French show Lupin is about to be viewed more than Bridgerton & The Queen’s Gambit

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My show obsessions over the holidays were Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit. Bridgerton was the fifth most streamed Netflix original in history and the Queen’s Gambit reinvigorated people’s desire to learn and play chess. Now there is a new wolf in town that is on trend to push Bridgerton from its top spot. Lupin is an import from France that stars hottie Omar Sy as Assande Diop, a con man set to avenge his father’s untimely death. Assande’s father was accused of stealing a priceless necklace that he did not take when Assande was young. Babakar, Assande’s father, committed suicide in prison. Now Assande has set his sites on stealing the very necklace his father was wrongfully convicted for. Lupin is a cross between Ocean’s Eleven and Sherlock Holmes and the stories have been around in France for over 100 years.

Lupin is the unexpected breakout show of the year and is set to be streamed by over 70 million households in its first 28 days. Despite being in French, it seems that Lupin has attracted not only French fans but many from around the world. Lupin is also the first foreign language series on Netflix to break into the Top 10 streamed shows in the U.S. Below is more about the show from The Guardian:

The show is slight – five episodes of about 43 minutes (with more to come this year) – and without much press in the US, yet a week after its release is the second most watched program on Netflix, and the streamer’s first French program to crack the top 10 in the American market. It’s currently the streamer’s most-watched global program and the company has now stated that it’s set to reach 70m households within the first month, which will make it bigger than both Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit.

It’s not hard to see why; Lupin combines the verve of Ocean’s Eleven with the thrilling implausibility and cultural lore of the first National Treasure. Where Nicolas Cage stole the Declaration of Independence, Assane begins the series with a similarly outlandish plan: steal Marie Antoinette’s necklace, lost for 25 years and slated for auction, from the Louvre. But Assane, it’s quickly revealed, is more cunning than anyone around him assumes; he’s a devout fan of Arsène Lupin, the quintessential French gentleman thief replete with a monocle and a top hat, who has fingered through a copy of his debonair escapades so many times the pages are worn. (Sy is a fan as well, and the series arose in part from the freedom afforded by his César award for The Intouchables and Hollywood career to select his dream role – “If I were British, I would have said James Bond, but since I’m French, I said Lupin,” he told the New York Times).

Between montages of his shockingly low-budget heist plan (which, ultimately, is a bit of a red herring; you’re not watching to see if he gets the necklace) the show peels back the layers of Assane’s motivation: 25 years earlier, his father Babakar (Fargass Assandé), an immigrant from Senegal hired as a chauffeur for a wealthy white Parisian family, was framed for stealing the necklace. He died by suicide in prison, leaving an orphaned Assane with a copy of the Lupin stories and a drive for vengeance.

Though a largely unfamiliar character to the US, and despite Americans’ general reluctance to watch with subtitles, Lupin’s success isn’t entirely unprecedented. Netflix automatically plays the dubbed English version, and Lupin follows in the footsteps of breakout global hits, such as Money Heist, far and away Netflix’s most popular global show viewed by 65m households when its fourth season dropped in April 2020 (though it’s worth noting that as of last year, Netflix counted a “view” as any account watching over two minutes of a program).

[From the Guardian]

I remember Omar from when he played Bishop in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jurassic Park and Inferno (Da Vinci Code series). The man is striking. He is the real draw for me for watching Lupin. And I absolutely love spy craft and sophisticated heist movies and shows. They are just fun to watch. I am also excited that Lupin has a black lead not playing the usual role of thug or gang banger. Instead, Assande is brilliant and is able to pull off some amazing cons with a low budget.

Anyways, I am so excited for all the shows with diverse casting getting all of this streaming love. For me, Netflix is proving that BIPOC do sell overseas and people enjoy us being in stories, too. Lupin is definitely on my list of shows to watch. Maybe it’ll break me out of my Bridgerton loop. To be fair, I tried to watch Lupin last weekend because I love foreign shows and film but I want to be able to pay attention and I haven’t had the time to do that. I have to be in a particular place for subtitles. I even tried to watch the first episode of Lupin dubbed in English, but I felt like something was missing. So I have decided to watch it fully in French with English subtitles. Perhaps I can brush up on my high school French while watching. I also look forward to staring at Omar Sy for five episodes. I mean look, we have been cooped up for damn near a year, a sister needs her fantasies. Don’t judge me.

