Randall Park, Melissa Fumero and Creator Vanessa Ramos on Netflix’s Blockbuster Series

Courtesy of Netflix

Blockbuster was a huge video store chain that peaked in 2004 with over 9,000 stores. The emergence of services like Netflix was one key factor in the decline of the rental giant. In a bit of irony, the streaming service is premiering the comedy series, Blockbuster, this week starring Randall Park (Ant-Man) and Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and J.B. Smoove (Spider-Man: No Way Home).

A producer came to creator and showrunner Vanessa Ramos, telling her that they have the rights to Blockbuster, and she said the process was similar to doing improv.

“I just first started by thinking about who’s the type of person that would work at a Blockbuster, much less run it in 2022,” Ramos tells Nerd Reactor. “And the voice in my head I heard was Randall Park. That character Timmy was written in the pitch; it says, ‘Think Randall Park.’ But we were told, ‘There’s no way we would get Randall Park.’ And then here we are.”

Park portrays Timmy Yoon, the manager of the last Blockbuster Video store.

“Blockbuster was so ubiquitous, you know,” Park said. “I mean, it was such a part of all of our lives. The beauty of having a show about Blockbuster – there’s an automatic kind of connection to it, which definitely was the case for me.”

The set includes Easter eggs for fans of the Blockbuster rental, and those looking to experience more nostalgia should pay attention to the back room.

“Yeah, our show takes place in modern times, so it’s mostly like DVDs,” Park revealed. “But there is like the back room in the office and then you could see a lot of the older stuff including those VHS tape rewinders.”

Fumero plays Eliza Walker, who works with Timmy at the store, and she was amazed by the detail of the Blockbuster set including the detail of the rug and other props.

“Even that weird thing that we would have to slide the DVDs through,” Fumero said. “That’s one of the things that brought me back. I was like, ‘Oh!’ I don’t even know what it does; I still don’t know what it does. Somebody explained it to me but then I quickly forgot it. Yeah, but I was just like, ‘Oh, I remember,’ because I remember going like, ‘Why are they doing that?'”

Netflix gave Ramos freedom to make jokes about itself along with Blockbuster and other companies like Amazon.

“I think it was important to me that we address that stuff and not be like, ‘Nothing!'” Ramos said. “Well, yeah, [Netflix was] pretty good. And as far as the Amazon thing, honestly, the smiling box lent itself to being able to compare it to the difference between in-person and something left on your door. I wasn’t looking for something to fire shots at Amazon, but just the poetry of it worked.”

Netflix will premiere all 10 episodes of the Blockbuster series on Thursday, November 3, 2022.

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