*Warning-this article contains explicit content*
First and foremost, can we talk about how good Netflix is at creating addicting original content? If you didn’t know already, Narcos is an original crime series on Netflix that came out last year. It tells the story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s control over the cocaine trafficking industry out of Columbia into the United States in the 70’s and 80’s. When I think of crime TV, I think of shows like Law and Order, or CSI-but Narcos is one like none other. Here’s an examination of why Narcos stands out as one of the most popular shows on the planet right now.
Existing completely outside of the online/television medium, Narcos glorifies an aspect of North American society that is seen as controversial-the popularization of drug culture. The producers of the show are definitely not blind to the fact that drug culture in Canada and the United States is most certainly “cool” or popular. While it is a bit taboo to say, drugs and drug smuggling has always had a sense of danger, hustling, and urban culture associated with it. If you don’t believe me, check out these hype tracks that basically glorify being a drug dealer:
Cut It – O.T. Genesis ft. Young Dolph
El Chapo Jr – 2 Chainz
So as you can tell within about :30 seconds, both of these songs revolve around drug culture, trapping, and making bank which in turn describes what Escobar’s life was all about in a nutshell. While this level of hip-hop music differs significantly from what Narcos is all about, I think it’s the sense of underground power, money, and respect that comes out of drug culture that makes it appealing-especially to look into the window of. In no way am I condoning the use of drugs, but it would be lying to think that this type of culture isn’t already popularized in today’s society-Narcos being an excellent example of that.
Stepping away from the popularization of drug culture, Narcos is a series that only furthers Netflix’s dominance in the online streaming industry. With a story that flips the traditional crime show on its head by featuring the villain vs the protagonist (one can argue here that Escobar is the protagonist-but for this sake lets just say he’s the bad guy) and combines that with an intriguing plot line full of danger, drugs, and violence-what isn’t to like? It’s popular and is binge-watch worthy for so many different reasons. Season 2’s trailer does a great job of capturing the essence of what the show is all about:
Essentially, Narcos really captures a sense of authenticity, which in my opinion can’t always be captured with traditional television viewing. It tells a story of violence, mystery, and drugs in a way like no other popular television show that I’ve ever seen before. So while the show did have some promotion leading into its latest season, I think its less about how its promoted, but rather what its promoting-good content and drugs.
Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency and is looking forward to how he can leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.