Before the ease of streaming services, people had to go to a physical store to pick a movie to watch and the most iconic of these video rental stores was Blockbuster. Though Blockbuster shut down in 2014 it’s making a comeback, at least on TV. Blockbuster is a new show that follows the employees who work at the last Blockbuster Video store in the U.S. Cuban American actress Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, M.O.D.O.K.) is co-starring alongside Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) in her first significant television role since finishing B99. Cuban American Broadway icon Olga Merediz, who originated the role of Abuela Claudia in the Broadway musical In the Heights and starred in the film version, also stars in the upcoming series
Created by Vanessa Ramos (Superstore), the highly anticipated show recently received its series premiere date on Netflix, and is set to release all ten episodes of its first season on November 3, according to Variety. It will focus on how the store keeps up business in the modern era of digital streaming services. Fumero took to Instagram to announce the news: “No late fees and don’t worry about rewinding (there’s a whole generation that won’t understand that!) Blockbuster launches November 3rd, only on Netflix!!”
Blockbuster Video, otherwise simply known as Blockbuster, was one of the biggest video rental stores in the world in the 1980s and 90s. Before streaming services, DVD-by-mail and renting physical copies of films was the norm for movie watchers everywhere. But with the rise of Netflix and Redbox in the 2000s, Blockbuster went bankrupt and closed its doors, leaving the once global franchise with only one store open in Bend, Oregon.
Inspired by Blockbuster’s history, creator, executive producer, and writer Vanessa Ramos (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Superstore, Big Mouth) was inspired to write a television show based on this premise. She first announced that her pilot had been picked up by Netflix in November of last year, saying on Instagram, “I wrote a pilot during quarantine and now I get to make a show with my friends.” This project is part of a multi-year deal she inked with Universal Television in April 2021, marking an impressive step for Latinas in media and TV.
“I could not be more thrilled to make it official with Universal Television,” Ramos said at the time, according to Deadline. “The whole team has been nothing but supportive and nurturing of my voice as a writer throughout my career, and no one said anything when I pitched a show while wearing sweatpants. I’m looking forward to collaborating on all sorts of fun projects together that might also be pitched in sweatpants.”
Blockbuster is also set to feature other Latinx talent including actor Tyler Alvarez (Never Have I Ever, Crush), who is of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. Additional cast members include Madeleine Arthur (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), J.B. Smoove (Saturday Night Live), and Kamaia Fairburn (Endlings).
Blockbuster will be available to stream on Netflix on Nov. 3, 2022.