Frankly speaking, I’m not a person who is fond of betting, but can I just say, hypothetically, that I’m willing to offer a good amount of money to anyone who has logged in to Facebook or Instagram in the last two weeks without scrolling past and swiping across a zillion posts and stories related to the Netflix’s most popular foreign show ‘Money Heist’.
This show, originally called ‘La Casa De Papel’ which translates to ‘The house of paper’ is a Spanish series which first aired on a Spanish network back in 2017 which has now become the most watched non-English show worldwide. But here’s a little fun fact for all the fans who have spent the last few days binge watching season four -After a smashing first season, the cast and crew were hoping to receive the same amount of love for the next part but to their dismay there was a rapid fall in the number of viewers by end of season two. In fact the Spanish audience’s response was such that it led to the show being ended and any further seasons cancelled.
It’s shocking to know that a show with over 44 million household viewers (at present) was once going to be lost in television history. But that’s when Netflix stepped in the picture. They approached Álex Pina and his team (the creators of Money Heist) for they sensed a great deal of potential in the series and wanted to air it on Netflix for its international users ; and so the team agreed (since they were going to end it anyway and had nothing to lose).
After a few weeks of the show being hidden somewhere in the later pages of Netflix’s catalogue, the cast and crew witnessed what they thought was next to impossible. Netflix users had found the show and viewers had started multiplying overnight. The cast went from having a few thousand followers to millions of followers across all social media platforms in a matter of few weeks. Fame had reached their doorsteps and there was no escaping it.
Given the unexpected turn of events, they could obviously not go ahead with their previous plan of ending the series because the audience wanted more! And now we’re not just talking about the people of Spain, but international fans too. When the number of viewers are in millions, the creators are bound to feel immense pressure. So when Netflix asked them if they wanted to renew for a third season, the team took two long months to revert because they knew that unless they could come up with a plot that was even more enthralling than the previous parts, continuing the story was pointless.
What heist could possibly get more exciting than the one at the Royal Mint of Spain, as documented in the first two seasons where the gang, led by the Professor……oops! I guess I should stop here because I do not wish to spoil the show for anyone, because God knows if someone did that with me, I would not take that well. But yes to answer the previous question, the gang returned and surpassed all expectations with another meticulously prepared plan for a heist at the Bank of Spain in seasons three and four. Thanks to Netflix, budget was no more an issue, allowing the creators and writers to work with absolutely no restraints – international shoot locations, realistic high octane stunts, extravagant sets, etc.
The investment was clearly huge but worth every dollar. The show has made such an enormous impact that the word popular does not suffice while describing it. As of today, ‘La Casa De Papel’ stands as the most viewed program on Netflix in France, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Portugal. However it’s interesting to note that the impact has not been entirely positive because the show has also inspired some copycat robberies in some countries.
So what makes this show different than the countless others that are listed under the drama,thriller and crime categories? Nobody can answer this question better than the creator of the show himself, who says, “We have this way of expressing ourselves, of exchanging our feelings that goes through the screen. In Money Heist, feelings, fraternity and love are as important as the plots. A perfect heist, rational and cool, becomes something else when spiced up with Latin emotions.”
The show also has a certain political edge to it. In one of its seasons, the Professor leaves a very important message for the people, asking them to join the resistance. Thus, after the show’s release several instances have been reported from various parts of the world where people donned red jumpsuits, Salvador Dali masks and chanted the very famous anthem ‘Bella Ciao’ on the streets during riots and civil protests.
Any great story in cinema is incomplete if the actor cannot bring it to life effectively. No amount of credit will be enough for the show’s brilliant cast who have done the most spectacular job of portraying their characters. But there’s very little that I can say about the characters, their traits and their relationships without giving away parts of the show and thus I must stop myself.
In case you haven’t seen the show already and are now sensing a wee bit of FOMO, please make good use of this lockdown period and enjoy one of the best crime-drama series of recent times. I promise you that once you’re done (oh and you will be done because once you start, there’s no stopping till you have reached the end) none of the aforementioned praise will seem exaggerated in any way.