Audiences, it seems, can’t get enough of sleuthing in their streaming, says “Watch It!” columnist NICK OVERALL.
One of Netflix’s newest shows puts an eccentric, literary thief front and centre, eluding even the greatest of detectives.
“Lupin” is a TV version of the classic French tales of Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief and master of disguise originally penned in 1905 as something of an antithesis to the much more well-known Sherlock Holmes.
He’s a cunning burglar, a “Robin Hood-esque” enigma who uses his smarts to steal from the rich as justification for his devious dealings that detectives can’t keep up with.
The show is what we’ve come to expect from this genre: twists, turns and all the criminal doodad, but a charismatic lead of Omar Sy swiftly pulling it along has made “Lupin” a hit, reaching 70 million households in just its first month of streaming.
In a quirky dash of trivia, Maurice Leblanc, the original creator of the Lupin stories, actually tried to write in Sherlock Holmes to buff up the popularity of his own character.
Surprise, legal issues ensued with the real author of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who essentially told Leblanc there’s no way that Holmes would be featured in his books.
Not dissuaded, Leblanc kept the character in his stories, just with a new, original handle of “Herlock Sholmes” which, would you believe, turned out to be somehow legally dandy.
Herlock doesn’t make an appearance in this Netflix series, but anyone interested in the actual detective, he’s certainly around in the BBC show “Sherlock”, currently on Stan.
Although a modern twist brings this iteration of the detective to the 21st century, it remains the most faithful to, and loving of, Conan Doyle’s source material. Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the super sleuth, paired up with Martin Freeman playing faithful companion Dr Watson are a blast to watch together.
Stan also has the other series that brought Holmes to the modern day: “Elementary”. It’s good fun, too, but the avid readers of Doyle’s detective stories are likely to find the BBC’s version a more rewarding watch.
Popular on free-to-stream platform ABC iView is another show diving into some detective work, although this one’s a little heavier.
It’s called “The Missing” and it first premiered in 2014, however it’s found a renewed burst of interest with ABC iView pushing it to the fore of their featured shows.
It tells the story of a family whose holiday turns into a nightmare after a young boy vanishes, and of the dark obsession to get him back that follows.
This one’s quite the hidden gem, tucked away on one of the more minor streaming sites, but it’s good to see shows such as this edge their way towards the mainstream superhighway.
There’s some traffic speeding down that road – a recent trailer from Netflix is not showcasing one film, but rather 70.
That’s right, the platform recently released a run down of every film that’ll be available for streaming on the platform in 2021, with a promise of at least one new flick a week making its way to subscribers.
Netflix isn’t the producer behind all 70 films, as much as it might like to be. What it does have though is a line-up of producers from other companies desperate to get more people viewing their films than what a cinema in a pandemic allows for.
As such, Netflix has been able to reach out all over the world and snatch up deals to premiere the films on their own streaming platform.
For comparison, Universal Studios, which is widely ranked as the largest film production company on earth, has released 12 films over the last 12 months, which makes Netflix quite the comfortable record breaker.
In fact, it was the streaming giant itself that put its promise into words best two years ago, saying it wanted to give subscribers a “cinematic onslaught”.
That does indeed seem like some bang for your buck, but Netflix shouldn’t jump the gun too fast. A model not prioritising quality, but rather content for sheer content’s sake seems rather elementary, my dear Watson.