Netflix might have gained popularity with its original series, House of Cards but the real recognition came with Narcos, a crime thriller drama in Spanish language. The marketability drastically rose with yet another Spanish hit series, Money Heist and thus Netflix was sure that Spanish Drama did wonders for its audience. The 2020 addition to the list is Spanish socio-political thriller drama, The Minions of Midas (TV Series) (Spanish: Los favoritos de Midas).
The Minions of Midas created by Miguel Barros and Mateo Gil is inspired from Jack London’s short story of the same name, which was published in 1901. The series however, is set in modern times with gadgets and Syrian war around, thus the short story is just the psychological backbone. The Minions of Midas (Los favoritos de Midas) is a 6 part mini series with a political theme revolving around the life of journalists fighting against their corrupt government. It is a tight gripping drama that hooks it’s audience and has no loose ends, but before discussing what makes it so great, let’s just visit a summary quickly.
The Minions of Midas (TV Series) begins with a blacked out office scene, where a female reporter is writing an article on her blog, titled, “Los favoritos de Midas.” Her hands are shaking and breathing is heavy which shows her agitation clearly, as soon through her point of view, we witness ongoing riots outside the office. The atmosphere is pretty tense but before she can update the article, two police officers arrive there and chase her.
The series flashbacks to 50 days earlier, when the social unrest between the Madrid government and it’s citizens has just started to gain momentum, and is popularly called as “The Spanish Revolt.” However, this unrest is just the backdrop of the story. The narrative quickly portrays it’s protagonist, Víctor Genovés (Luis Tosar), who has recently become CEO of one of the nation’s leading media groups, Malvar Group and inherited the financial empire of business tycoon, Antonio Malvar.
Víctor receives a mysterious sealed letter that asks him to transfer a large sum of money, the inability of which will lead to the death of random people. The letter is signed by a mysterious organisation named as “The Minions of Midas” in the story.
In the first instance, Víctor ignores the warning but when he gets the evidence of the killings, he quickly takes action. The story then explores Víctor’s struggle to stop the killings and maintain his own sanity. Víctor, not only deals with this criminal organisation, but personal as well as professional tensions. These include a divorce, a child custody and a news story published by his media group about the Madrid government selling Weapons to Syrians for money. Thus, it is a well layered thriller drama that gives you no space to take your eyes off the screen. But there is more in the series that meets the Eye.
Television Series, sometimes, do have ups and lows, in order to either establish a character or let them play around. But the thread of tension in The Minions of Midas (TV Series) is so dense, that Characters are always conflicted with one or the other conflict. For example, Víctor, while he deals with the letter, another conflict that is his own Board of Directors create disturbance, when he tackles them, another personal problem shows up, and thus not in a particular pattern but brilliantly weaved, these conflicts spiral Víctor in a way, that he finds no breathing space. While he suffocates mentally, the viewers are captivated with concern that how Víctor is going to safeguard himself.
Not a Story, It’s a Bomb
Symbolically, the narrative of The Minions of Midas scatters like the pieces of an exploded bomb. It disperse in a variety of themes, be it government funding weapons for the terrorist in Syria, or A Media Publishing house discussing it’s moral responsibility to cover that story. It also approaches the ongoing unrest among people, and government’s ineffectiveness to deliver the promises. It puts light on how the big organisation manipulates the truth and how a moral man with ideologies is hit hard with people who just want to fill their pockets with money. Every now and then, a new information erupts on screen, that either opens a new chapter or feeds the previous ones, and thus it plays with the minds of the viewers, just like the mysterious organization plays with the mind of The Minions of Midas, play with Víctor’s mind.
Mild Spoilers Ahead
Psychological Greek Metaphor Integration
The unknown organization that sends Víctor letters, is named as The Minions of Midas. Thus, under literal sense it means a cult group like a Ku Klux Klan, though nothing is mentioned in the story. What has been underlined is the symbolism of Midas.
A mythical King in Greek Mythology, whose touch will turn anything into gold. Víctor Genovés’ own conflict resonates with Midas. Víctor never asked for the fortunes of the Malvar group but power rots and troubles him like it did to King Midas. Thus, if you finish the series and graph the character graph of Víctor, you will realize how brilliantly the character has been created and treated. There are few scenes, where Víctor observes his shaking hand, the same hand, King Midas had power to turn things into gold. The exact connection between how power and money brings ironies is traced throughout the series.
Not to mention many spoilers, but The Minions of Midas (TV Series) is filled with metaphors and symbolism. It can be witnessed in it’s characters, the story and dialogues. Even the visual metaphors are so strong that it needs a special mention. The Madrid government is funding the Syrian War.
Mónica Báez (Marta Belmonte), Víctor’s love interest and the journalist who publishes a story about Syrian War, interviews a terrorist in Syria. she is told that the constant bombing and firing is normal in his lands. She and the terrorist, stand at the window and look at the fuming city, with debris all around. The same exact visual can be seen in the opening scene of the series, during the Spanish Revolt, when through Mónica point of view we witness the fuming city of Madrid turning into debris.
Thus, It metaphorically suggests that one who starts war, cannot control it. It spreads like a forest fire that will burn everything, even your own home. It is just one particular mention of the visual metaphor, but there are lots more that could be experienced. It is the brilliance of the creators in general.
The series concludes with Víctor making peace with his oppressors. He walks out of his office and sits in the Limousine (symbol of power and capitalism). Víctor, in simple words, submits to the highest order, that is “The Minions of Midas” and becomes a minion himself. He becomes a part of the disorder and tyranny, he once revolted against. The companions of Víctor who refused to submit are lying peacefully in eternal sleep. The striking and quizzical part of the conclusion is that the identity of Limousine and the people seated in it, is not revealed in the series. It might be for a singular symbolic reason, that the one who controls such despotism could not be named or faced. It might be a group of oppressors or a single oppressor supported by millions of other minions. The only takeaway here is, Víctor is now a part of the oppression. The chaos of his life ends not by winning but by submitting. In the process, the protagonist loses everything, his idealism, his character and more importantly his love, Mónica.
The Minions of Midas (TV Series) is not just a random thriller drama. It is entertaining yet thought-provoking with lots of socio-political comments in each and every scene. It puts emphasis on multiple themes and creates a trail of thoughts, you won’t be able to stop. It compels you to think, how a mysterious organisation infects a man and turns him into a monster. Or as “Inspector Conte” (handling Víctor’s Case) suggests,
“Try to imagine the Minions of Midas representing a kind of Virus. One that infects the society. It can pretty much spread anywhere, and it probably has already infected a portion of our social institutions.”
If you are looking for some alluring thriller drama, with lots of takeaway in the end, then do binge The Minions of Midas (TV Series). It is just 6 episodes long and you won’t be disappointed at all.
The Minions of Midas (Los favoritos de Midas) is streaming on Netflix.
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