I am not gonna lie, back in my old days I worked in a video store. Not just any video store though, but Blockbuster. I worked there specifically during the birth of Netflix and the rival war between the two.
With that in mind, I am probably one of the most appropriately skilled parties to take up the task of reviewing the new Netflix series Blockbuster. As always, we break down our review into the categories of story, acting, and overall. Let’s jump into it!
As far as the series goes, it tells the story of the very last Blockbuster in all of the United States of America. After the rest of the stores shutter leaving only one remaining, the Blockbuster corporate finally collapses along with it. The store manager is now forced to become the owner of the franchise. Seeing the store be treated specifically as if it is a small business, which is hilarious considering the fact that Blockbuster used to be a major organization.
I didn’t know what to expect from the series, but I didn’t immediately assume it was going to be a light-hearted workplace comedy, with hints of a will-they-won’t-they aspect between the cast.
I expected a lot more self-biting and scathing comments toward Netflix, they instead focus on the failing business model of Blockbuster in the modern world of streaming giants. I was mistaken though as it was not brought up during the show, outside of the first episode. While Netflix is mentioned by a customer, as the reason he hasn’t rented in a while, when the Blockbuster owner rails against the streaming giants they choose to target Amazon, instead of the appropriate target of Netflix. It seems disingenuous since Netflix literally killed Blockbuster.
However, with shows like Superstore off the air and not a lot of light-hearted workplace comedy on the marketplace, Blockbuster is a fun edition addition to the streaming world.
Randall Park is incredibly heartwarming in the titular character of Timmy, the manager of the store. He is a nerdy, lovable goofball, and Melissa Fumero does an amazing job as Eliza, the love interest for the series. Her character isn’t perfect but she’s quirky and enjoyable, and I have to address the fact that her self-importance and intellectual personality are not that different then her prior role as Amy Santiago on Brooklyn 99.
“Percy is a major character in the story and I love the friendship and interactions between J.B. Smoove and Randall Park.”
An amazing standout in this series, however, is actually J.B. Smoove who for some reason is listed as “guest starring” on all the credits even though he’s in every single episode of the series. Percy is a major character in the story and I love the friendship and interactions between J.B. Smoove and Randall Park.
While at times their friendship seems unlikely due to J.B. Smoove’s almost con man like man attitude and Randall Park’s every-man attitude, the two actors do a great job playing their roles.
While it is a little weird that Netflix is making this Blockbusters series, and I would have liked to see them insult themselves a little bit more, the fact that they killed the video rental giant, the series was still fun to watch and is a great addition to people looking for a short 10-episode office workplace comedy series.
Conner’s Final Thoughts
Back when I worked at Blockbuster, it was right after the offer to purchase Netflix was rejected and Blockbuster decided to start up their own mail-in movie program to combat the proto-streaming giant. At the time Netflix hadn’t gone online yet but was all about mailing back-and-forth DVDs. Blockbuster had a far superior program. Customers could return their disks to stores and immediately toggle the shipping out of their next DVD, they even got to take a DVD home with them that day! I still don’t understand why the general public did not want to support Blockbuster.
After Netflix started streaming it was very clear who would be the winner between the two, but back then it didn’t make sense.
Really only two things probably led to the actual death of Blockbuster over Netflix, the first being Blockbuster’s return policy and late fees had a lasting effect. The second issue might have been Netflix’s ability to appeal to lazy users with their advertisements.
While I did love Blockbuster, and wish they both could co-exist in the world, I am glad that we have Netflix as it currently stands today, or else we wouldn’t have so many awesome original series.