Narcos 3 trailer

The drug king is dead, long live the cartel! In series one and two we saw the rise and fall Pablo Escobar. Season three of Narcos, which comes to Netflix on 1 September, will show how the authorities went after his successors in Cali Cartel. This is strong, breathless stuff, but a compelling take on what can happen when the criminals come close to toppling the state. Check out the trailer…

Ozark with Jason Bateman, Laura Linney Trailer

This new dark drama coming to Netflix on 21 July looks pretty good. It’s got Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as Marty and Wendy Byrde. Marty is a financial adviser, but his sideline is money-laundering for a Mexican drug cartel. When things go disastrously wrong, Marty and Wendy have to grab their kids, hit the road and… well, check out the trailer.

Marseille series 2

Netflix crime drama Marseille was one of the most lavish TV series we’ve seen in many years. With heavy-hitting actors like Gerard Depardieu and a string of mob-related violence engulfing the tower blocks and casinos of the French city, it represented how serious the streaming service is about creating big-budget TV content.

Although the series suffered a few critical misgivings, it was a highly watchable show that’s been given the go-ahead for a second series.

Marseille focused on a slightly corrupt mayor Robert Taro, excellently portrayed by veteran actor Depardieu. It showed him trying to overcome political infighting, family troubles and the gangs of Marseille.

Inter-racial romance

The central theme of series one was how the mayor tried to establish a legal casino in the old port as a way of countering growing mob-related activities. And such is the popularity of gaming websites like Lucky Nugget Casino, which enables players to get a big win via their online pokies games, that it illustrated how prescient the makers of Marseille were in the creation of this extravagant series.

Netflix series Marseille with Gerard Depardieu

Port of call: the cast of Marseille

Other topical themes were the explorations of inter-racial romance, as well as its endemic drug culture. But it was the expansive cinematography of Marseille that was perhaps its trademark. The luxurious coastline was depicted showing a dramatic contrast with the decrepit tower blocks that form the core of the series’ criminal activity.

Braquo and Spiral

Perhaps what caused some critical misgivings was the success of other recent French crime series. Marseilles lacked the firepower of the Canal+ series Braquo. It also didn’t come close to the psychological complexity of the excellent Spiral series, also due to make a welcome return.

But regardless of the negative critical reception, it’s expected Marseilles 2 won’t hold back in its portrayal of the underworld in this complex city.

Whether it sees Depardieu’s character again attempting to provide online pokies fans with a real-life casino, or whether his villainous rival, Lucas Barres, makes another bid for power, remains to be seen. But whatever happens, it’s sure to look great and be entertaining.

Narcos 2 featurette: Pablo killed

Narcos fans will want to check this out. It’s a featurette from Netflix about the climax of the latest series of Narcos, the tense drama about Pablo Escobar and the gruesome, gruelling hunt for him. In the second season, notorious drug kingpin Escobar, played by Golden Globe nominee Wagner Moura, is on the run, with the Colombian authorities and the Americans in relentless pursuit – and determined to put an end to his illegal activities. However, the story doesn’t end there. Despite the demise of Escobar, there will be two further series of Narcos. Watch this space…

Narcos 2 on Netflix

The end: law enforcement catches up with Escobar

Narcos 2 soon on Netflix

Here’s a flavour of Netflix’s Narcos 2, coming on Friday, September 2. The Pablo Escobar story was chilling but utterly compelling first time round. This second blast of 10 episodes looks pretty high-octane too…

Narcos on Netflix, with Wagner Moura

Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar in the Netflix Original Series NARCOS. Photo credit: Daniel Daza/Netflix

Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar in the Netflix’s Narcos

Ambitious new series about the rise of notorious ‘narco-terrorist’ Pablo Escobar

Netflix, starts Friday, 28 August

TRUTH IS NOT only stranger than fiction but more terrifying. Pablo Escobar, subject of Netflix’s new 10-part biopic, was a gang boss who made Tony Soprano and Don Corleone look like shoplifters.

Luis Guzmán stars in NARCOS.

Big shot – actor Luis Guzmán

The infamous Colombian drug lord is reputed to have been the richest criminal in history, worth an estimated $3bn by the early 1990s. At the height of his power, his Medellin drug cartel was shipping 15 tons of cocaine into the US every day and he was thought to be controlling three-quarters of the American coke trade.
He murdered with impunity, blew up a passenger plane killing 110 people (presidential candidate Cesar Gaviria Trujillo was his target, though he escaped death), bombed the capital Bogota, tortured and murdered lawyers, journalists and government ministers, corrupted or killed anyone in authority. Colombia became the world’s murder capital , with 25,100 violent deaths in 1991, a total boosted by the killing of 600 police officers by Escobar’s cop-bonus incentivised hitmen.

