Ah yes, Netflix, the supposed immortal streaming service that will shut down cable companies in a month, we have dismissed that claim. This is exactly what many major cable companies are thinking nowadays, since Netflix isn't always as great as everyone thought. It's true that Netflix is still extremely popular, especially among younger generations. However, the online streaming service has a habit of taking off decent, classic shows and replacing them with "Netflix Originals." These new shows come in a wide array of genres from documentaries to soap operas and are only available on Netflix, which, by the way isn't exactly a bad thing in some cases. While it's true that many of us dread Netflix putting on more of their own shows, some of them aren't half bad. In fact, there are three Netflix Originals that are downright impressive. Throughout the next three articles I'll be touching on the television shows of Narcos, House of Cards and The Crown. I find that these Netflix Originals are actually better than some long running TV shows found on cable. For example, the first show I'll be delving into, Narcos, immerses the viewer in an award-winning historical drama based on the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar.
While those of us who are history buffs are no doubt aware of famous drug lord Pablo Escobar, many others have not even heard of him. If you had the pleasure of being alive during the 1980's and were old enough to spell Pablo Escobar, you probably remember the news coverage focused on the Columbian drug cartels. Regardless whether or not you were alive or have a keen interest in Latin American history, Narcos is not a show to be missed. Even if historical dramas aren't your cup of tea, you will no doubt find at least a little solace in the action gripping scenes and story throughout the show.
Narcos spans three regular seasons, each containing ten episodes. The series stars Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar, Boyd Holbrook as Steve Murphy and Pedro Pascal as Javier Pena. Narcos also features Maurice Compte as Haracio Carrillo, Bruno Bichir as Fernando Duque and Raul Mendez as Cesar Gaviria. The series started off with fair ratings from critics in season one. However, by the second season Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 92% approval rating, one of the highest ever given for a Netflix original series. Other reviewers such as Metacritic and IGN also praised the series for its historical accuracy and its action-packed stand-off scenes.
Narcos begins with the story of Pablo Escobar, who was already a renowned Columbian black marketer in the 1970's, finding his way into the cocaine smuggling business. The series also follows the journey of two Drug Enforcement Agents, Steve Murphy and Javier Pena as they work with the Columbian government to bring Escobar to justice. Throughout the first season, Pablo Escobar builds up the famed drug cartel known as The Medellin Cartel. When DEA agents, with the assistance of Columbian authorities, finally get Escobar to surrender, the infamous drug lord builds his prison as a paradise. Dissatisfied with the end result of the negotiations for Escobar's surrender, the President of Columbia attempts to take Escobar into federal custody. The first season ends with Escobar once again escaping the clutches of authorities. In the second season of the series, Escobar's organization starts to take a hit. Numerous betrayals and acts of violence eventually topple the famed drug cartel and Escobar is put on the run. As more and more of his supporters turn up dead or betray him, Escobar loses his grand fortune, worth billions of U.S. dollars. The season ends with the execution of Pablo Escobar.
With the execution of Pablo Escobar at the end of the second season, the third season of Narcos takes a different turn and focuses more on the DEA's effort to bring the Cali Cartel to justice. Although some characters do reappear, such as Javier Pena, many others left the series following the conclusion of Escobar's story. Throughout the third season the leaders of the Cali Cartel attempt to leave the cocaine business for good, most likely frightened of what happened to Pablo Escobar. Being an immensely profitable business, many others in the organization are in disagreement with the decision and disputes erupt across the cartel. Javier Pena and the Columbian government use this to their advantage to take down one of the last remaining Columbian drug cartels. The series ends following the dissolution of the Cali Cartel and the acknowledgement that the drug trade has moved north, to Mexico. Following in on this fact, Netflix proceeded to release a new Netflix Original Series on the Mexican Drug Wars, titled Narcos: Mexico.