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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Ganglands’ on Netflix, Where French Thieves And Dealers Fight Each Other For What’s Theirs

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In the Netflix Original Series Ganglands, a veteran professional thief forges unlikely new alliances with a younger criminal element when his niece becomes a pawn in a deadly game of chicken with a ruthless drug dealer intent on expanding his territory.

GANGLANDS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: A modernist home set quietly amidst a wood. A man is going for his morning run on the treadmill as sunlight pores through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Gist: That man is Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), and we immediately understand him to be a methodical, self-contained professional. When we see Mehdi next, he’s operating a drone with eye goggles and a joystick, surreptitiously observing a group of armed thugs on plant at the tunnel entrance to a quarry site. And once we meet his crew of heisters, it’s also immediately understood how serious they are, as they orchestrate a surgical, heavily-armed assault on the criminals who were already stealing a load of gold bars from the quarry. This professionalism is in contrast to small-timer Liana (Tracy Gotoas) and her gang, which includes girlfriend Shainez (Sofia Lesaffre) and the fast-talking Momo (Sam Kalidi). Their racket is robbing the hotel rooms of unsuspecting men who call their sham escort service. But Liana and Shainez loot the wrong room when they make off with a drug mule’s duffel bag full of cocaine. Saber (Salim Kechiouche), a ruthless dealer who’s hungry for expansion, abducts Shainez in a play to get his product back. And that might have worked, if not for Mehdi, who turns out to be the young woman’s uncle. It’ll take all of his precise craft as a thief and a lot more violence than he’d like if Mehdi’s going to free Shainez, and to do it, he’ll enlist the aid of a new ally in the crafty, quick-thinking Liana.

Ganglands tells its story of criminals fighting criminals across six hourish-length episodes, all of them directed by Julien Leclercq, who co-created the series with Hamid Hlioua. And in France, Ganglands is known as Braqueuers: La Serie, since it’s a small-screen expansion of the criminal world Leclercq first explored in the 2015 film Braqueuers, which also starred Bouajila. (Braqueuers owes a considerable debt to Michael Mann’s heist classic Heat; it’s available on Netflix under its Americanized title, The Crew.) Mehdi, and the clash between his insulated world of high-level thievery and the dirtier business of family members in peril with unscrupulous drug dealers, is the element in Ganglands with the most watchability. But there’s a larger story that involves Saber’s ruffling the feathers of his crime family kingpin father in his rash efforts to expand, which pins in his cousin, the sophisticated, skilled money launderer Sofia (Nabiha Akkari) into the unwilling role of intermediary. There’s more gunplay ahead, and threatening ultimatums, and it’s already clear that survival is less than a guarantee. Everybody in Ganglands has something to lose, and they’re all playing for keeps.

Braqueurs / Ganglands Netflix Season 1
Photo: Sofie Gheysens

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? AMC’s darkly ultraviolent Gangs of London comes to mind here. Regular, everyday civilians don’t seem to figure into the landscape of shows like Gangs and Ganglands — they might be in the background here or there, but city streets and the larger law-abiding world don’t rate in the world these players operate in.

Our Take: The setup of Med and Liana’s competing realities, one of them clinical in its violence and designed for the big play, the other compelling in its seat-of-the-pants, fatalistic recklessness, is the best thing Ganglands has going for it, and especially when the first episode leads to the spheres each individual operates in merging into one violent circle. In later installments, as Mehdi and Liana adjust on the fly to working together — once he grabs the boodle, she nods her head, makes a gesture; “Five dudes outside, with guns” — it’s thrilling to watch these two thieves, one a pro, one a rookie with natural talent, operate together as a a team. They’re bad people, sure, but everyone is in this universe of dark hustle. And they’re a damn sight better than the dealers and thugs they’re going up against in the effort to save Shainez.

The writing here can be a little predictable, and some characters are pretty broadly rendered in the early going. Saber, for example, for all of his would-be ruthlessness, can come off as a petulant upstart. But Bouajila is terrific as the steady, perceptive Mehdi, a man who understands violence, but also how best to apply it. And Med and Gotoas’s Liana are going to be a dynamite pair to follow on this glowering crime world adventure.

Sex and Skin: Rien.

Parting Shot: Mehdi, black hood over his face and automatic drawn, has cornered Liana in the RV storage facility she and her crew squat in. She’s terrified. “Where’s the coke you and Shainez took?” With Ganglands rolling over to each next episode in real time, the moment is intensified by the audience’s knowledge of the gunmen from a rival crew creeping up on this scene.

Sleeper Star: Nabiha Akkari plays Sofia as whip-smart, well-dressed, and determined to parlay the income statement from her family’s longstanding criminal enterprise into legitimate holdings perfect for long-term stability and as locales for money laundering. Saddled with the loose-cannon Saber, Sofia is at once exasperated, hopeful, and willing to trade in kind for what she wants.

Most Pilot-y Line: “If I die, what about my kids?” Mehdi’s buddy and fellow heister asks. “I think I’m out, and I think you should be, too.” Of course this portends the reality that ain’t nobody is getting out, and death is probably already knocking for some.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Ganglands is suitably gritty in its portrayal of its crime world players’ lack of moral compunction, and overcomes its predictable tendencies with some compelling lead performances.

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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