Netflix has a ton of content. That’s not news to anyone with a working login. But sometimes that massive streaming library, refreshed with new content arriving every day, makes it difficult to keep up with everything. Sometimes you’re going to miss a real gem. So while shows like Stranger Things are nearly impossible to ignore, series like Hot to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) tend to fly under the radar. It’s thanks to Jonathan Frakes‘ viral explanation of the Darknet that I found out about the show at all.
Frakes, who plays a parody version of himself and his part as the host of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, has only a couple of minutes of screen time on the dramedy, but they’re used expertly well. In the context of the show itself, Frakes explains the dangers of “Big Technology” and the secretive routes through the Darknet so that the audience understands what Moritz (Maximilian Mundt) and Lenny (Danilo Kamber) are up to. But in the broader sense of the show, the clip is a fantastic bit of viral marketing that gets you to seek out the title, and after that, the story takes care of itself.
Here’s the clip that got my attention (and that of many others):
In what I can only describe as “a comedic Breaking Bad for Generation Z”, How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) hails from Philipp Käßbohrer and Matthias Murmann, and follows two high school kids attempting to launch a drug empire by selling the supply online through the Darknet. Way lighter on the violence and explosions than Breaking Bad (for a while anyway…), HtSDO(F) manages to find its own brand of drug-fueled drama through the daily lives of an ever-connected (technologically speaking) group of teenagers and the romantic entanglements that every adolescent has faced since time began.
Moritz doesn’t have cancer, he’s not a Nobel Prize-winner adjacent, and he’s not paying down a mortgage or hospital bill; he is a bit of a loser, though, and has a broken heart from a fractured relationship with his girlfriend and he’ll do anything he can to patch it up, even if it means buying out the local supply of Ecstasy, dealing with a dangerous drug lord, selling the product online, and risking discovery by law enforcement. (Did I mention that his own dad is a detective investigating a local drug ring?)I It’s got shades of Walter White’s transformation to Heisenberg, just with a lot more laughs on the journey.
Everything the characters do on the show is in service of finding their own identity. Drugs, flings, jealousy-inducing social media posts, hacking your ex-girlfriend’s Facebook account, establishing an international drug empire with questionable product and mysterious suppliers … you know, typical teen stuff. What’s so entertaining is how mundane and blasé HtSDO(F) makes the drug-dealing aspect of the story while heightening all the relationship drama between friends, family members, and lovers. The on-screen integration of modern mobile tech and apps add an extra layer to the storytelling as we get to see Facebook messages, texts, Instagram posts, and more content that offers new shades of meaning. The writing will keep you guessing, the editing will never let you catch your breath, and the acting is endearing; I’d just suggest watching in the original German audio with English subtitles for the best experience.
At only six episodes, half-an-hour each, How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) is a breezy new dramedy that’s worth your time. And you don’t even have to be under the influence to enjoy it.