Look, I know these things are subjective and my own viewing habits are fairly narrow, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: Narcos is the best show on Netflix right now, and possibly, the best show on any network at the moment. So why is it I never hear anybody talking about it? And why hasn't it won very many big awards?
Or maybe, people are talking about it and I just missed it. I tend to miss a lot.
I've tried to avoid spoilers in the rest of this post but if you're concerned, maybe just go watch the show.
|Medellin Cartel, as portrayed in Narcos|
At this point, you might be asking yourself: How lazy can a person be? But hey, I've never made a secret of my poor attention span. The Internet has only made it worse.
|Chepe "negotiates" with the Dominicans. A truly stand out scene in Season 3.|
This is no fault of the show or its writing, I promise you. Based on true events, Narcos is a complex, beautifully acted and well-plotted drama that often has me on the edge of my seat. I wasn't sure how I'd like Season 3, given that the show started out being about Pablo Escobar. In this case, history is a spoiler because we know, more or less, how Señor Escobar died in real life.
|Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar|
As it turns out, Season 3, in which the Cali Cartel takes center stage, is as strong as the first two seasons and in some ways, I liked it better. Although it lacks a single character as intense as Moura's Escobar, it has a Sopranos/Godfather-like quality, especially because one of the characters it focuses on is a key player in the cartel but desperately wants to get out. He's so good at his job that his employers won't let him. Picture Michael Corleone saying "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Only in this case, the stakes are far higher for the individual in question.
|Pedro Pascal as DEA Agent Javier Peña|
If you're looking for a series featuring strong women, Narcos generally isn't it. Part of it is the time and culture they're portraying, of course. And this isn't to say that the women in the series are weak, they just don't take center stage like the men do. You know, like in real life, 2017 USA. That said, as secondary characters they're a bit more nuanced than I see in a lot of popular television shows, which is something to applaud.
Sometimes, I have to wonder how much I miss in translation. Considering how much I love the show based on the subtitles, I have to assume the dialogue in Spanish is that much better. I confess to practicing my Spanish as I watch the show, and now, as we finish Season 3, I have a much firmer grasp of its profanity and drug lingo. One must ask oneself how many times the word puto can be uttered in one scene. Answer: a lot.
I hope I've convinced you to give Narcos a chance if you haven't already. Since my husband and I've spent the last week or so watching the latest season, it's heavily on my mind and I want you to love it as much as I do.
Por favor y gracias.
Note: As I was writing this post, I was looking for video to include and learned that Carlos Muñoz Portal, a Mexican location scout for Narcos, was recently murdered in a violent region of Central Mexico while looking for filming locations. I'm terribly saddened by this news. Condolences to his family and friends.
Second note: As I was finishing this post, my brother notified me that Steve Murhpy and Javier Peña, the agents who took down Pablo Escobar, and on whom Narcos is based, are speaking at a nearby venue next week. Of course I bought tickets.