El Marginal, the Argentinian series that has become Netflix's new and crushing success

The Argentinian series “El Marginal”, created by director and screenwriter Sebastián Ortega in 2016, and whose fifth and final season premiered last May, is somewhat reminiscent of “La Casa de Papel”, two productions which, after their incorporation in a streaming platform exceptionally broadened its international reach.

The Argentinian fiction, which narrates the comings and goings of inmates in a dangerous prison, quickly achieved national success by airing its first season on public television, which attracted the interest of Netflix and will participate in the development of four of his five seasons, in which he became an international phenomenon.

“There is a certain curiosity among the public to explore a world that is foreign to them, but that they know, listen to and know that it exists”, explains Pablo Culell, general producer of the series at Efe. And he adds that within this universe there is a palette of characters who, “although they border on crime in a specific way”, seek change and “generate empathy with the public”.

The prison itself is one more character where “Argentina and the countries of Latin America are reflected”. And for this reason, in countries that do not have this type of prison, there is something exotic, a “Europeanized” vision of what Latin prisons can be.

Its realistic foundation is shown in the codes, in the corruption, in the question of who should be inside and who should be outside, but “it is not a testimony of prisons, it is not a documentary”, assures he.

Bet on the prequels

“El Marginal” is a series with a particular structure. It is not common for prequels to occupy entire seasons in fiction, but it is more common for “spin-offs” or side series developed later.

The series is for Culell “an example of many things” for the Argentine audiovisual media: “It is the first series with five seasons, the first with such great international success and the first that points to the prequels and then goes to the sequels”.

Originally, it was a one-season mini-series for public television. However, its national impact and subsequent sale to Netflix “forced a second season”.

A prequel, already in collaboration between public television and Netflix, whose success “has been boosted 10 times more”, and has exceeded the leading channels in audience.

It seems odd that in a time when the stories seem endless, a platform like Netflix is ​​dropping a series that has given it so many benefits.

“There are cycles that fill up, there are stories that are best left and the audience misses them, burns them out because they’re successful and ends up turning their backs on them or turning their backs on them. get tired,” Culell says.

“We prefer to leave with success in tow and with the feeling that it is well told,” he adds.

However, the producer assures that “the future is the future (…) and maybe at some point the possibility of doing something with ‘El Marginal’ or something similar will appear”.

In fact, in 2018 “El Recluso” was created, a line made with a Mexican cast.

Effects of streaming and social media

In Spain, the last two seasons have been among the most viewed on the platform, a country where the producer points out that “generally” Argentine productions work well, and vice versa.

In the rest of Latin America, the success is general and for several weeks “El Marginal” appears in the Top 10 non-English series of Netflix.

“The fourth season recorded nearly 30 million views in less than ten days in non-English speaking countries,” the producer explains, adding that the final season, a month after the premiere, was still in the top 10 in Argentina, Spain. Uruguay and other countries. countries.

“It’s every audiovisual creator’s dream to be able to transcend their own border,” he says.

In addition to serving as a showcase, streaming platforms allow you to keep a much more exhaustive record of your views.

Previously, successful series had to sell their format abroad, either by selling the original series or the production book itself to adapt it with actors from other countries, but with streaming platforms, l impact “comes much more directly”.

With the ‘El Marginal’ stage closed, Culell says Telemundo Streaming Studios is working on two major projects soon to hit Netflix: ‘Diario de un Gigoló,’ an Argentinian thriller with a mostly Mexican cast, a Spanish protagonist (Jesús Castro) and some Argentine actors; and “El secreto de la familia Greco” an adaptation of “Historia de un Clan”, with a Mexican cast and actor Fernando Colunga, about Clan Puccio, an Argentinian family dedicated to kidnapping for ransom. yes

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