As we move from January into February (how is 2024 disappearing so quickly already?), this week has seen another new Netflix number one series rise to the top of the best streaming service's chart. It's a Netflix Original cartel drama called Griselda, a show which follows the titular character as she flees Medellin, Colombia, to start a new life in Miami, USA (well, 'new business', let's say).
However, while many Netflix Original shows have been posting rave reviews in the recent past – I highlighted Lupin season 3 and the Beckham documentary last year – Griselda has landed a so-so 75% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing.
Sure, that's a sort-of three-and-a-half-our-of-five score, but I think this six-part show – which, admittedly, I'm only halfway through at the time of writing – deserves even more. I'm certainly hooked already anyway – and I think you will be too, especially if you were a fan of Netflix's Narcos series.
Griselda is anchored by Sofia Vergara, who plays Griselda Blanco, AKA 'The Godmother', a drug cartel linchpin in the making whose story you watch progress as she builds an empire. It kicks off rather bleakly as if she has no chance, but with every twist and turn she somehow finds the path to succeed. It's a really gritty drama, as you can see in the trailer embedded above.
Right from the beginning the show has the feeling of Narcos about it, which is no surprise given it's ultimately a spin-off from the same creative minds: Carlos Bernard and Doug Miro. The show is set in the 1980s, mirroring the heyday of cocaine's production and infiltration into the United States. Unsurprisingly, it's a BBFC 18-certificate or USA R-rated equivalent.
I know that 75% Rotten Tomatoes rating isn't a bad score – and the critics seem to agree, scoring Griselda 87% on the same Rotten Tomatoes page – but I love how authentically the show melds Colombian Spanish with subtitles against the backdrop of Miami, the authenticity of the 80s setting (all the lavish shirts!) and the great-looking cinematography and colour palette.
Vergara is joined by a stellar cast of lesser-known actors – but watch this space, as Juliana Aiden Martinez, who plays Detective June Hawkins, is destined for future greatness – who all do a great job in delivering a believable world of the era. And it totally makes me want to brush up on my Spanish lessons.
With Netflix having raised prices once again in the not-too-distant past, the streaming service is striving to axe numerous shows in the quest for quality over quantity. Griselda may not have set the Rotten Tomatoes audience score o-meter off the charts just yet, but give it time and more viewers and I suspect its score will only rise. I'm happy to keep my Netflix subscription if more of this kind of drama is in the works and won't be unsubscribing any time soon...