Narcos: a TV show that could have been great. But wasn’t.

This story about Pablo Escobar, the government he tried to bring down and the cops who fought to bring him to justice should have been a lot more compelling.

Narcos is another OK TV series from Netflix. In fact, it’s probably the best OK TV series that Netflix has produced so far. But it could have been much more. Todd VanDerr Werff at Vox has a great review dealing mainly with the show’s over-emphasis on voice-over – I agree with pretty much everything he writes.

For me, the main problem with Narcos – a problem that affects many mediocre TV shows – including all of Netflix’s in-house content – is a lack of artistry. Watching Narcos, you never get the feeling that a genius is taking you on a journey. When an episode ends, you don’t feel the need to chat with the person next to you about what that installment meant, or what you thought the writers were trying to say. That’s something that happened with Mad Men (for all its faults) and certainly in Deadwood, The Sopranos, The Wire and a few other shows.

The sad thing is that Narcos could have done it. The show was extremely well made: nice photography, generally good casting, great locations, an emphasis on Spanish-language dialogue which I really appreciated. The first episode even began with a quote about magic realism and its roots in Colombia, which inspired some hope that we were going to get something different this time around. It could have been a great show. But every time it had a chance to take the viewer on a journey, to provoke or beguile, it opted instead for the safety of bland exposition.

Narcos is another OK TV show from Netflix. And all the more disappointing for it.

2 thoughts on “Narcos: a TV show that could have been great. But wasn’t.

    1. We haven’t ventured into Fargo TV yet. This week, probably. Mr Robot (made by Amazon) was surprisingly good.

      Pablo’s accent came by way of São Paulo, I believe.

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