Netflix Should Stay In The 'Narcos' Business

At long, long last, Netflix subscribers have received the news they've been waiting for since mid-July: The streaming service has finally renewed Stranger Things for Season 2. But, just as one subset of viewers have received good news, another set waits for theirs; Season 2 of Netflix's cartel drama Narcos premieres on Friday, but fans have no way of knowing whether or not the 10 episodes they're about to marathon will be the last 10 episodes of the series they ever watch. Will this be the final season of the Pablo Escobar story, or will Narcos be renewed for Season 3? Update: On Sept. 6, TVLine reported that Narcos has been renewed for Seasons 3 and 4.

Earlier: Unfortunately, we'll probably have to wait awhile to get the answer to that question, since Netflix is notoriously untroubled by such things as audience anticipation when it comes to things like renewal announcements. (Case in point: The nearly seven weeks it took them to renew the phenomenon that is Stranger Things.) For whatever the reason — creative or commercial — the people at Netflix like to take their time making such decisions, which means Narcos fans will just have to go ahead and watch Season 2 with the fate of the show hanging ominously over their heads.

There are two things about Netflix specifically that make it even harder than usual to make an educated guess about the future of any of their shows. First, there's the simple fact that they don't release any ratings information, which means I have no idea how many people are watching any given series. Secondly, there's the fact that Netflix is still relatively new to the original programming game, having debuted its inaugural series, House Of Cards, only three-and-a-half years ago.

Fortunately, that's just long enough for us to have some idea of how Netflix operates… and that strategy can basically be boiled down to "never cancel anything." Of the 19 live-action scripted series the service has created in the past three years, only one has since ended its run — supernatural drama Hemlock Grove, which wrapped last year after three seasons — and even then fans were given the courtesy of a "final season renewal" notice, rather than just having the show abruptly cancelled on them.

Everything else — from awards magnets like House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black to superhero series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones to cult favorites like Sense8 and Stranger Things to edgy comedies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master Of None — has either already run for multiple seasons or has at least been renewed for a sophomore outing. It's possible that Narcos could become the first Netflix original program to last only two years, but it seems unlikely; especially since fans weren't warned in advance that Season 2 would be the final season.

Part of Netflix's approach to original content certainly appears to be putting great amounts of faith in their showrunners, allowing them at least a few years to craft the story they want to tell. I don't think Narcos fans need to worry that the drama may become the service's first sign of weakness — especially since Season 2 is already getting glowing reviews — which means they can almost certainly expect a third season to debut on the streaming service sometime in Fall 2017.

Images: Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix (3)