Netflix’s strategy of unloading an entire season of original programming at once has made it very easy to judge the quality of their TV shows in as little time possible. Are we bored after a few episodes or are we willing to sacrifice sleep to binge watch just one more? Narcos, the service's look at drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s ruthless Medellín Cartel is — and we're sorry for the heavy-handed metaphor — addictive.
Narcos documents the rise of Escobar (Wagner Moura) from his first foray into the cocaine trade all the way to the height of his power in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The show is narrated by American DEA agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook), who, along with colleague Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal, our boy Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones) has been assigned to take Escobar down — not an easy task when the man practically controls Colombia. The show unfolds like a fast-paced cat and mouse game — if the cat and mouse had cocaine, guns, and beautiful women at their disposal.
Fortunately, Narcos has already been renewed for a second season. Here are all the reasons why you should be watching it now:
1. It's a crazy story we'll never get tired of learning more about.
There’s a reason why pop culture is so transfixed with the Pablo Escobar story, even though he’s an entirely loathsome figure. The fact that Escobar was able to control so much of Colombia and amass enough wealth to land on the Forbes International Billionaire’s list from an illegal trade is a compelling tale that we only want to hear more of. Besides, it's hard to shy away from a series that channels the magnetic intensity of, say, a Scarface. The premise is ripe material for any producer; the story is really just Netflix's to ruin.
2. The series finally has space to be told right.
Narcos is the first American television show to tackle the Pablo Escobar. While Escobar's story has been told before — most recently with Benecio del Toro in Escobar: Paradise Lost — the time constraints of the silver screen often force writers and directors to condense the intricacies of life as a drug lord into a mere two-hour movie. With ten episodes (and more on the way), Narcos gives us all the gritty minutiae we’d be missing out on — and gritty it is.
3. Wagner Moura makes an incredible Pablo Escobar.
Tony Soprano. Walter White. Don Draper. History shows that the most enthralling dramatic television characters of the modern era fall heavily into the antihero territory. Now, a brutal drug kingpin definitely leans more towards straight villan, but Escobar was beloved by many — especially the poor — for his contributions to society. Wagner Moura shines in his depiction of the drug lord, thoughtfully rendering him as a multi-dimensional and charismatic character. Also, Moura, who’s Brazilian, didn’t even speak Spanish before he took on this role, making his portrayal even more impressive.
4. Guns, $$$, and beautiful women.
It's a show about the most powerful drug cartel in the world. What did you expect but non-stop action?
5. It’s a gift to TV viewers in between seasons.
Narcos dropped on Netflix in late August, typically the slowest entertainment month of the year. It’s like they knew we needed something to keep us going right before fall TV season kicks in — and Narcos is truly a jolt of energy.
Photos by Daniel Daza/Netflix