ShowsWhy Did Netflix Turn The Fourth Season Of Narcos Into a Companion...

Why Did Netflix Turn The Fourth Season Of Narcos Into a Companion Series And Was It Worth It?


For decades, people have watched bilingual shows, but their popularity has spiked over the years as streaming services diversified their content. Since 2019, non-English language viewing is up 71% as shows like Money Heist, which was released in 2017, and Squid Game have captured global audiences. But what series started this global interest in bilingual shows? Many will agree that while Squid Game is the latest to confirm this interest, Narcos, which first hit Netflix in 2015, started the trend.

Narcos, a crime drama based on Pablo Escobar, aired as a Netflix exclusive in 2015. The show was a success, and Netflix immediately renewed it for a second season. Seasons two and three were described as gut-wrenching accounts of Pablo Escobar’s fascinating life, and Rotten Tomatoes gave the third season an average audience score of 95%. Yet despite its success, Netflix made the surprising move to rebrand the show after three seasons as Narcos: Mexico, turning the intended fourth season into a companion series. Companion series, or sister shows, have advantages and disadvantages. They can help expand the audience, but they can also be poorly received if fans felt the original series was cut short. The decision by the showrunners to turn the fourth season of Narcos into a companion series was surprising, but it worked, and we’re going to explore why.

Narcos vs. Narcos: Mexico

Seasons two and three saw the exit of several characters, including Pablo Escobar. Escobar’s exit marked another change, with season three focusing on the Medellín Cartel’s rivals, the Cali Cartel. At that point, it made sense for the show to change. The Narcos timeline is based on true accounts, so while the showrunners could have brought Escobar back in flashbacks in the fourth season, they instead decided to stick to honest storytelling and realism, changing the players as they changed in real life. It’s an admirable move, considering Hollywood often prioritizes profit over storytelling by continuing to produce installments in franchises that should have ended.

In Narcos: Mexico, the old cast is gone, replaced by new stars like Michael Pena. The companion series has the same look as Narcos, but it’s a different story, focusing on Mexico rather than Colombia. While compelling, the story is not as good as its counterpart, but we can’t blame the showrunners for that.

There’s only one Pablo Escobar; you don’t find a story like his every day, and, arguably, only Narcos has captured the essence of his story. For years, the Colombian has fascinated people, and we’ve seen this depicted throughout the entertainment industry. Several songs have been made about Escobar, such as Soulja Boy’s 2014 hit Pablo Escobar, which featured on his Young Millionaire album. There are also several online games based on Escobar and the original Narcos show too. For example, Kingdom Casino, an online casino that offers a deposit bonus of up to $600 and is among the list of free spins casinos offered in Canada, features an immersive Narcos video slot game, which was developed by NetEnt. To sum up, Pablo Escobar has influenced many elements of modern entertainment, and so regardless of Netflix’s rebranding, his story lives on. That said, while Narcos: Mexico isn’t as good due to the absence of Escobar, critics have enjoyed the gritty companion series. In 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a third season.

For the sake of authentic storytelling, Netflix was smart to reboot Narcos and turn it into a companion series. However, there’s no denying the series isn’t as interesting as its counterpart due to the absence of Pablo Escobar. Still, fans of Narcos shouldn’t avoid watching Narcos: Mexico if they’re looking for something of a similar nature.

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