It’s a good day for Outsiders who remember the wonder of Blockbuster Video stores. Netflix just ordered a new sitcom that focuses on the last remaining Blockbuster in the country.
Randall Park will star in the new comedy, which focuses on a tight-knit group of employees who refuse to let their Blockbuster store go under. Fans might recognize Park from his most recent role in “WandaVision,” as well as projects like “The Interview,” “Always Be My Maybe,” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”
Blockbuster Video first opened in 1985, becoming more and more popular throughout the 1990s. According to Screenrant, the company peaked in 2004, when it had 9,000 stores and 85,000 employees globally. But the 2008 financial crisis hit Blockbuster hard, causing them to file for bankruptcy in 2010. It doesn’t help that Netflix’s DVD mail-order system and Redbox’s DVD rental kiosks directly competed with the video store.
Plus, by the mid-2000s, iTunes and other platforms introduced digital films that you could buy online. No VHS or DVD needed. By 2014, when Blockbuster closed almost all of its stores, digital streaming had overtaken the film distribution industry.
And now, 36 years after opening, only one Blockbuster Video store remains. It’s located in Bend, Oregon, and Netflix actually made a documentary about the store in 2020, titled “The Last Blockbuster.”
What Can We Expect From Netflix’s New Blockbuster Sitcom?
Netflix ordered 10 episodes of the single-camera series, simply titled “Blockbuster.” At this time, Randall Park is the only cast member announced for the ensemble show. Although, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” writer Vanessa Ramos will create it along with David Caspe and Jackie Clarke. John Davis and John Fox will executive produce for Davis Entertainment.
Deadline reports that the show will channel an “authentic experience” into the comedy by using the store’s official logo and uniform (the producers acquired Blockbuster’s rights).
Tracey Pakosta, the Head of Comedy at Netflix, opened up a bit about how the streaming service felt about pursuing the show. Originally, Ramos was set to create it at NBC. But Pakosta, once the Co-President of Scripted Programming at NBC, quickly brought it over to Netflix.
“When Vanessa and David first came in and shared this idea for a comedy series, we were immediately excited,” Pakosta said. “This is ultimately the story of a dedicated group of co-workers, with a lot of heart. And now with the hilarious Randall Park signing on to play the lead, it’s a no-brainer.”
Unfortunately, we have no news of a release date for Netflix’s new Blockbuster sitcom. But it already has plenty of potential to become another hit show.
Several people can’t get over the irony of the whole situation. Netflix posed as Blockbuster’s biggest competitor in the early and mid-2000s. Now, it’s creating an entire saga about the decline of the video store.
The sitcom also might snag viewers who are there for the nostalgia. Many people remember those weekend night visits to Blockbuster, the fear of late fees, the excitement of finding a film you’d never seen before. And there’s also an entire generation who have no idea the stranglehold Blockbuster had on movie culture in the 1990s and 2000s. Maybe through this new Netflix show, they’ll finally learn.