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Stephen King Breaks Down Baby Reindeer’s Misery Similarites, Shares In-Depth Review of Netflix Hit

Stephen King Breaks Down Baby Reindeer's Misery Similarites, Shares In-Depth Review of Netflix Hit


  • King compares “Baby Reindeer” to “Misery,” noting physical differences between victims.
  • King praises Baby Reindeer’s concise and impactful episodes, calling them short stabs of brilliance.
  • Baby Reindeer garners success and critical acclaim without major marketing, becoming an awards contender.

Stephen King has followed up his brief initial reaction to the Netflix series Baby Reindeer with a much lengthier review, and addressed the comparisons between the series and his own classic stalker thriller, Misery. After grabbing headlines, and a chart-topping position on Netflix, Baby Reindeer continues to be the topic of conversation on social media, including for King.

When it comes to knowing a thing or two about stalkers, King has himself been on the receiving end of some over-zealous fans over the decades, but his best known brush with the subject is in his novel, Misery. The story of Paul Sheldon and his self-professed “No. 1 fan”, Annie Wilkes, is not only one of King’s greatest novels, but was also adapted into one of the best movies based on his work in 1990. Noting the similarities between the two stories, King joked that he was just pleased that his novel came out first, or he would have been accused of copying the series.

“My first thought was to thank God my novel came first, or people would assume I’d stolen it from Richard Gadd, who wrote and produced the seven-episode limited series.”

Baby Reindeer poster

Baby Reindeer (2024)


A seemingly innocent interaction with a customer turns into a chaotic journey as the life of aspiring comedian Donny spirals out of control and brings up the past. 

Release Date
April 11, 2024

Richard Gadd , Jessica Gunning , Danny Kirrane , Nava Mau


Richard Gadd

Weronika Tofilska , Josephine Bornebusch

However, King did go on to address the way Baby Reindeer manages to “equal” Misery in one way, but also has a much different angle when it comes to how its central victim is caught up in the sights of his admirer. King wrote in The Times:

“Then comes Martha Scott (Jessica Gunning), who appears one day in the pub where Donny works. It’s a showstopper of an entrance, hands down the equal of our introduction (“I’m your No 1 fan”) to Misery ’s Annie Wilkes.

The difference between Paul Sheldon ( Misery ) and Donny Dunn is to some extent physical, because Sheldon has been badly hurt in a car accident. He doesn’t give Annie a cup of tea — in fact would probably only give her a passing glance if she turned up in an autograph line. Donny, on the other hand, invites the devil in, however unknowingly.”

Stephen King Shares His Detailed Analysis of Baby Reindeer

Although Baby Reindeer managed to render one of the world’s most prolific writers almost speechless for a while, King shared a much more in depth review for The Times. You can see his thoughts below.

“Unlike most streaming series’ episodes, which can feel bloated at 50 minutes — or even longer — the episodes of Baby Reindeer , each about 30 minutes, are like short, swift stabs administered by a very sharp knife.

Here, less than two minutes into the first episode, we can see what sets Baby Reindeer apart from so many dramas, dramedies and psychodramas that populate the occasional richness (and more common mediocrity) of streaming TV. We’ve been given the essential nature of two pivotal characters in less than two minutes. They are both psychologically needy, but it’s Martha who is mentally unstable and manipulative. Yet Donny — in spite of googly, hopeful eyes that continually say don’t hurt me — has the unusual and rather heroic ability to see into himself.

The great gift (I will not call it a trick) of Baby Reindeer is that we come to understand why it has taken so long for Donny to report his abuse. It’s not because the abuser is a woman, and it’s not because she’s extremely overweight (although my God, she can move fast when she’s angry). It’s because, in his heart, Donny believes he deserves it. We feel empathy for him rather than impatience, and we come to feel empathy for Martha as well.”


The Wild True Story Behind Netflix’s Baby Reindeer and Martha Scott

For Baby Reindeer creator Richard Gadd, reality truly is stranger than fiction.

It is clear that Baby Reindeer has managed to become one of those rare shows that becomes a success on its own merits rather than relying on a huge marketing campaign or the backing of a popular franchise. The seven-episode series landed on Netflix without fanfare, and quickly established itself as an awards contender and a force to be reckoned with as word-of-mouth did its job and pushed the show to the top of the charts, where it has remained since ousting sci-fi series 3 Body Problem.

Baby Reindeer
is streaming on Netflix.
is currently available to stream on Apple TV+.

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