Randall Park To Star In A Netflix Sitcom About Blockbuster Video Employees

Bend, Oregon is home to the last functional Blockbuster Video, a stand-alone building which has now become a hit tourist attraction and the subject of Taylor Morden's documentary "The Last Blockbuster" on Netflix. In our world of algorithms, Rotten Tomato ratings, and company curated content suggestions, the nostalgia for Blockbuster and video stores in general are at an all time high. After the success of "The Last Blockbuster," Netflix has announced a new original sitcom titled "Blockbuster," a fictional look at the video store employees working at the last Blockbuster Video stuck in "a dying strip mall in a dying town."

The series comes from producer Vanessa Ramos, known for her work on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Crashing," and the wholly underrated "Superstore." Set to lead the show is the star of "Fresh Off The Boat," "Always Be My Maybe," and "Ant-Man and the Wasp," comedian Randall Park. The casting is ironically super meta, as Randall Park used to frequently include the fact that he shares a name with an abandoned mall in the Midwest that was super popular in the '80s and '90s in his social media bios — that is, before he proved he's better than the rest of us and got off social media.

Like "Superstore" before it, "Blockbuster" will feature an ensemble cast of Blockbuster employees struggling to keep their dying business alive. The new series will feature 10 half-hour episodes but no additional casting or directors have been announced at this time. The series is being developed by Davis Entertainment production company, the folks behind "The Blacklist," "Magnum P.I.," and others.

Continuing to Move the Nostalgia Needle Forward

Nostalgia properties always perform well, which is why shows like "Stranger Things" are so popular, why we can't stop making "Ghostbusters" movies, and why all of the biggest studios are continuing to crank out reboots and remakes of some of their most popular properties. However, for the last 25 years, the 1980s has had a stranglehold on nostalgia projects. Maybe it's because the target consumers are genuinely not sick of fluorescent lights and synth wave, or perhaps it's because the primary decision makers at major production companies were children in the 1980s and therefore prioritize stories that tickle their personal fancies.

Regardless, here's something that might blow your mind: "vintage" by definition, means anything that was made between 20 and 100 years ago. Yes, the little hamster on the wheel in your brain that just stopped heard correctly. The clothes, media, and pop culture from 1921-2001 are all considered vintage, and things that were popular in the 1990s and even into the 2000s should be the focus of nostalgia content. I'll let you take a minute to absorb that reality. Fortunately, we've been really lucky with movies like "Fear Street: 1994" and "mid90s" and the hit series "Pen15" that have continued to push the nostalgia needle out of the 1980s and forward toward the '90s and into the aughts, but we're definitely still behind where we should be.

A Perfect Generational Bridge

While "Blockbuster" will be set in the current day, it's focused on a company that hit its peak in the late-1990s. It's the perfect bridge between Gen X and Millennial nostalgia as both generations were the last to actually experience and enjoy the magic of stale popcorn, walls covered in bulky clamshells of Tom Cruise movies, carpet that was somehow always sticky, and getting recommendations from your local, hometown movie obsessed cashier.

Did the Blockbuster corporation kill off Mom & Pop shops and inadvertently push us into the streaming wars we now find ourselves trapped in the middle of? Yes. Were they also the sole source of film consumption for a generation of millions? Also yes. This complicated history of the brand seems perfect for today's audiences and if the success of "The Last Blockbuster" says anything, Netflix is sure to have a hit with their "Blockbuster" sitcom. We'll keep you updated on release dates, casting announcements, and any additional information as it becomes available.