I love almost everything that Netflix produces. House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Grace & Frankie were all some of my favorite discoveries of the past year, so I was hoping Narcos would be just as fantastic. However, while this is an impeccably-produced show, I’m not exactly dying to watch season two. And that’s kind of a problem.
In terms of performances, the acting is stellar across the board. Boyd Holbrook and Game of Thrones‘ Pedro Pascal are both likeable as the DEA agents at the center of the drama, but it’s Wagner Moura’s turn as the infamous Pablo Escobar that’s truly memorable. As the notorious Columbian drug lord, Moura is chilling and sympathetic in all the right places. In fact, as despicable as his actions are, the writers (and Moura) are clever enough to inject the right amount of humanity into the character (particularly with regards to his love for his family). That nuance and complexity ensure we remain captivated by the villain’s journey no matter what.
Sadly, while the performances are superb and the setting is beautifully realized, I didn’t find myself genuinely invested in any of the characters. The emotion simply wasn’t there, and the historical footage interspersed between episodes did nothing to make me feel for the characters. On the bright side, I was encouraged to read up on Escobar’s tumultuous life, so there’s definitely some educational value to be had.
Furthermore, the season finale is a bit of a tonal shift because it places a lot more emphasis on action as opposed to the rest of the season. It’s certainly thrilling, but then it culminates with a bit of an anticlimax in the final moments. A shocking cliffhanger could have done wonders to keep me hooked for next season.
Terrific acting and top-notch production values make Narcos worth watching, but the
series never truly ascends to greatness.