That woman he’s referring to is Griselda Blanco, and she’s portrayed by Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara in a role that the streaming giant promises is Vergara “like you’ve never seen her before.” The six-episode drama follows the rise of “La Jefa” from obscurity in Colombia via a deadly blend of charm and savagery all the way to the top of one of the most profitable cartels in history. Why I’ve been very much looking forward to the show is also because it serves as a reunion of the same team behind Narcos, which I’ve previously described as one of the greatest Netflix franchises of all time.
That team includes Newman (the executive producer of the recent Netflix hit Painkiller, another drug-adjacent series) along with Andrés Baiz, who directs every episode of Griselda. Vergara herself is also an executive producer for the new Netflix series.
“There has never been a woman who came close to achieving the power, wealth, and respect that Griselda did,” Newman said in a Netflix promotional interview about the show, which debuts on Jan. 25. “And no trafficker, woman or man, ever elicited the same level of fear. Griselda is a rise-and-fall story like none we have ever seen before. It’s thrilling, emotional, funny, scary, and tragic.
If you enjoy gritty crime sagas on Netflix, you basically need to put this one on your watchlist right freaking now. During her bloody reign, Blanco was involved in the gang wars in Miami during the 1970s and 80s, known as the Cocaine Cowboy period, when cocaine trafficking surpassed that of marijuana. Her distribution network, at one point, reportedly was bringing in $80 million per month.
All of that is to say, this is a big release for Netflix — but it’s also, of course, not the only new title from the streamer worth checking out next week. There are plenty of other major Netflix releases that are likewise just around the corner, a snapshot of which can be found below.
The movie is set in a dystopian version of London that mixes high-tech futurism with urban desolation on its outskirts. The year is 2044, a time when the gap between rich and poor has been stretched to its limits. “All forms of social housing have been eradicated,” the movie’s logline explains, “and London’s working classes have been forced to live in temporary accommodation on the outskirts of the city.
“The Kitchen is the first and the largest of its kind, it’s London’s last village (harboring) residents that refuse to move on and move out of the place they call home. It’s here we meet Izi, a resident of the kitchen who is desperately trying to find a way out and 12-year-old Benji who has lost his mother and is searching for a family. We follow our unlikely pair as they battle to survive in a system that is stacked against them.” Now streaming.
Jacqueline Novak: Get on Your Knees: If you’re in need of some laughs, meanwhile, a new Netflix standup comedy special that looks pretty hilarious is also among next week’s Netflix releases (although I’m going to have to be a little circumspect about what it’s about, so as not to get sideways with my boss — we’re a family-friendly blog, after all). Comedian Jacqueline Novak’s show is all about a certain adult act that was actually a word-of-mouth sensation off Broadway. Release date: Jan. 23.
Queer Eye — Season 8: Also days away is the new season of the streamer’s hit reality series Queer Eye, which will once again bring emotional makeovers courtesy of the Fab Five. The heroes they help, this time, all hail from New Orleans.
As feel-good as this show is, though, it’s also worth pointing out that everything wasn’t exactly hunky-dory behind the scenes this time around. In fact, the show was directly impacted by the rampant crime in the Crescent City, resulting in a shortened season. A harrowing report in The Hollywood Reporter details multiple carjackings that affected the show’s crew, in addition to two of the show’s crewmembers very nearly getting caught in the crossfire of a shooting that occurred while they were at a local McDonald’s. Release date: Jan. 24.
Doctor Slump: Finally, there’s an exciting new K-drama coming with next week’s Netflix releases, and I’m super excited for this one. Doctor Slump, starring Park Hyung-sik and Park Shin-hye, is giving me the same vibe as some of the best swoon-worthy, romantic K-dramas that first attracted me to the genre. “Once rivals in school,” Netflix says by way of teasing the story, “two doctors run into each other again at rock bottom — and help one another find solace and healing amid a blossoming romance.” Release date: Jan. 27.