‘Robin Hood of Medellin’

How to encapsulate this grotesque era in a TV drama? Series co-creator Eric Newman is adamant it will not celebrate the man some incongruously called the ‘Robin Hood of Medellin’.

narco_s1_033_h

Stephanie Sigman as Valeria

Former drugs enforcement agent Steve Murphy worked as a consultant on Narcos with his DEA partner Javier Peña. He says he and his colleagues saw Escobar as the ‘first narco-terrorist’. He views the Netflix series as an opportunity to spell out the dangers of rampant transnational organised crime.
Newman and producer Jose Padilha worked with Murphy and Peña on the drama’s authenticity. The cast is largely from Latin America and the dialogue is 60 percent in English, 40 percent Spanish with subtitles. Escobar is played by Brazilian star Wagner Moura, who appeared in Elysium with Matt Damon.

[Read more…]

Major new crime dramas for autumn

The Last Panthers, Hand of God, Narcos, Lucky Man, The Five

THE SETTING at the exclusive top-floor club of London’s Gherkin was swanky enough to impress to the shady ‘banksters’ featured in Sky Atlantic‘s ambitious new Euro-thriller The Last Panthers.IMG_0844

The channel had taken over the glass eyrie with its mesmerising views of the capital, pictured right, to treat journalists from Britain and France to a glimpse of the work in progress. TV critics from The Times, The Guardian and Heat, along with CrimeTimePreview, mingled with Sky’s MD of Content Gary Davey before viewing selected scenes from the multi-lingual crime drama, starring Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim and John Hurt.

The dinner event and wonderful location were a sign that Sky Atlantic has high hopes for this sophisticated series. It’s a partnership production between Sky Atlantic, Canal + and Sky Deutschland and is filmed in London, Marseille, Belgrade and Montenegro.

The story is based on an idea by French journalist Jerome Pierrat, an expert on Europe-wide crime. It is inspired by the Pink Panthers, Interpol’s name for a real gang of Serbs and Montenegrins, several of them former soldiers, who performed audacious jewel heists, targeting several countries.IMG_0841

The drama begins with a tense jewel robbery, but the story also shifts the narrative back to 1995 and traces the roots of the gang. It looks like a big, sweeping thriller. Samantha Morton glams down for the role of the loss adjustor sent to Balkans, while John Hurt is the seasoned honcho who’s her boss. In English, French and Serbian, The Last Panthers looks to have a lot more going on in it than your average episode of Lewis.

It’s scheduled for November…

Moving on, just take a look at this new series coming from Amazon Prime on 4 September. Hand of God! starring Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman, fresh from Sons of Anarchy, looks just a little unhinged. He’s playing a bent judge in a bind who seems to think he’s  been chosen by God himself to seek vengeance. It’s certainly off-kilter enough to be worth a gander.

Netflix also has a major new crime drama streaming soon. Narcos is a big show telling the story of US and Colombian efforts during the 1980s to take on the mega-powerful Medellin drug cartel. The trailer makes what is a complex and bloody story look like a rollicking good action series, but trailers can be misleading. It will be interesting to see if Netflix can do this huge story justice.

Finally, Sky1 also has two intriguing series looming. Lucky Man stars James Nesbitt in a high-concept series created by comic-book legend Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk etc). Nesbitt plays a cop from London’s Murder Squad who is given an ancient bracelet that gives him the ability to control luck. This has an attractive cast, including Eve Best, Sienna Guillory and Darren Boyd, and what could be a fascinating premise.

Co-creator Neil Biswas says: ‘Is the bracelet really bringing him luck, or is it just another manifestation of the gambling addiction that has always plagued him?’

There is also a lot of buzz around The Five, bestselling thriller author Harlan Coben‘s first original story for TV. Created by Coben, writer of novels such as Tell No One and Gone for Good, and scripted by Bafta-winner Danny Brocklehurst, this 10-parter follows a group of friends haunted by a terrible incident in their childhood. It stars Tom Cullen, O-T Fagbenle, Lee Ingleby and Geraldine James.

House of Cards 3 – Trailer

‘WE’RE MURDERERS, Francis,’ says Claire to her scheming husband in this trailer for the new season of the political thriller, which returns next month. ‘We’re survivors,’ he replies, but will the newly appointed President survive this series? The ante is raised sky-high as he attempts to negotiate with the Russian President and Claire appears to be losing the plot under all the pressure. Francis’s rise to the top has been audacious, cynical and very watchable. It’s been a great show, but let’s face it, someone’s got to rumble the dark prince soon…

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