A little late to the party on this one, sure, but better late than never.
The sort of prestige crime drama usually reserved for HBO, it marks a period of Netflix when they were trying especially hard to establish themselves as a viable rival. It really shows.
Usually I avoid discussing plot since I often prefer myself to be able to start watching something without knowing where it’s going, but that approach is kind if moot here since Narcos is explicitly about the burgeoning cocaine trade in Medellín, Colombia during the 1980s and 90s — most notably charting the rise and fall of legendary cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Performances are fantastic. Story is tense, engaging and frequently horrifying as the drug war escalates and corruption seeps into everything. Interests become conflicted, power shifts, lots of innocent people get caught in the crossfire.
A dark and depressing tale, the effects of which are still being felt to this day.
Production design is outstanding, the cast is charismatic and strange. It’s a tight six episodes too, which is a real sweet spot for these series. Feels like the best parts of a Dr Who adventure mashed together with a big budget behind it.
There’s SO MUCH fan service drawing from the deepest, more ridiculous and obscure depths of Marvel Comics’ silliness.
Ultimately the story ends up servicing the next big phase of MCU projects, but it does so with style and the characters are fun. I mean, they weren’t exactly going to let Tom Hiddleston off the hook easily, were they?
A tremendously sweet and strange tale about a human/deer hybrid boy traversing a post-apocalyptic world.
Each episode feels like a chapter from a storybook. The characters are endearing and the cast is great. The connection between the hybrids and The Sick which has ravaged the world is a solid, dark mystery.
Production values are excellent too — it was a good move to handle the hybrid elements with a mix of CGI and prosthetics/animatronics, as it really grounds the fantastical elements.
Deceptively sinister, but infectiously heartwarming.
An alternate history drama where the Russians landed on the moon first, kicking off a prolonged, multi-generational space race of one-upmanship sustained by the wounded pride of the United States.
It’s bloody great.
Moreover, it’s a fascinating exploration of human motivations to greatness and high ambition as well as being a very grounded look at the hardships of space travel and what might have been but only for a few key moments of our own history going slightly one way or another.
Less the Cthulhu mythos elements of Lovecraft’s stories, but rather taking small, weird tales of scifi, cosmic horror, occult organisations, time/space travel and wrapping them all in post-Korean wartime black United States.
So of course, all the supernatural darkness and horror that comes with the magical side of things is frequently less terrifying, threatening and horrible than the everyday racism the protagonists face in their ordinary lives.
It’s brilliantly done. Each episode takes this lens and focuses it through the tone and genre of classic pulp novels — one time a haunted house, one time an artefact heist adventure, one time a body-swapping life-in-their-shoes story, one time a time-travelling historical lesson, one time a mythological fable crossed with a wartime romance.
The cast and their performances are fantastic, the VFX are cinematic quality (not to mention impressively visceral and disgusting) while the choices to use anachronistic modern elements of black culture only serve to further elevate and enhance the experience.
There’s just so, so much packed into only ten episodes that it puts many other shows to shame with both its ambition and execution.