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Photos via Instagram as credited and credit: Emmanuel Guimier /Netflix

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72 Responses to “French show Lupin is about to be viewed more than Bridgerton & The Queen’s Gambit”

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  1. Lex says:

    Omar Sy is such a treasure; charming, gorgeous, and a magnificent actor!

    • Lizzie says:

      We binged this last weekend and it’s one of the best on Netflix.
      The voices are dubbed in English, subtitles are mostly used to translate when anything is written.

      • Mignionette says:

        Watch it with his voice if you can, it’s smooth as silk….

      • Dana Dayen says:

        “The voices are dubbed in English”

        That’s good news for the philistines, I guess.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        My BIL just suggested this to me last night, for my next binge! He said it’s fantastic!

        Now, with Joe and Kamala safely in office, I can breathe again, and will start this tomorrow!

      • Apple says:

        You can view it original French with a settings change if you’re interested – flick through the audio files and use the original French audio then the subtitles for whatever language you find easiest to read.

        I don’t think Lupin is great show. It’s got enormous plot holes, but if you ignore them it’s quite diverting.

    • Chica1971 says:

      Finished last night. It seems easygoing but it has a backstory. Love how it seemlessly moves between the past and present. Didn’t realize his baby mama was in the past in some of the shots in the last episode. Extremely well done and layered

    • sunny says:

      Swoon! I really like him and find I always enjoy him on screen. Glad Lupin was such a success. I watched it that first weekend and then recommended it to my parents, my nephew, and my brother and sister-in-law. Basically, the only show we all agree on since Schitt’s Creek.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I want to watch this but I need to be in the mood to focus (and not read a book or something while I’m sort of watching). I would rather read subtitles than listen to dubbing anyway – I don’t like dubbing in general. I started Cable Girls on Netflix (from Spain) a few years ago and couldn’t stand the dubbed voices.

    • LaraK says:

      Dubbed voices irritate the crap out of me. Especially because so much of the acting is lost. Ugh.

    • Myra says:

      Though I understand French and can speak it fairly well, I still like to have English subtitles in case I miss out some bits. So I need to carve out the time for this one as well. I didn’t like the dubbed voices on Cable Girls either – same for the The Protector.

    • SpankyB says:

      The dubbed voices are flat. I got used to it and have enjoyed the shows, but I’m going to re-watch with subtitles. I need to hear his voice.

    • Royalwatcher says:

      Definitely make some time. You’ll get sucked in quickly. I’m the same with subtitles because I’m usually doing other things when I have the TV on, but this was such good watching and so easy to gt drawn in that I quickly forgot about trying to multitask. It’s sooooo good!

      And yes to the article writer, he’s a hot-hot-hottie!!

  3. amukay says:

    I am loving this series so far – only two episodes in. It feels like a more sophisticated version of the UK TV show Hustle that was widely popular years ago. There is something so captivating about Assande (and sexy too!)

    • Royalwatcher says:

      I’m loving it too (also 2 episodes in) and totally agree that Omar Sy is gorgeous and charismatic!

      If you liked Hustle, there is an American version (not sure if it’s a complete copy or just semi-stole the concept) called Leverage, which is also really good.

  4. Rapunzel says:

    I’m currently taking second semester French at the Community College where I work because I want it for my foreign language requirement for my PhD (I am waiting to hear if I got in to the program I applied to). So I will be watching this in French and feel guilt free. It’s homework! I’m studying!

    • Esmom says:

      Ha, a friend of mine is doing the same thing. Such a far cry from the old Arsene Lupin film we watched in my high school French class in the 80s!

