BY BJ DARDEN
“Narcos,” Netflix’s newest foray into “real-life” drama, is a series based on the story of Pablo Escobar, a famous ‘80’s drug trafficker. With this release, Netflix has given itself a chance to be redeemed after its dud, “Marco Polo,” which was neither very interesting nor very accurate.
In “Narcos,” Escobar is played by Wagner Moura, who easily gives the best performance throughout the show; sadly however he is surrounded by far less interesting characters and performances.
Boyd Holbrook plays Escobar’s counter-part, the far less interesting undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent. The writing for Holbrook is very dry and his performance does not really do much to save it. It’s not detrimental, but his character needs to be worked on.
However, telling the story from two perspectives was a good idea, and could turn out to be even more interesting in later seasons.
While “Narcos” seems destined to draw comparisons to Breaking Bad in theory, the show has much more in common with a Scorsese movie in execution. Much of “Narcos'” information is dished out through narration from Holbrook, which is not necessarily very well written, but the concept is entertaining nonetheless.
“Narcos'” authenticity is definitely something to write home about. I am not a historian, but I know enough that I was never taken out of the show because of some sort of misinformation. “Narcos’” era is also done well, they don’t go overboard with ‘80’s culture, but there’s enough of it to give you a sense of the time and location.
Speaking of location, most of the show is set in Columbia. So, a good portion of the show is spoken in Spanish with subtitles, meaning more than half of the show is spoken in Spanish which helps add to the authenticity. The accents are all good, and again, Moura’s is the most convincing.
“Narcos’” first season has problems, sure, but there is a lot of room for this show to grow, and the problems are easy enough to fix. “Narcos” has a good foundation to build on, with a strong lead in Wagner Moura, and a great sense of authentic time and place. While it may not be perfect, the show is always entertaining.
For fans of Scorsese, or authentic biopics, “Narcos” comes easy to recommend. The show starts off strong, loses some steam in the middle, and picks back up once the season comes to and end. There is no show stopping performance or fantastic writing, but “Narcos” is constantly fun to watch.
The Flyer gives the first season of “Narcos” an 8/10.