The logistics industry has come a long way. Just a few years ago, most people had no idea what logistics was about, or they simply equated the term with trucks and warehouses. UPS helped to raise awareness about the industry with its “We [Heart] Logistics” ad campaign, which the company launched in 2010 (and recently replaced with a new slogan). But if UPS put logistics on the map for the general public, it will be Netflix that puts it on our televisions and mobile devices. At a press event last night in Los Angeles, Netflix announced that it’s developing an original series about logistics called D is for Drones that will premiere in early 2016.
According to the press release, the series will be written and directed by Pico Sandoval, best known for his dystopian novels, including the best-selling Element Zero trilogy. It will be set “sometime in the future” and focus on a young logistics professional named Jeremy Knight (played by actor Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame), who is a drone operator at Nile.com, “an e-commerce and logistics conglomerate.” When Jeremy discovers that the drones he pilots are not just for delivering packages and uncovers Nile.com’s true ambitions, “he makes a fateful decision that not only puts his life and Nile.com’s future in danger, but also threatens to unravel the world economy and political landscape.”
Netflix’s Chief Content Officer described the show as “kind of like Blade Runner meets Goodfellas meets All the President’s Men.” When asked why logistics, he said, “It’s an industry that brings together many genres that are popular with our viewers. You have elements of science fiction, with drones, driverless cars, augmented reality, and robots working in warehouses. You have drama and power struggles, as we just saw here at the West Coast ports, with union workers and port operators wrestling over power and money. And you have a bit of dark comedy and politics mixed in too. The real question is why did we wait so long to do a series about logistics. With so much action, drama, and suspense in this industry, the series almost writes itself!”
D is for Drones is one of 13 original series that Netflix will launch over the next 12 months. We’ll have to wait and see if the series will achieve the same level of success as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, which together received six Golden Globe nominations last year, with Kevin Spacey winning the Best Actor award for his role in House of Cards.
I reached out to my good friend and industry analyst Jeff Whittaker, who covers the online video market, for his take on the announcement. “To be honest, this doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “Netflix is a leader in leveraging Big Data and analytics to determine what type of shows to develop based on customer searches, viewing patterns, and favorites. Considering that logistics is still something that most people don’t understand or appreciate, I’m surprised that a show about logistics would make the cut. It’s a risky move for Netflix, for sure.”
Then, after thinking about it some more, he added, “Are you sure this isn’t an April Fools’ joke?”