      I watched the first episode and I’m not sure if I’m into it. Not because of Sy but I guess because I’m just having hard time getting into anything. I only made it through one episode of Bridgerton, too.

    • sunny says:

      Also highly recommend Call My Agent. One of the best French shows that now is streaming on Netflix.

      And Lupin is delightful. If you are learning french- if you are intermediate or above, I recommend watching with the French subtitles(if you find you understand the speaking enough). It is a great way to pickup French expressions if you aren’t a native speaker.

    • Eleonora says:

      Watching English programs with subs is one of the ways in whiich I learned English.

      I hope it will help with your French as well :)

  5. Eleonor says:

    Thank you I am totally going to watch this!

  6. ellie says:

    ” Despite being in French, it seems that Lupin has attracted not only French fans but many from around the world.”

    And yet nobody needs to point out when shows in English find fans outside of English speaking countries.

    Let’s stop talking about English as the ”default language”. It’s a big world out there.

    • BrenChris says:

      Deleted

    • A.Key says:

      THIS, THIS!!! Thank you so much!!

      Apart from the 380 million English speakers, the other 7 BILLION people on this planet speak other languages and yes we do exist and can create and make high quality content. Stop patronizing us.

      P.S. Apparently this site is also completely unaware of other non-English Netflix shows that have been hugely popular around the world, like the Spanish “Money Heist” or the Korean “Kingdom” or the Japanese “Alice in Borderland”. I highly recommend all three, especially Alice in Borderland which is one of the best shows I have ever seen.

    • Julia says:

      I agree, this is part of such an important discussion as well! I’ve always felt like the inabilitiy for anglo-saxon markets to accept anything that wasn’t tailored to their exact needs (language, culture, story line) was a disfavour to them as it didn’t help broaden their horizons and cultivate an open-mind.

      It’s always been a pet-peeve of mine to see a remake being made solely to adapt it to the US market – just freaking take the original one already (to be clear, I’m talking when remake of fairly recent movies are made, not the overall concept of the remake)

      Very happy to see a platform like Netflix can slowly correct this.

      • Larisa says:

        @Julia,
        indeed, I was very surprised by that when I moved to America. Growing up, listening to music in languages I didn’t understand was the norm. In America, almost everyone refused to listen immediately if they couldn’t understand the lyrics. Movies are even worse.

    • Nina says:

      Agreed. For most of world population subtitles are a normal thing because a lot of popular shows and movies are in English. So for a lot of us, watching content with subtitles is a default way of watching

      • Eleonora says:

        We watched cartoons and action movies etc with subs as kids.

        Some Americans think subs are pretentious (not on this site, but I’ve heard it elsewhere a lot), but trust me, that was no high level art. We just wanted to understand what the heroes yelled at the baddies.

  7. SarahCS says:

    This popped up when I was scrolling on Netflix at the weekend but the brief blurb in no way sold it to me. Having read this I’m now desperate to watch! It sounds fantastic plus I get to watch something in French. I’m bilingual and my boyfriend is not so it’s rare that I can find something French that he’ll go along with.

    The red carpet IG with the cat totally threw me (is there a cat in it??) until I started scrolling and realised what they were doing. Hey fluffy cat.

  8. MellyMel says:

    I watched it all in one sitting…didn’t realize it was only five episodes at first, but it’s a fantastic show and I highly recommend it! You get sucked in to the story very quickly and I hope we get a season two. And it did reignite my desire to learn French, just like Queens Gambit got me to almost buy a chess set and Bridgerton made me want to promenade with a Duke.

    • Oya says:

      Sis, when you promenade with a Duke please capture it on film and tag us in it. It didn’t happen if it isn’t on social media.. LMAO

  9. Jillian says:

    Lupin is so good, Omar Sy just has IT – he’s absolutely captivating

  10. Alexandrajane says:

    Such great viewing, beautiful city, beautiful man fun story.

  11. Michael L Kelly says:

    I watched the first couple of episodes but it automatically was dubbed in English. I will watch again and choose French with subtitles because I prefer that as well

    • sa says:

      I was going to check this show out because I heard that the English dubbing was good. Is it not? I am too figdety for subtitles, I get distracted by everything and I look away from the screen way too much.

