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. The first season of the series is available on Netflix, although there were three more seasons.
This Ukrainian sitcom is about a teacher who, played by Zelenskyy (the current Ukrainian President), rails against corrupt politicians and launches a viral campaign that leads to him unexpectedly being elected to his role.
The first 24 episodes are available now in selected Netflix regions, including the United States and Canada.
The show aired in three seasons between 2015-2019 on 1+1, a local Ukrainian broadcaster.
The series is almost identical to what occurred after the series aired and may even have been one of the reasons Zelenskyy won the election as President in 2019.
The show has been streamed by Netflix before. It actually had the show last between May 2017 and March 2021, when it owned the global rights. Netflix decided to purchase the rights once more due to the renewed interest and current circumstances 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.”
Netflix only has the Russian version of this series (despite it being originally broadcast in Ukrainian). Subtitles in English are also available. There are no dubs.
In recent weeks, the show was also sold to a number of local broadcasters across the world. In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 acquired the broadcast rights to the show and therefore, isn’t available on Netflix UK.
Netflix responded in the last week to the Ukraine conflict by removing all Russian Netflix Originals projects and refusing live streaming of state broadcasters. Then, it began slowly withdrawing from the entire region.
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.”
It is not clear if season 2 (subtitled From Love to Impeachment), and season 3 will be available on Netflix.
Are you going to be watching the Netflix comedy series? Do you think it’s wrong Netflix is picking up the series given the circumstances? Comment below.