Netflix has acquired the streaming rights to Servant of the People (also known as Sluga naroda or Слуга народу), the series starring Volodymyr Zelenskyy who has become known around the world over the past few weeks given the invasion of Ukraine. Season 1 of the show is now on Netflix although three seasons were produced in total.
The Ukrainian political sitcom follows a teacher (played by Zelenskyy, the current President of Ukraine) who rails against the corrupt political establishment, starts a viral campaign, and then finds himself unexpectedly elected to the role.
All 24 episodes of the first season are now available in select Netflix regions including Netflix in the United States, Netflix Canada, Netflix Australia, Netflix India, and European regions.
Three seasons of the show were produced in total running between 2015 and 2019 on the local Ukrainian broadcaster 1+1.
Of course, the series almost parallels what happened following the series airing and perhaps even was one of the main reasons Zelenskyy was subsequently elected President in 2019.
Netflix has streamed the show before. In fact, it last had the show between May 2017 to March 2021 and it held the rights to the series globally. Given the situation, Netflix has opted to buy up the rights again given the newfound interest in the series given the current situation in Ukraine.
According to Fox News, the show has boomed in popularity in recent weeks with Eccho Rights telling them that “sales have increased dramatically in the last few days” adding that the interest in the program is “remarkable.”
The series is only available on Netflix in the Russian language (despite being original broadcast in Ukrainian too) with English subtitles. No dubs are available.
The show has also been sold to numerous local broadcasters around the globe in recent weeks. In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 acquired the broadcast rights to the show and therefore, isn’t available on Netflix UK.
Netflix has responded to the Ukraine war in recent weeks by shelving all Russian Netflix Original projects, refusing to add live streams of state broadcasters, and subsequently slowly pulling out of the region entirely.
Netflix also made its Oscar-nominated documentary Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom available for free (no Netflix subscription required) on YouTube.
The CFO of Netflix, Spencer Neumann, said recently at a conference “For us it became … too difficult to, we thought, operate relative to the opportunity.”
Whether season 2 (subtitled From Love to Impeachment) and season 3 (subtitled Choice) will come to Netflix in the future is unclear.
Will you be checking out the comedy series on Netflix? Do you think it’s wrong Netflix is picking up the series given the circumstances? Let us know in the comments.