  12. Coz' says:

    The first 3 episodes are really good, the 4th and 5th not as much. But it’s still very enjoyable and entertaining . You’ll just have to suspend disbelief sometimes.
    And as always Omar Sy is such a deligh to watch: so much charisma!

  13. Bgirl says:

    I binged this show together with my kids (11&13), my son was so into it, that he voluntarily watched it again in french (his least favorite subject in school)! Now we are waiting for more episodes, desparetely

  14. Lemons says:

    Getting my French boyfriend to watch a series is like pulling teeth. Some people just don’t have the patience. He binge-watched Lupin in an entire afternoon/night while I was working, rewatched it with me, then asked when Season 2 was coming out. It’s really good! Omar Sy is my favorite French actor of the moment, there are a lot of my favorite French actors/actresses in the series and the premise is fun and original. Highly recommend!

  15. Katie says:

    did not sound like my thing from your description but I decided to watch the trailer and HOT DAMN THIS IS AMAZING

  16. Truth hurt says:

    I love these shows all of them, but I want Netflix to stop inflating their numbers and lying. Manipulation at its finest. Every month they say the same thing about a show they want to push. I mean next week or so the same story will appear about something else. Tired!

  17. TIFFANY says:

    For some reason people sleep on Omar Sy and I don’t know why?

    For real.

    The man not only is a great actor but has that appeal, that true star appeal.

    • LucyB says:

      And can he wear a coat or what?! Let his reign begin! Besides the eye candy aspects, there are some really interesting subtexts on class and race that pop up without feeling it was spoon-fed with exposition.

  18. MissMarierose says:

    I binged it last weekend. It’s fantastic and I can’t wait for the next episodes.
    (I don’t think Babakar committed suicide.)

    • Gold ladder says:

      Episodes 3-5 started reminding me of Revenge (dad wrongly accused and the rich family being a lot more nefarious as you did deeper).

    • Mignionette says:

      I think Babakar was killed by the Pellegrini family to stop the truth getting out.

      EDIT: Saw this in a review :

      ‘In episode one, there’s a flashback in which a young Assane goes to visit his father in prison and shortly before he’s found dead, a man who bears a strong resemblance to Leonard popped up briefly, flashing him an unsettling smile before being dragged away by a prison guard.’

      • Ponytail says:

        Oh thank goodness someone else mentioned this! I was watching episode 5, expecting the link to the father’s death to be revealed and when it wasn’t, I was wondering if I’d imagined hearing/reading about it! I couldn’t remember where I’d read it, but as long as yu read it too, I haven’t’ imagined it :-)

  19. Mignionette says:

    And I am not surprised. Omar is a tall glass of cold water on a scorching hot day.

    Loved his subtle yet charismatic performance in this.

  20. Veronica S. says:

    The name made me raise an eyebrow because there’s an extremely famous anime series with that title, and what do you know, when I google, I find out both series are based on the same set of books. Nifty. I’ll have to check it out. The story is a lot of fun.

  21. Mignionette says:

    OMG it’s his b-day today !!!

  22. Chlo says:

    Adding this to my list! Also added: Velvet from Spain? My mom, who does not like subtitles, is OBSESSED. She can’t stop watching it or talking about it.

  23. Gretchen says:

    My husband and I binged it over 2 evenings last week, it was great fun to watch. I normally hate dubbing but hubby’s first language isn’t English so it can be difficult for him to keep up with English subtitles. Anyway, I haven’t seen a man look THAT GOOD in a suit in a looong time. I would be quite happy to just watch Omar Sy modeling menswear for an hour or two.

  24. Amelie says:

    I am so glad Arsène Lupin is FINALLY becoming more well-known outside of France and getting the recognition the character deserves. It’s been adapted countless times in French for theater, movies, and TV shows, this is just the first time a lot of Americans are hearing about it (though Lupin has been adapted into a few American movies but most of us have never seen them since they go back to the 1920s). A lot of the books have been translated into English but it does seem there have been various translations on Amazon. I can’t vouch for any of them but I know they are out there.

