Narcos

I think I have a new favorite show. At least as far as streaming-only goes.

I totally missed The Wire during its dominance of the aughts, and tried about a year ago to get into it, but as a friend suggested, it just didn’t age well. The baggy jeans and oversized sweat shirts might as well be drape-y tunics from the Italian Renaissance.

I do get the reverence for The Wire though, and the heated arguments over which seasons were the best. Noting that adulation, I can only wonder if Narcos isn’t a modern day version of HBO’s seminal series.

I had extremely guarded expectations heading into Season 3 (I realize how late I am on the this whole series, apologies). It had an odor similar to where Vikings, probably my favorite current show, resides right now. The legendary and historically questionable Ragnar, portrayed charismatically and with as much soul as any character I’ve seen recently by Travis Fimmel, was killed during Season 4. No spoiler he dies in a snake pit, as history would have us believe. He was the centerpiece of the Vikings universe, which is now trying to sail with success in ways that have me keeping it on probation even as half its fifth season has ended. Why isn’t Lagertha the new fulcrum of everything? Why don’t I despise Ivar even more than I already do? Jonathan Rhys Meyers was marginalized awfully quickly. Bring back Rollo!

What Narcos did, and what Vikings is attempting is much more complex that swapping out Aunt Vivs. This is like trying to make a show called The Banks of Bel Air work.

Narcos had to proceed beyond the surprisingly tender family moments and deadly business exploits, and death of world’s most (in)famous drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar. Boyd Holbrook, a key protagonist and someone I’d certainly label a co-star of the show, also exited the show. But how?!

Narcos could’ve ended after Season 2 and many would’ve be completely satisfied, which seems hard to do these days in TV. End a series, with pleased viewers.

It was a bold pivot to some secondary, but very violent players, and to Oberyn Martell’s Javier Pena. It worked. Pedro Pascal shined and really needs a call for at least a supporting actor role in an Oscar worthy movie. The show also gave us a heartbeat of sympathy for a good guy, in a bad situation. Matias Varela, a Swede, playing the Cali Cartel’s chief of security Jorge Salcedo. Though he was pretty stupid to believe you can give any organized crime group a notice to depart. You’re in for life.

It worked!

Very much looking forward to Season Four, in Mexico with El Chapo v. Diego Luna + Michael Pena, and hopefully some guidance from Agent Pena.

I also need to live someplace warm.

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