08th Nov2022

‘Blockbuster: Season 1’ Review (Netflix)

by Guest

Stars: Randall Park, Melissa Fumero, Olga Merediz, Tyler Alvarez, Madeleine Arthur | Created by Vanessa Ramos | Directed by Payman Benz, Aleysa Young, Katie Locke O’Brien, Jackie Clarke

Timmy Yoon is an analog dreamer living in a 5G world. And after learning he is operating the last Blockbuster Video in America, Timmy and his staff employees (including his long time crush, Eliza fight to stay relevant. The only way to succeed is to remind their community that they provide something big corporations can’t: human connection.

Ah, Blockbuster. I genuinely miss going to my local store every other weekend to rent the newest video game, and spending the entire week playing it and having the time of my life before the dreaded day when I ultimately had to return the game in the little metal door outside the building. There was something special about Blockbuster Video that nearly everyone seems to miss. The smell of the cases, the floors, the rows of shelves, the gumball and popcorn machines, the aesthetic.

It was all just so amazing. But, sadly, we live in a world where streaming is taking over the planet and physical media is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past, unfortunately. Blockbuster Video only has one location remaining in the world, and unlucky for me, I don’t live anywhere near it. But what would the last functioning Blockbuster store on Earth look like? What would their day-to-day operations be?

That’s the premise of the brand new workplace comedy series Blockbuster, created by Vanessa Ramos. Her heart was clearly in the right place here. While watching the show, it’ll be incredibly obvious to you that Ramos also misses going to the store and spending hours perusing the aisles. The only problem is that her execution of this show was incredibly and heartbreakingly poor. This show should’ve been a hilarious, heartfelt look into the lives of employees who work at the last Blockbuster Video, but instead, it’s a deeply unfunny mess that relies way too much on nostalgia.

I get it – Blockbuster was great. But when that’s the entirety of your show… that’s an issue. This season runs for a total of ten episodes and yet each episode felt exactly the same as the previous one. All of the employees gather around to chat about movies and games and tell humorous stories about customers that just walked out of the door. Rinse and repeat. Sadly, these employees aren’t funny or fun to watch because the script isn’t fun or funny.

The first two episodes started off quite well, actually. The show does a good job at roping you in, promising a great, funny time. However, after those two episodes, the show’s true colours immediately begin to show. The nearly thirty-minute episodes are loaded with tons of jokes that fall completely flat. I only found myself laughing maybe once in every episode. This is a show that contains at least twenty jokes per episode. That’s not a good thing when only one joke lands.

What I will say is that the performances here are remarkable and so energetic. Randall Park is infectiously optimistic and charming in the role of Timmy Yoon, the manager of the video store. He absolutely adores cinema and loves working at the store because of his love for the medium. Park is almost always terrific in everything he’s in, and this is no exception. He also has incredible chemistry with his co-star Melissa Fumero, who is also terrific in the role of Eliza Walker.

Madeleine Arthur may be the best of the bunch, however. In the role of Hannah Hadman, Arthur delivers a genuinely heartwarming performance that’s brimming with love, life, and personality. You can practically feel the warmth and joy radiating off of her every single time she’s on screen. J.B. Smoove – who is brilliant on Curb Your Enthusiasm – is wonderful here as Percy Scott, Timmy’s best friend and the landlord of the strip mall where the Blockbuster Video is located in.

Sadly though, these qualities don’t make the overall quality of the show great. These unbelievably fun and hugely infectious performances are stuck in an otherwise hugely disappointing show, and I can’t help but feel as though these actors deserved a better show to display their amazing talents. Blockbuster is definitely one show that you will wish you could get a refund for. A refund for your time.

*½  1.5/5

Blockbuster is available to stream on Netflix now.


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