Narcos: Season One (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 14, 2016 by Dennis Amith
You have to give series creators Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro and executive producer Eric Newman a lot of respect for what they were able to achieve. And for Netflix for creating an exclusive but allowing for authenticity by allowing the series to be bilingual and shot in Colombia. But also the casting of dedicated actor, Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar was perfect. These things don’t usually happen for TV series but for “Narcos”, we see the results from these well-planned decisions, performances and writing for each episode and not only is “Narcos” addictive and fantastic, it’s no doubt one of the best crime series available right now! “Narcos: Season One” is recommended!
TITLE: Narcos: Season One
TV SEASON AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: Episodes 1-20 (874927 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Created by Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, Doug Miro and Paul Eckstein
Directed by Andres Baiz, Josef Kubota Wladyka, Gerardo Naranjo, Fernando Coimbra, Guillermo Navarro, Jose Phadilha, Batan Silva
Written by Carlo Bernard, Andrew Black, Chris Brancato, Dana Ledoux Miller, Doug Miro, T.J. Brady, Samir Mehta, Dana Calvo, Nick Schenk, Allison Abner, Zach Calig, Curtis Gwinn, Paul Eckstein
Produced by Paul Eckstein, Jose Luis Escolar, Tim King
Supervising Producer: Allison Abner, Rasheed Newson
Consulting Producer: Curtis Gwinn, Carolina Paiz
Executive Producer: Eric Newman, Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, Adam Fiero
Co-Executive Producer: Andres Calderon, Jack Loguidice, Paul Marks, Zachary Reiter, Julie Siege, Dana Calvo, Andres Baiz
Line Producer: Lorenzo O’Brien
Music by Pedro Bromfman
Cinematography by Mauricio Vidal, Carmen Cabana, Lula Carvalho, Adrian Teijido, Luis David Sansans
Edited by Matthew Colonna, Leo Trombettta, Trevor Baker, Nathan Gunn, Luis Carballar, Victor Du Bois, Alex Marquez
Casting by Carla Hool, Carmen Cuba
Production Design by Salvador Parra, Anthony Medina, Diana Trujillo
Art Direction by Camila Arocha, Maria Fernanda Munoz, Anibal Silva
Set Decoration by Rafa Mtz Withingham, Ana Yasmin Guttierez, Noyoloti Orrante Mata, Jorge Barba
Costume Design by Bina Daigeler, Maria Estela Fernandez
Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar
Boyd Holbrook as Steve Murphy
Pedro Pascal as Javier Pena
Joanna Christie as Connie Murphy
Paulina Gaitan as Tata Escobar
Diego Catano as La Quica
Jason Chad Roth as Technician
Maurice Compte as Horacio Carrillo
Danielle Kennedy as Ambassador Noon
With electrifying performances and action sequences charged with heart-pounding suspense, this Golden Globe®-nominated series follows the true-life story of the rise of international cocaine cartels — and the battle waged by law enforcement to stop them. At the center of the conflict are Pablo Escobar (Moura), the notorious Colombian drug kingpin, and the two DEA agents sent to take him down: Steve Murphy (Holbrook) and Javier Peña (Pascal).
In 2015, Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro’s “Narcos”, an American crime web television series began streaming.
Shot and filmed in Colombia, the first season focuses on the beginnings of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and how he would rise and become a billionare through the production and distribution of cocaine. Meanwhile two DEA agents, Steve Murphy and Javier Pena have the task of taking him down.
A Netflix exclusive that is 10 episodes long and began streaming on August 2015 and now, the series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate.
The series would also earn two Golden Globe nominations for “Best Drama Series” and “Best Actor”.
The series stars Wagner Moura (“Paradiso Tropical”, “Elite Squad”, “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within”, “Elysium”), Boyd Holbrook (“Gone Girl”, “Milk”, “The Skeleton Twins”), Pedro Pascal (“The Adjustment Bureau”, “Bloodsucking Bastards”, “Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe”), Joanna Christie (“Star”, “Small Dark Places”, “The Girl and the Fish”), Paulina Gaitan (“Trade”, “Sin Nombre”, “Senorita Polvora”), Diego Catano (“Savage”, “Duck Season”, “Lake Tahoe”), Jason Chad Roth (“Bloque de Busqueda”, “El Capo”, “Pura sangre”) and Maurice Compte (“A Walk Among the Tombstones”, “End of Watch”, “The Dream Catcher”).
“Narcos” is a series narrated by DEA agent Steve Murphy and the first season is his account of taking down Colombian drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar.
The series would begin in the ’70s as how Pablo Escobar (portrayed by Wagner Moura) had big dreams of becoming rich and with his deep network, how he would establish himself as a black marketeer in Medellin. How his network would provide him the power to move trucks worth of illegal goods and would have personal information that would prevent patrols from stopping him, in generating fear so no one would stop him.
