‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ hits its stride in week 2 with ‘Amazon’ episode

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

Netflix’s new talk show and only talk show not cancelled on the service has seemingly hit its stride in week 2 after an underwhelming opening weekend. The new episode talks about Amazon, one of the biggest companies in the world and our relationship with it. 

Talk shows on Netflix haven’t exactly got off to a great start. Chelsea Handler produced the first talk show for Netflix across two seasons although her show had a big shakeup after the first season. Once she decided to leave Netflix, the next talk show came from Michelle Wolf who presented a weekly show called The Break. That show also got cancelled.

There have been points leading up to Patriot Act that the show is being sent out to die and after its first week, you’d be forgiven for thinking that. The first two episodes focused topics that involved more controversial topics. The first episode focused on Saudi Arabia and the second on affirmative action. The show also found its first controversy with select groups of people quickly jumping on calling Hasan Minhaj racist.

With that said, the show, much like other good talk-shows of this format, is already making waves. The defence department who were called out in episode 1, made changes and apologised.

I myself struggled with the first two episodes, particularly with the affirmative action episode. It felt drawn out and didn’t really have an arc that these types of shows need to keep you engaged, especially over a 20 minute period.

Why the ‘Amazon’ episode is great

The Amazon episode, however, changed things for me. I’m not sure whether it’s the tone of the show has changed from week two to three but the format went from slightly condescending and abrupt to informative and funny. The episode carefully constructs a narrative about Amazon and their predatory practices with jokes interspersed throughout. Instead of feeling like a slog to finish, it was a joy to watch. Because it focused on a big company too, the show was relatable and therefore we could focus on getting used to Hasan’s style.

Also, we’re not sure if it’s just us, but the camera jumping seems to be toned down a little in this episode too.

Netflix is distributing it right

The most important thing about this Amazon episode for me is that I didn’t watch, nor discover it on Netflix first. In fact, I saw it shared on YouTube on social media. This is where we have already said this is where Netflix’s talk shows have failed compared with its rivals in the past. The Break with Michelle Wolf eventually caught onto this and started adding episodes to YouTube but that show faced far more problems than just its distribution.

Netflix also takes a leaf out of HBO’s Last Week Tonight’s book for its choice to put the show on Youtube. Instead of giving you 100% of the episode for free, it gives you just the main segment itself. It’s the content that has the most meat to it and also if the topic is appropriate, is the content that people will want to click and watch.

All Netflix needs to do on Youtube now is communicate that there’s more content on the full episode on Netflix and they’re away. Actually not quite, give us a way to subscribe to weekly shows on Netflix and then, they’re away!

Will Patriot Act survive?

With every Netflix talk show before Patriot Act cancelled, the big question now is whether Hasan Minhaj’s show can survive. Perhaps it’s too early to tell given we’re only 3 episodes into a 32 episode first season but if the show keeps up with picking topics that are engaging and distributed by Netflix correctly, we believe Netflix may finally have the talk-show it needs to stand among the big boys in the arena.

New episodes release on social media and Netflix every Sunday.

What do you think? Are you enjoying Patriot Act? Let us know in the comments.

Kasey Moore

Kasey Moore is the founder and editor-in-chief of What's on Netflix. Kasey launched the site in 2013 after growing frustration with finding content on Netflix. He has an in depth understanding of the release cycles for Netflix and has developed tools to make navigating Netflix easier. Resides in Norwich in the UK.