Back for more: How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (Season 2)

The teenage drug kingpin is back. MyDrugs has become a national hit, and Moritz has developed an online persona, m1000, to carry that fame anonymously. With an expanding business, he faces new challenges – especially as his friends and accomplices want out.

Who knew to sell drugs you had to befriend a bunch of Albanians and go hunting?

This season was a nice continuation of the first, and I must have watched it all in under 48 hours. So, yes, it’s just as gripping as before. Moritz is pressing ahead with his business, aided by his friends (read: suppliers) from the Netherlands, who encourage the expansion and even ask Moritz to develop a front to keep control of his operations.

The show also continues to nail the more technical aspects of the plot. For example, new character Lena (whom Lenny has been catfishing since Season 1) is revealed to be a travelling con artist, blackmailing businessmen in hotels across region by hooking them into her fake ‘Free Hotel Wi-Fi’, an act that allows her to view their browsing activity and even remotely record their webcam while they… you know what. This is a very real possibility and a good lesson to be careful about joining any public / unsecured Wi-Fi networks, especially without the use of a VPN to encrypt your browsing.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Moritz struggles to balance his schoolwork, drugs business, and relationship with his girlfriend Lisa, whom he is desperately trying to keep safe from any knowledge of his activities. There might even be the return of a certain Albanian drugs gang looking for answer about how one of their own killed themselves with a certain someone’s 3D-printed gun…

It looks like this show is going to be renewed for a third season, and I’m all for it. The production values are fantastic and I love the attention to detail shown to the technical aspects of the show.

As always, watch in German and turn subtitles in if you need to.


What I thought about: The Business of Drugs

Did you know one of the world’s largest producers of meth is Myanmar? Me neither. This docuseries, focused on the economics of drug dealing, shines a light on supply chains you never knew existed, and for that reason is a recommended watch.

Fox looks on at a display of force from a Myanmar militia – who might be funded by the drugs trade

What’s it about?
Amaryllis Fox is an ex-CIA analyst who used to work in counterterrorism. In other words, she’s been around. Fox takes us through a different type of drug in every episode, complete with a series of voice-overs, visits to drug trafficking hotspots, and interviews with experts (both the scientific kind and the… drug trafficking kind).

You’ll learn a lot about the economics of the drugs trade for Cocaine, Synthetics, Heroin, Meth, and Cannabis. There’s also a bonus episode on the opioid epidemic that the USA is still suffering the effects of. It’s not all numbers, though – you’ll be faced with the harsh reality of what pushes drug mules to risk their freedom – or even their lives – in pursuit of a slightly better pay packet. In other words, they’re also victims.

What do I like about it?
It’s a fresh take on the usual documentaries we see on drug abuse, although there’s enough of the ‘traditional’ drug documentary coverage to keep things interesting and well-aligned.

I particularly liked the Cannabis episode which explored why the legalisation of cannabis in California hasn’t managed to significantly reduce illegal sales of the drug – which still command 80% of the market. Although I’m generally an advocate of decriminalisation, it obviously has to ‘work’ to increase safety, reduce organised crime, and maybe benefit the public purse a bit. California is, it seems, an example of what not to do.

What do I not like about it?
The production values in this series are a teeny bit lacking. On-screen graphics appear somewhat inconsistently, and some of the filming seems a bit hap-hazard. Mind you, it’s not enough to distract you entirely.

Oh no, what’s far more distracting is the significant change in appearance between the version of Fox appearing in all the studio-lit interviews (a post-filming retelling that fills in some of the gaps and links between scenes) and the version of her in the rest of each episode where she’s interviewing someone or travelling to a particular area. It seems silly when you realise it, but it took me a hot minute to work out that they were the same person!

Worth a watch?
If you’re at all interesting in learning a little behind-the-scenes of the drug trade, there are some genuinely insightful pieces in this show. I’d recommend it.

By the way…

  • Fox joined the CIA when she was just in college. Her memoirs are available as a book, Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA
  • Wait, this also relates to the above… Fox’s memoirs are being turned into an Apple TV+ drama series. Get hyped!


Quickfire round: F is For Family (Season 4)

Season 4 of this fantastic adult cartoon explores some pretty deep issues, including a whole episode dedicated to black supporting character Rosie, who runs for election as the town’s Alderman, and a season-long theme of terse parental relationships.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Frank smile in a scene.

A brief recap on F is For Family: it’s an adult cartoon created by, and starring, US comedian Bill Burr. Set in the 1970s, it follows the lives of a dysfunctional sub-urban family, headed up by Francis ‘Frank’ Murphy, head of baggage handling at Mohican Airways. Having left college full of aspirations, Frank is drafted into the US Army for the Vietnam War, before settling down into a premature daily grind upon the arrival of his first son, Kevin. We know all this thanks to the fantastic opening credits, backed by Redbone’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’.

The show has always been good, not least because its 70s setting both does away with modern distractions and also sheds light on the issues of the times, including blatant racism, sexism in medical care, drug use, abusive parenting, drink driving, and a whole lot more.

This season’s central plot is the appearance of Frank’s estranged father, Bill, whom Frank only remembers as being foul-mouthed and condescending all his life, right up until his mother had enough and kicked him out of the house. Bill gets on well with Frank’s children, and thus begins a tense undercurrent as Frank becomes increasingly angry at the memories of his father’s bullying, which ironically impacts his treatment towards his own children.

We also get an entire episode dedicated to Rosie, the meet-and-greet at Mohican Airways, who is running for election to the town’s local council as their Alderman. Genuinely wanting to improve his poverty-stricken district, Rosie quickly becomes dejected by the bribery and bureaucracy exercised by the mafia-like mayor.

