We all know how the story goes. Thanks to the evolution of movie distribution and, eventually, the streaming era, brick-and-mortar rental staples like Blockbuster started becoming obsolete as early as Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail days.
Perhaps adding insult to injury, the streaming giant has picked up the new 10-episode comedy series Blockbuster, set in the last remaining Blockbuster Video, starring Randall Park. The Fresh Off the Boat lead’s recent career highlights include Disney+ and Marvel’s WandaVision and Netflix’s own rom-com Always Be My Maybe co-starring Ali Wong. He also voice-acted on a couple episodes of the service’s BoJack Horseman.
Deadline reports the series was created by Vanessa Ramos, with Happy Endings creator David Caspe and writer Jackie Clarke on scripting and executive producing duties. Ramos is responsible for workplace comedies like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Superstore, on which Clarke worked as well.
Netflix’s head of comedy Tracey Pakosta spoke about Ramos and Caspe’s initial pitch and why it worked. “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.”
The narrative that Netflix “killed” Blockbuster outright doesn’t quite tell the complete story. As Inc. cites, and originally reported by Retail Dive, Blockbuster was only a profitable company for two years during its entire tenure from 1996 to 2010. It had massive debt after being bought out by Viacom, and as DVDs became omnipresent the company couldn’t keep up. In reality, Netflix was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, not the dagger that suddenly ended its life.
Regardless, Blockbuster looks to stir up nostalgia while still paying homage to the company that had a lot more going on than we might have expected. The comedy series does not have a release date yet.