For a long time now, Netflix has been regarded as the heir to the crown of network television. Younger, fresher, and more willing to take chances, it represented everything good about the changes facing television.
Over the past few years, the streaming service has shifted its focus from acquiring television properties to creating their own original series, and for the most part it has been met with success. Hit after massive hit made Netflix seem like the creatively innovative leader of the pack.
And then they got cocky.
On a certain level, it's easy to produce two or even five high quality television shows. It gets harder when you're trying to make dozens, and you've got a hand in everything from comedy to drama to documentary.
Sure, there were and are still some absolute top quality shows being produced by Netflix, but there are a few losers here and then as well. But increasingly it would seem that they're not infallible, nor are they immune to the occasional bouts of poor decision-making, lazy rebooting, and overly heightened expectations that plague every other network.
Marseille sort of feels like Netflix took elements of other original shows that had worked well in the past, but put all together it doesn't really work.
House of Cards has been a big hit for Netflix, so it stands to reason that a political drama would be a good move for the streaming service. And they've had some success with bringing foreign language shows to English-speaking audiences. What could go wrong with combining these two elements into one program? Should be equally successful, right? Well, not really.
To be totally fair, Marseille isn't terrible. It's the gritty story of politics in the crime-ridden, seedy underbelly of Marseille, and it has Gerard Depardieu in it, which is something.
But the production is just ever so slightly underwhelming, and for Netflix, which relies on people being enthralled enough to binge watch the entire series, tepid enjoyment isn't exactly the recipe for long-standing success.