There’s plenty of development in the kids and Sue this season too, but these generally take a backstage to the larger themes of the show.

It’s hard for me to describe why you should watch F is For Family, but I’d certainly implore you to give a few episodes a go, ideally from Season 1.


What I thought about: Elite (Season 3)

The scandal-hit students of Las Encinas are back. Once again, someone has ended up dead. Although the show’s many side plots are somewhat weaker than earlier seasons, its overarching strengths mean this season is still a must-watch.

You find out what they’re all looking at by Episode 2

What’s it about?
A quick recap of Elite in general: Sixth-formers at a prestigious fee-paying school get up to all sorts of scandalous stuff, but this gets taken to a new level when three comparatively poor kids from the local (now demolished) comprehensive get in on a scholarship. The elite kids can’t handle this invasion, and all hell breaks loose.

Each series is centred around a whodunnit that employs a flash-forward structure to build the viewer up to the final episode. But it’s also so much more than that. Elite has covered a staggering array of topics in its three-season run. The rich/poor divide, trophy wives, cancer, religion, polyamory, same-sex parenting, corruption, fraud, drugs, extortion, murder, sex, and even incest. And I’ve probably only recalled half of them.

I don’t want to spoil earlier seasons, so I can’t say much else about the plot. If you’ve seen earlier seasons of Elite, you can be assured this one is quite similar.

What do I like about it?
Those topics I was talking about? Each one is covered beautifully. Seriously, everything in this show is beautifully done. The scenery, the wardrobing, the casting, the music, the camera shots. Side note on the casting: I’m not ashamed to say that every single character is overwhelmingly attractive.

To be entirely honest, most of the season ran through without much of a surprise. The incidents that happen in Elite are only shocking the first time – so I’m a bit numb to them by season 3. But the final episode is something special. The tension in the club, the words cutting deeper than the broken neck of the champagne bottle, the final send-off. A few minutes are all it takes to illustrate just how deeply the characters are connected to each other. As a fan of the show from the start, it has to be my favourite episode so far.

What do I not like about it?
A potentially unpopular opinion: I didn’t care for Ander’s cancer diagnosis (hardly a spoiler, it happens near the start). In general, the relationship between Ander and Omar was frustrating. I know the show really wants to portray their relationship as some beautiful and delicate thing, but almost every conversation between them resulted in one getting pissed off, and usually pretty quickly, too.

Also, if there’s one person who can be said to be the main character, it’s Samu. In almost every show I’ve ever watched, the main character sucks. This is no exception. He flip flops between good and evil, all whilst being very annoying about it.

Worth a watch?
Absolutely, and especially so if you’ve seen any other season of the show.

By the way…

  • The show has been renewed for 4th and 5th season, but with most of the cast replaced. I’m really sad to see them go, but you can’t keep everyone together after they graduate, can you?
  • I have lots of opinions about this show so, if you want to chat with me about them, please do.


What I thought about: Top Boy (Season 3)

The gritty drug-dealing crime drama is back, and this time it’s in Dolby Vision. With a longer US-style episode run (ten of them!) there’s more time to explore thought-provoking stories amongst the chaos.

Dushane is back. Dris is whack. And then there’s Jaq.

What’s it about?
Top Boy the franchise looks at the scramble to become the top drug dealer in the postcode — in this case the fictional Summerhouse estate (filmed in the very real Hackney, East London). You should watch the previous seasons which aired first on Channel 4 and are now available on Netflix for a good introduction to some of the main characters. However due to the show’s 6-year hiatus and mostly refreshed cast, it’s not mandatory.

Top Boy Season 3 is about Dushane’s return to Summerhouse following exile in Jamaica, no doubt due to the events of Season 2. At the same time, partner-in-crime Sully gets released from prison. While they’ve been away, Dushane’s henchman Dris has been running Summerhouse, although they’re making small time money. Their main top-level supplier has been the Turks who charge quite a high price for the food.

In neighbouring London Fields, young Jamie is looking to fill the place of his gang leader, Modie, who was recently locked up for a very long time. With a new supplier – charging a much lower price – he plans to become Hackney’s top boy by supplying wholesale to Summerhouse and neighbouring gangs.

Dushane. Sully. Jamie. Modie. All very powerful forces, all willing to do some pretty violent things to become Top Boy.

What do I like about it?
Top Boy manages to be gritty, poignant, and thrilling all in one. The more violent parts of the show are finely balanced with themes of childish innocence, racism, and poverty.

The cast are phenomenal and the show (although I am not an expert) paints a pretty real picture of the reality facing many teenagers and young people on London estates. See if you can spot the code-switching employed by Dushane. On the one hand he’s articulate and caring (when he’s with his mother, or a potential love interest) and on the other hand he’s sweary and ruthless (when barking orders to his crew).

What do I not like about it?
Okay, some people won’t like the slower pace adopted in this season. I’ll take ten episodes of Top Boy over four any day, but there’s about the same amount of action in the former as there was in the latter.

Some aspects of the plot are also a bit spotty in places, a bit far-fetched considering the more accurate parts of the show.

Worth a watch?
Check the premise. Not everyone is going to want to watch a show like this, and some of the scenes are quite harrowing. If you know what you’re getting yourself in for, though, I’m happy to report that the show’s revival definitely delivers.

By the way…

  • The show was brought back in part by Drake, and you can definitely tell it has a bigger budget. Some beautiful scenes were shot in sunny Jamaica.
  • The show has allegedly been renewed for a fourth season due to air later in 2020, and the ending definitely sets up for this.