may be a pretty poor show in the eyes of critics but, based on its 67% Rotten Tomatoes audience score, it’s fared better among general audiences – and that’s what will matter most to Amazon Studios.

For more Prime Video-based coverage, read our guides on The Rings of Power season 2, Invincible season 2, The Wheel of Time season 2, and the best Prime Video shows.

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