It’s just been more than a week since Netflix released Narcos , a historical crime drama, about the Colombian drug cartels in the late 80s, mainly centered around Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel. And already, it’s being touted as one of the most engrossing shows this year.
Having watched all 10 episodes of the first season, I can assure you that the hype around this show is not misleading. Here are my reasons why you need to watch Narcos .
1. Well, it’s real.
Unlike many other shows (I’m looking at you Hannibal ), the one thing you can be sure of in Narcos is that all of the bizarre stuff actually took place. Pablo Escobar and other members of the cartel lived over the top lives, and just like The Wolf of Wall Street , every time you see an example of that re-enacted, you have to constantly keep telling yourself – yep, this happened.
2. Inspired by the classics, without seeming derivative.
The narration might remind you of Goodfellas ; the scenery might take you back to The Motorcycle Diaries, and the shitloads of money and drugs will definitely remind you of Breaking Bad , but at no point does Narcos seem derivative.
3. Not just for history buffs.
Agreed, being so real might make the series seem a little like a history lesson, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because 80’s Colombia , was far from boring. And the show’s content ensures that it will always keep the viewer, history buff or not, intrigued.
4. Fitting background score.
Just like in The Motorcycle Diaries , one of the best things was the hauntingly brilliant score by Gustavo Santaolalla , the music in Narcos by Pedro Bromfman is right up there.
Here’s the brilliant opening theme.
5. Shows America for what it was in the 80s.
Reagan’s America hated communism. And it showed. Narcos leaves no holds barred when exposing that obsessive side of a cold war era USA.
6. Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar dominates every scene he’s in.
Brazilian actor Wagner Moura has a commanding presence, which is one of the best things about the show. Any scene he’s in, just becomes more powerful simply because he’s that good.
7. Seamlessly uses actual news footage within the narrative.
Throughout the show, you’ll see snippets of actual news events from archives and that make the show so grounded in truth, that you can’t help but praise the creators for being so honest to the source material.
8. The Narcos vs Law Enforcement cat and mouse game.
After The Wire , this is perhaps the only other time you’ll see such an intriguing cat and mouse game between the narcos and the law enforcement. And you don’t always know who’s the cat and who’s the mouse.
9. Pedro Pascal as Javier Pena.
Oberyn Martell might have been crushed by the Mountain in Game of Thrones , but his portrayal of the charismatic Javier Pena will convince you that this guy has a terrific range when it comes to acting.
10. Escobar, the 80’s entrepreneur.
Escobar wasn’t just a criminal – if you read up about him, you’ll realize that by bringing cocaine into the Colombian cartel scene, he actually disrupted the whole industry. Yep, in today’s terms, he’d have one of the best “start-ups” ever. Venture capitalists would be chasing him today.
11. Our saviour – Netflix.
With Daredevil and now Narcos , Netflix has renewed our faith in the small screen. After Breaking Bad and Mad Men ended, we were worried for a bit there.
12. Magic Realism on TV.
If you’re a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or magic realism in general, you’ll love Narcos. This is one of those rare times when this style has been imported onto the small screen.
13. Colombia is NOT Mexico.
And yes, finally there’s a series showing Colombia as it is – not shooting in some northern Mexican town and calling it something else. That in itself is refreshing.