Blockbuster season 1 review – your new favourite workplace comedy has arrived

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 3, 2022 (Last updated: 5 weeks ago)
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Blockbuster is a well-put-together workplace comedy that is worthy of its place alongside other titans of ‘comfort TV’ sitcoms, perfect for viewing when you want 25-minute bursts of adorable misfits thrown together in a workplace setting. It’s likely to get better and better in future seasons as the characters get more fleshed out. 

Yes, there are a lot of ironies here with season 1 of Blockbuster by Netflix. Here is our spoiler-free review.

From one of the writers of Brooklyn 99 comes another charming workplace comedy where a lovable band of misfits attempts to make their way through life together. 

Blockbuster stars Randall Park as Timmy (WandaVision, Always Be My Maybe), a lovable man-child who has been working at the same Blockbuster video rental store since he was a teenager. In the opening episode, he receives a call from head office to inform him that, effective immediately, the other remaining Blockbuster stores are closing, and his store is now the last remaining Blockbuster in the world. Timmy is going to need to take on the responsibility of tackling the irresistible force of Internet streaming single-handedly to keep his business going. 

If you are familiar with shows like Brooklyn 99 and Superstore, then you already know what to expect from Blockbuster. The writers have imagined just what sort of person would work in a video rental store in 2022 and then produced the quirkiest and most lovable versions of those people. 

By definition, the stakes are reassuringly low, and over the course of the 10-episode first season, we better get to know the characters and their individual personalities. It feels as though the writers and actors spend much of the first few episodes feeling each other out, and the series gets stronger with each episode as the characters and audience get to know each other better. 

At the heart of the narrative is that staple of the sitcom, the will they, won’t they romance storyline between Timmy and his high school crush Eliza, played by Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn 99). The near certainty that Timmy and Eliza will eventually get together to a large extent takes away from any suspense the writers are trying to build with these two characters and their potential romance and is actually one of the weaker aspects of the series. 

One of the most interesting aspects of Blockbuster, and one that is sure to provoke plenty of internet discussion, is the fact that this is a Netflix series. Much is made in the script about the importance to the community of the local brick-and-mortar video store. A place where people can go and have real interactions with other humans and get curated recommendations from a person that knows you and your tastes and who is likely to do a better and more thoughtful job than an algorithm. The entire premise of this show is a thinly veiled political stance against Netflix (and other streamers) and everything they stand for. 

Netflix crushed Blockbuster. Blockbuster no longer exists because Netflix and evolving technology made them obsolete. Now Netflix has a show celebrating the brave people working in a Blockbuster who stand up against, well, Netflix. I can’t work out if the commissioning team at Netflix were aware of all this and let it happen as some sort of inside joke or if the writers and producers of Blockbuster just managed to sneak this one past Netflix. Either way, this riddle has kept me occupied since I watched the first episode of Blockbuster and will likely continue to as we move into season 2. 

What did you think of the Netflix series Blockbuster season 1? Comment below.

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