"Before the decision was made to consolidate all their small-screen programming on the more family-friendly Disney+, Helstrom was meant to anchor a new corner of the Marvel onscreen universe, one centered on characters from the comics’ horror and supernatural verticals, in much the same way that Daredevil kicked off a small sub-universe of street-level crimefighting shows on Netflix," says Lacy Baugher. "But with the company’s decision to rededicate their live-action television efforts to expanding the narratives of characters already familiar to fans of the existing feature films (see WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), there’s less and less place for these sorts of offbeat stories with their unfamiliar settings and third-tier heroes. It’s hard to come up with a merchandise line about a guy who may or may not be the son of Satan himself, I suppose. As a result, after the finale of Agents of SHIELD earlier this year, Helstrom is, oddly, the last Marvel Television series left standing, virtually arriving feeling as though it’s already overstayed its welcome. The forgotten stepchild of a universe that’s pretty much moved on without it, if you didn’t know going in that this was a Marvel property there’s almost nothing in the show itself to tell you. Gone is the copious branding that litters other properties like SHIELD or Daredevil, and the characters share little in common with their comics counterparts beyond (pieces of) their names. The show itself is completely divorced from the larger onscreen Marvel world, save for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Roxxon sign that will make fans miss the far better (though now also canceled) series Runaways and Cloak and Dagger. More troubling is the fact that Helstrom itself has no sense of identity as a series, and little ability to make a persuasive case for its own existence."
Marvel made a big mistake disassociating itself from Helstrom: "Since its entire reason for being no longer exists—Helstrom was supposed to kick-start 'Adventure Into Fear'—the series is in a bizarre purgatory," says Miles Surrey. "Helstrom hasn’t officially been canceled, but its production company is effectively dead and the show’s barely being marketed as a Marvel entity. Talk about feeling unwanted. But even if Marvel wants to pretend it has nothing to do with Helstrom, that’s not how these things work! In fact, you’d think that the company would want to play up its association with the show, considering 2020 will be the first time in over a decade that a Marvel movie hasn’t been released in theaters. It’s hard to classify anything under the Disney umbrella as a plucky underdog, but Helstrom being tossed aside as an unceremonious content dump stripped of Marvel branding is more than a shade disrespectful."
Helstrom is one of Marvel's worst-ever series: "Helstrom is a horror show without any scares, as well as a drama constrained by unconvincing acting and underwritten characters," says Tyler Hersko. "As the darkest Marvel Cinematic Universe television show to date and the last to premiere outside the family-friendly Disney+ for the foreseeable future, there was reason to hope that Helstrom and showrunner Paul Zbyszewski would close this chapter of Marvel television on a high note. Unfortunately, even franchise diehards will struggle to find much value here."
There’s a slight X-Files bent to Helstrom that suggests a more compelling, procedural version of the show: "It’s possible the protracted table-setting and myriad subplots will eventually pay off when Helstrom ties the threads together," says Vikram Murthi. "However, even if that’s the case, the actual experience of watching those threads in action remains programmatic and dull, especially for a show that involves demon warriors. Helstrom attempts to engage with issues like chronic PTSD and unresolved mental illness, but it can only communicate these mature motivations through its self-serious tone, rarely allowing any of its ideas breathe. It constantly goes through the motions of an 'elevated horror' series without at least offering any decent scares or cool monsters. Helstrom might be airing in time for the Halloween season, but it’s too tedious to raise anyone’s heart rate."