Narcos - Netflix and Pablo Escobar

This series becomes available on August 28:

— Alan

I binged on this all weekend. It’s ten episodes, many are relatively short (~45 minutes) for the format. I found it to be pretty awesome; the show chronicles Pablo Escobar’s rise to power in Colombia up through the time of the siege of his “prison” in La Cateral. Far more than half of the show is in Spanish. Admittedly the adventures of the DEA agents who attempt to track and dismember Pablo’s organization seems at times a bit of a sideshow and maybe a little too centralized to Pablo’s issues (in other words, it seems like these two guys are doing way too much), but without knowing more than a smattering of knowledge about this time, the government, police, Search Bloc, Communist and Narco threads all seem to be fairly realistic. It definitely feels like the bulk of the show was shot in Colombia (I haven’t checked for sure but some of the scenes are amazingly framed and staged), and I found some of the actors to be terrific. A whole lot of mostly new faces. Steve, the American DEA guy, seems familiar, and of course his partner Javier is unsquished Prince Oberyn Martell. Action sequences are generally well thought out and executed; there are some big firefights in this series, especially the Special Forces sequence at the “prison”. Sure hoping for a season two.

— Alan

Interesting. I was going to pass on this for no real reason, but you’ve convinced me to take a look.

I only made it to watch the first episode so far, but I’m definitely hooked. Feels like a well-made period piece, and Wagner Moura nails it. Could have done with a little less narrator voice though.

Far more than half of the show is in Spanish.

I really dig that the show is being consequent about it. Really sets the mood.

Moura (a well known Brazilian actor) apparently didn’t know Spanish at all, and had to learn it before production. I don’t have an ear on the quality of Spanish speakers but I’ve seen elsewhere where others have said he did really well with it.

Yeah Boyd Holbrook’s folksy Southern accent bothers me a bit–and it’s even worse in the voiceovers–but oh well.

— Alan

This interview is interesting with the real DEA agents the show is based on:

I guess a bit of spoilers if you don’t know what happens to Escobar (eventually).

— Alan

Just finished the second episode. Yep, I’m hooked. Time to binge watch this thing! Loving the mood and direction so far. I also love that it’s mostly in Spanish, a bold move that paid off well.

“This cat is DEA.” :)

Finished the final episode and am quite bummed that it’ll probably a full year before we (hopefully) get to see more. The show gets two thumbs up from me. It was riveting from the pilot on and stayed that way throughout the following nine episodes. I never really got fond of the Holbrook voice-over though. Nevertheless, Narcos had a really decent cast overall.

Like some people above, I hate the VO. Does this go away over the course of the season? The story is interesting all on its own. The Wire didn’t need VO and neither does this.

Nope, you get it all the way to the end.

— Alan

New trailer!

The voice over comes across as Scorcese-lite, but from what I’ve read the original script that didn’t include it was pretty bland and boring (according to a script review site), with a wealth of characters being tossed at the viewer without much explanation.

I binged on it last weekend and really enjoyed it in spite of my dislike of the actor portraying the main DEA agent. But man, Wagner Moura just nails it as Pablo Escobar. What a great performance. Plus, I really liked Oberyn from Game of Thrones as the second fiddle to the main DEA agent.

If you haven’t watched it already, Moura has another great bit of work on Netflix streaming called Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. Check it out if you like a good corrupt police force story…this time set in Brazil.

Season 2 confirmed.

Added. :v

I had checked IMDB because Moura’s face seemed familiar, but I couldn’t quite remember where I had seen him in first. Turns out he was one of the few things in Elysium that didn’t disappoint.

Watched the first 2 episodes last night and really enjoyed it. I was pretty cynical when Netflix got into producing its own TV shows, but now I’m almost as interested in their stuff as I am AMC’s or HBO’s.

I’m glad I know that Escobar gets shot in the streets like a dog in the end. Otherwise I’d be pretty hard to take the narcissim and cowardly machismo he revels in. Was no one in the country really calling it like it was, that he was a cowardly scumbag? It boggles. I guess that’s the point of a well written story though. I had a similar reaction to The Sopranos.

Facinating story though. He really did have no regard for human life at all.

I can see how Escobar will end by the end of season 2, and then maybe they go after the Cali cartel for season 3?

There’s a photo of Pablo’s body with a white guy standing with him; the white guy is the DEA agent the story is based on.

— Alan

He was a criminal sociopath, but not sure how anyone would conclude he was cowardly, as he was incredibly bold and ambitious. He had more in common with Steve Jobs than someone cowardly. He could have accomplished great things if he wasn’t so morally depraved and narcissist.

He did accomplish great things for Medellin (and the poor in Medellin, in particular). It was done at a great cost to others, but it was pretty good while it lasted for the impoverished masses in that part of Colombia.

It’s pretty cowardly to blow up an entire plane to get one person. Send a hitman to kill them. It’s also cowardly to go after the police and politician’s wives and children because they can’t defend themselves. Storming a military stronghold is not cowardly. The scene where he threatens those federal police’s families in one of the first scenes in the first episode is in my opinion an act of cowardice.

Pretty good, but Pablo Escobar’s [(Wagner Moura)](Wagner Moura accent) accent is weird. He is Brazilian! That explains it. It’s good Spanish, but it’s got something off from a native speaker.