Why Netflix's Ozark Is The New Drama You Won't Be Able To Stop Watching

This week marks the debut of Netflix's intense new original series, the crime drama Ozark, and this is one show you are not going to want to sleep on during the remainder of the summer TV season. Actually, Ozark is a show that counter-balances all things involving sleep, with a narrative that doesn't let up its grasp once it settles in. To that end, here are all the reasons why Ozark is the one drama that viewers won't be able to stop watching once they start.

That First Episode Is Amazing

The first undeniable sign of a TV show's potential is a premiere episode that impresses on all counts, and Ozark double-checks each box. Creators Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams crafted an opener that not only excels in setting up the disarmingly complex central storyline, but it also utilizes a host of foreshadowing tricks that give the episode a rewatchability factor that a less imaginative approach would have failed to offer. It's laid thick with the kind of knuckle-biting tension that causes temporary lapses in blinking and breathing, and as hard as it might be to believe, each new episode manages to up the nerve-jangling, imbuing every single moment with the potential for hidden menace.

jason bateman ozark netflix

Jason Bateman Is Perfect For TV Drama

Jason Bateman, who will relatively soon be seen in Season 5 of Netflix's Arrested Development, lands far more comedic roles than any others, and perhaps it's that skewed ratio that seemingly give the actor's dramatic roles that much more acclaim-worthy heft. Whatever the reason, Bateman shines brightly through the thick forests and murky haze of Ozark's Missouri setting. At the series' start, Marty Byrde is a financial advisor whose life is turned upside-down when his history of money laundering for a drug cartel hits a location-changing snag, and Bateman nails the combination of crippling fear and the forced bravado with rigorousness, while still providing a layer of dark humor atop it all. And could there be a better co-star and dramatic anchor than Laura Linney?

Esai Morales Makes For A Chilling Villain

When Marty Byrde's life goes to shit, there's someone making all that shit-going happen. His name is Del, and he's played with put-upon menace by film and TV veteran Esai Morales, whose other big role in 2017 has been on Chicago P.D. His Ozark role couldn't be further from Chief Lugo, though, as Del is a man whose every move and mission is guided by dollar signs. And when a ton of Del's moolah goes missing, Marty has something of an answer for the cartel hoodlum in the form of taking his laundering expertise outside of Chicago and to a new location. In this case, a fairly dilapidated location, with a family of backwoodsians that threaten Marty's new life.

Ozark Isn't A Breaking Bad Copycat

When Ozark's logline and first trailer went public, the concept of a fairly decent family man dealing with the financial earnings of a drug cartel drew comparisons to a certain AMC drama. But Jason Bateman pointed out in the past how unlike Breaking Bad the Netflix drama is, and he wasn't kidding. For one, Marty's financial and medical situation is nothing like Walter White's was, and though the Byrde family's problems are as dark as the Whites' were, they're more complicated in certain ways, as Laura Linney can attest. Granted, Bateman could become the Netflix version of Heisenberg at some point later in Ozark's run, should it get renewed, but it's exciting that Ozark purposefully endeavored to do something different. And that it worked this well.

Gotta Love A Show Where The Kids Aren't Awful

Ozark had every opportunity to make completely forgettable characters out of Charlotte and Jonah Byrde, as played by Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner, respectively. Or stereotypical characters, if not some worthy of outright dismissal. But while Charlotte starts off as the rebel teen, she's got more shades than that, taking on an interesting role as the season goes on. Meanwhile, Jonah is initially pegged as the nerdy outsider tween, but even he has layers that start to unfold as the family's living situation takes its dark and unpredictable turns. Perhaps the most understandable and applaudable element of Ozark is that its characters' psyches are absolutely affected by the world unraveling around them. You'll want to put yourself in their shoes, but not really.

With its first season laying its story out in ten episodes, Ozark will be available to stream on Netflix starting Friday, July 21, at 12:01 a.m. PT. If you're wanting to know what else will hit the streaming giant soon, check out our 2017 Netflix schedule, and then head to our summer TV premiere schedule to see everything else hitting the small screen in the near future.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.