Last night, I read a post titled 4 reasons why you shouldn't watch Netflix's Narcos anymore, which argued passionately that Narcos perpetuates negative Colombian stereotypes. Everybody has the right to their own opinion, but in the interest of balance I thought it would be cool to write from the opposing perspective, the one that takes the view that Narcos is not just entertaining, but also an important piece of television... even though it's not on television.
So without further ado, let's take a look at four reasons why you and your friends should totally be watching season 1 of Narcos on Netflix, like yesterday.
1. Colombia is under-represented on screen
South American culture is not just a big deal in South America. There are tens of millions of hispanic and latino audiences originated in South America living in the US, and they have almost no representation of their homeland on US television series. You may remember Colombiana...
...which critics absolutely savaged, some declaring it a broadly stereotyped vision of the place it claimed to represent. (Saldana hit back in the press, saying she had no time for idiotic criticism - fair play to her for sticking by the film!)
The point is that South America, having contributed so much culture way outside its geographical boundaries, deserves the chance to be appreciated by a wider audience. It doesn't hurt that Colombia is shot so beautifully in Narcos - it's not hard to imagine a boost in tourism next year.
2. Pablo Escobar's story is incredible
Pablo Escobar was so much more than your standard criminal. Not only did he control 80% of the cocaine channels into the US, he amassed a fortune of tens of billions and reinvested much of it in the construction of hospitals, schools and sports facilities across Western Colombia. Not that he was a saint - at 27, he married a girl of just 15. The duality of Escobar's personality, his ambition, his philanthropy and his criminal activity, make him one of his 20th century history's most fascinating figures.
Narcos completely captures this, Wagner Moura absolutely blazing up the screen and bringing a degree of likability to Escobar without romanticising the darker nature of what he did. Although the protagonist of the series is technically DEA agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook), he's really just an audience surrogate, less important to the narrative than the drug lord himself.
3. It's authentic - and you'll pay attention
How many series do you sit down and watch, knowing you'll have to give your full attention? Truthfully, probably not many, especially as Netflix is such a social phenomenon - get your mates round and chill with a beer, or get your girl round and chill. But with Narcos, much of the dialogue is Spanish and subtitled - and the genius of it is that you're so absorbed in the story, you barely even realise it. One thing's for sure: you won't be distracted.
Unless you have particularly good company.
4. It's legit one of the best series of 2015
There's been a lot of seriously good TV in 2015. The Walking Dead got everybody talking with that shock death (that might not have been a death at all). Bloodline on Netflix didn't gain huge attention, but those who did watch were rewarded with a truly killer murder mystery dripping in atmosphere and tension. Hannibal thrilled its loyal audience with a stunning series finale that won't be forgotten any time soon, and Netflix delivered a superior superhero series with Daredevil, a gritty, black-hearted modern classic with a superb villain in Kingpin.
So Narcos has a lot of competition, but it stands up. Tonally, nothing else on TV compares. It's joyous, feel-good, despite the brutality of the real-life events depicted. It feels like a series made by people who wanted to be respectful to history as it occurred, rather than taking liberties with it for the purposes of entertainment - but despite that, you won't find anything more entertaining on Netflix or anywhere else.
So, in summary, if you're looking for a fast-moving, superbly well written and acted series which is also a visual feast, you really can't go wrong with Narcos. Season 1 is streaming on Netflix right now, with season 2 coming mid-2016.
Have you been watching Narcos? Did it leave you thrilled, or underwhelmed? Is it a positive or negative representation of Colombia? Share your thoughts below!