Netflix has released the trailer for Blockbuster, its forthcoming sitcom set in a fictionalized version of the final Blockbuster Video on the planet. The show, which will drop next month, centers on WandaVision's Randall Park and Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Melissa Fumero wearing the classic blue polo shirts that represented the uniform of Blokbuster corporate employees. If you spent any amount of time in the big-box video store over the years, the imagery of this trailer -- with the yellow walls, the familiar torn-ticket logo, and the signage and name tags that look exactly right -- will likely light up the nostalgia centers of your brain a little bit.
Hailing from Universal Television, Blockbuster is being described as a 10-episode, single-camera workplace comedy that "explores what it takes – and, more specifically, who it takes – for a small business to succeed against all odds." In the context of the series, the last Blockbuster is in "a dying strip mall in a dying town."
You can see the trailer below.
The series will star Randall Park as Timmy, the manager of the Blockbuster store who has to handle a cast of misfits and weirdos -- on both sides of the cash register. Melissa Fumero from Brooklyn Nine-Nine recently joined the cast as Eliza, a dedicated mother whose marriage to her high school sweetheart is on the rocks. She left Harvard after one semester to start a family and now works at Blockbuster alongside Timmy (Park) as his trusty Number 2 – and maybe more.
There actually is one Blockbuster Video still in business, in Bend, Oregon. Like most Blockbuster stores, it's in a stand-alone building rather than a strip mall, and the staff and customers seem fairly normal, if the 2020 documentary The Last Blockbuster is any indication. That movie was a big hit on Netflix when it arrived there last spring.
The series is created by Vanessa Ramos, with David Caspe and Jackie Clarke on board as writers/executive producers. Payman Benz will direct and co-executive produce four episodes, including the pilot.
The move reunites Fumero with Ramos, who served as a writer-producer on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Benz also directed some episodes of that series. In addition to Blockbuster and Brookly Nine-Nine, fans may recognize Fumero as the voice of Melissa on Marvel's animated series M.O.D.O.K. for Hulu.
The management missteps that led to Blockbuster's demise -- the most well-known, but certainly not the only one, was the decision to pass on an opportunity to buy Netflix early in its lifespan -- are enumerated not only in The Last Blockbuster but also in Built to Fail: The Inside Story of Blockbuster's Inevitable Bust, a new book out this week from longtime franchise owner Alan Payne, who appears in The Last Blockbuster. Payne is sharply critical of the parade of executives who followed after the retirement of longtime Blockbuster chief H. Wayne Huizenga, who bought Blockbuster shortly after it was founded and built it up into an entertainment juggernaut, then cashed out when it was at the apex of its power and value.
Blockbuster will debut on November 3 on Netflix, but please be aware that they will expect you to return it by noon on the fifth day to avoid late fees.