When Mateo “Cockroach” Moreno, an underground chemist who is also exiled from Chile and would create the perfect cocaine, would collaborate with Escobar and together, they would distribute and profit from cocaine.
And how they would grow from a small operation to having large elaborate operations and laboratories and many in Columbia would become addicts and as many demanded cocaine, the crime would also exponentially increase.
And eventually the demand for cocaine would rise, especially in the United States and thus escalating drug-related violence in America. So, a taskforce from the DEA are sent to Colombia.
Steve Murphy (portrayed by Boyd Holbrook) and Javier Pena (portrayed by Pedro Pascal) are sent to Colombia to work with authorities and put a stop the flow of cocaine into the United States.
But despite the power of Pablo Escobar, he would eventually find himself not just in trouble with local authorities, the DEA (which he puts a bounty on their heads) but also with guerilla communists known as M-19. Which would lead to the beginning of the Medelin Cartel.
But if being a wealthy drug kingpin is not enough for Escobar to aspire to, he also has political aspirations to become the president of Colombia. But what happens when Escobar plans to run for politics?
And what happens when Escobar wants revenge on the politicians and those critical of him? How far will he go and can the DEA stop him?
“Narcos” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The picture quality for this series is very good. Shot in Colombia and a good balance of outdoor scenes and indoor scenes. Featuring beautiful imagery of Colombia scenery
I didn’t notice any major banding issues or artifacts.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Narcos” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The series is crystal clear and the lossless soundtrack is primarily dialogue and music-driven. There are some scenes with gun exchanges and scenes that utilize crowd ambiance but it’s a series that focuses on narration, dialogue and its musical soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“Narcos: Season One” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary– Featuring an audio commentary for the episode “Descenso” with actor Wagner Moura and Executive Producer/Director Jose Padilha.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for the episode “Explosivos” with Executive Producer Chris Brancato
- Establishing the Route – (24:49) A featurette on how “Narcos” was created and how it was originally planned as a film but eventually became a series.
- The Colombian Connection – (11:37) A featurette about shooting the series in Colombia to give the series authenticity.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for the episode “Despegue” with Executive Producer Eric Newman and Director Andi Baiz.
- The Language Barrier – (11:37) A featurette about how Netflix allowed for the creators would create a bilingual show for authenticity.
- Deleted Scenes – (7:23) Featuring deleted scenes for the first season of “Narcos”.
“Narcos: Season One” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet code.
I’m a believer that if you want to create a film or a series with characters from another country, it has to be done right and best to show the characters in their environment, speaking the original language.
Of course, that is not always the case as having a series with the native language with English subtitles is not always ideal, but fortunately, “Narcos” is a series that Netflix believed in and in its support, the series would be filmed in Colombian and would feature a bilingual cast with English subtitles.
And because of that authenticity, it lends to a believable and captivating series which “Narcos” has become and is appreciated for.
The first season of “Narcos” focuses on the beginnings of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, from his rise to power, his tale of crime, mass murder and enormous wealth. But not covering just the rise but also the fall.
Narrated by DEA agent Steve Murphy, the series focuses on Murphy’s attempted to stop the cocaine flow into the United States but also to take down Pablo Escobar.
While Murphy’s narration and comments are important to show the challenges that the DEA faced, the series focuses on Pablo Escobar’s use of power, him wanting to gain more power by running for congress but also how far he would go to get what he wants.
To make this series work, it would require one who could play Escobar from his earlier years to starting own, to the years where he was older and most vulnerable as he becomes the #1 target.
And this is where Wagner Moura excels. He plays the part to perfection, even so far of gaining 40 pounds in order to play the role of Escobar in his later years. Which is impressive that he was able to do so, within the schedule of producing ten episodes.
But to play a character that go from a cheerful man smiling when authorities try to take his photo, to a man who is cold and calculating and would murder someone quite easily.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is fantastic in HD, lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and music. And as for the Blu-ray release, there is a good balance of audio commentary and featurettes. Especially on the making of the series and why the creators chose to make it a TV series as opposed to the original plan of creating a film.
Overall, you have to give series creators Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro and executive producer Eric Newman a lot of respect for what they were able to achieve. And for Netflix for creating an exclusive but allowing for authenticity by allowing the series to be bilingual and shot in Colombia. But also the casting of dedicated actor, Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar was perfect. These things don’t usually happen for TV series but for “Narcos”, we see the results from these well-planned decisions, performances and writing for each episode and not only is “Narcos” addictive and fantastic, it’s no doubt one of the best crime series available right now!
“Narcos: Season One” is recommended!
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