04th Aug2020

‘How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast): Season 2’ Review (Netflix)

by Rhys Payne

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) was one of the first shows I ever reviewed and thought it was a fairly niche and underground show but clearly it was popular enough for a second season to be green-lit by the team at Netflix! This is one of the first-ever dubbed shows I have ever seen, it was originally produced in German with an English dub being put over the top for the English audience. While it’s fantastic that we, as an English speaking audience, are able to enjoy international television and appreciate the talent/ideas of artists all over the world, I did find the dubbing a little distracting due to the mismatch of lip movements to words being said.

If you haven’t seen the first season, this series follows the lives of a misfit group of teenagers who develop a website in an attempt to make money and increase their street cred. This website spirals out of control and becomes one of the biggest drug distribution tools in recent years. In some sense the show documents the trials and tribulations of starting your own business, which is obviously great to see and will hopefully inspire more young people to think about starting their own business (though hopefully NOT in the same sector as the characters in this series!) As the show is set in a school, it also documents the struggle and angst young people face – and as the title suggests, the show is extremely modern crammed full of references to popular culture and technology. I am not saying that an older audience will not enjoy this show but a younger audience will get more from it due to their knowledge of modern culture and experience of technology, among other things.

This season of How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) contained a very strange structure. The show flips back and forth from almost an interview/interrogation to a live perspective of the events that happened. This constant switching does become somewhat confusing after a while but what was clever is that the end of the season helps to tie this structure together and help justify the structure to the audience. [SPOILERS AHEAD] The season is a retrospective account of the events as Moritz Zimmermann (played by Maximilian Mundt) is being interrogated by the police force. This was clever inclusion as not only does the show have a sad ending, the conclusion is also a deterrent to people who may find a sense of inspiration from the show to start some sort of drug business! It also justified why the structure switched so frequently, which is great to see unfold. The graphics used on-screen throughout did seem very out of place, as they didn’t particularly fit with the idea of interrogation that this season pushed. Plus the ridiculous amount of over-the-top editing was way too much and while it did add to the drama, it felt very unnecessary.

Also as you would expect from a show of this nature, the series resolves around the distribution of drugs and because of this, there are constant reference to drug-taking and also strong language. This means it is not suitable for a young audience but rather a more mature teenage age audience such as about 15+. There are also scenes depicting violence and high drama with one particular scene of Moritz shaving his head in a fit of rage, which turned out to be staged and fake, being particularly difficult to watch. Talking about the drama I was not expecting the final episode to have so much tension that it had me physically – and literally – on the edge of my seat. The narrative seemed to perfectly to spike towards the end of the series, which not only tied off the story well but also allowed them to continue if they want to in the future (and a third season has apparently been green lit). It’s not just drama in this season either, as there are numerous comedic scenes – mostly portrayed by Damian Hardung (who played Daniel Riffert). What’s fantastic in this series is that Daniel is a character who is your stereotypical good-looking guy, who is not the most academic person in the school, but he acknowledges this and attempts to improve on it. Additionally, there is a disabled character called Lenny (who is played by Danilo Kamperidis) and he is the actual genius behind the website, which is yet another example of fantastic representation on screen.

Overall this is a hyper-modern show that explores the angst and stress of teenage life as well as being realistic enough to be a real-life possibility (and in fact it did happen, as this series is based on real-life events). It’s fun and entertaining but the structure is slightly distracting at the beginning – though thankfully it makes sense by the end.

***½  3.5/5

Season 2 of How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) is available to watch on Netflix now.


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