    I have watched the first 4 episodes and Omar Sy is such a joy to watch. It’s so wonderful seeing a French show with a black lead become such a worldwide phenomenon. I had watched the trailer a few months ago and I was pretty skeptical that the show would be good, so glad I was wrong. Omar Sy (who is also an executive producer on the show) is also a huge success story given that he comes from humble origins and is the son of immigrant parents (Senegalese father, Mauritian mother) and grew up in the low-income projects. He grew up in the same development as comedian Jamel Debbouze (the guy who played the disabled grocer in Amélie and is super well-known in France), another incredible success story, and both of them used comedy as a vehicle to success. I finally watched Les Intouchables (based on a true story) and that was a great movie too. It’s on Netflix as well if you haven’t seen it. And I definitely think the show is 100 times better in the original French. I watched the trailer in English and OMG the dubbing was awful. Not sure how people could stand to listen to that.

    I watch foreign language shows all the time on Netflix so any of you have recommendations send them my way!

    • A.Key says:

      Alice in Borderland (Japanese), Love and Anarchy (Swedish), It’s Okay It’s Love (Korean), Kingdom (Korean), Money Heist (Spanish).

      My friends have been raving about Dark (German) as well, but I have not seen it yet.

    • Oya says:

      I’ve found myself watching a lot of the Swedish shows. And someone on Twitter hipped me to a Spanish show that will be coming out in March called Sky Rojo. It looks freaking awesome. I was totally into the Colombian show Sempre Bruja which also had a darker skinned black woman as the lead.. But some of the subtext was a bit problematic but still enjoyable.

    • Anne Call says:

      Fallet, Swedish comedy and parody of Scandinavian noir, Occupied (Norway), Borgen (Danish and so good) and not sure if Le Bureau is on Netflix but it’s great French spy series.

    • Ponytail says:

      Criminal ? There are two series of the UK version, and a series each of the German, French and Spanish versions. They’re so good! I have been watching all of them in the original language, even the Spanish one (the English dubbing was just awful), although it revealed how poor my German and French is now, as I couldn’t really follow along if I hadn’t had the subtitles.
      I love the way they use the same set but everything else is different – characters, plots, and of course, the crimes.

  25. Mia says:

    I love this show!! It’s so good!

  26. Keen Kate says:

    This show was really good, I finished watching it yesterday and I was really happy seeing it had a post here.

    On the UK Netflix it’s only in French (with English subtitles), come on America!

  27. ethyy says:

    i watched this show in a day, it was so good! and omar is a spectacular actor.

  28. BC says:

    I couldn’t get through ep1 of Bridgerton; I’m sorry but it’s so terribly dull!!! I really enjoyed Queens Gambit – SO GOOD! The fast pace and the end goal of winning the Russian tournament and the underdog story kept me glued. I knew Lupin would be GREAT! I set a reminder immediately I watched the trailer. I thoroughly enjoyed it especially cheering for the underdog, and I just have a thing for tall, black, french/british guys and their sexy accents. Anyway, the best part was how they kept bringing the tricks of the book to life. It’s #1 in my country this week and last (Kenya). Love it! I was so sad when I realized it was over.

  29. Det20! says:

    I have seen the first two eps so far and I am loving it. It’s the first new tv show in a while I am enthusiastic about. I couldn’t get into Queen’s Gambit in the first ep, though I intend to try again. And I must admit Bridgerton was not for me or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. It seemed like cosplay to me (yes, the costumes are supposed to be so over the top, I know) and I couldn’t get into the female lead at all, among other things. But it’s great that so many are happy with it. Regé-Jean Page is hot af though and has been added to my ‘career watch’ list. On which Omar Sy made it many years ago: I first saw him in “Intouchable” which was a mega huge success in Europe back in 2011/12. If you have not seen that film I can only recommend watching it (in French with subtitles, of course, same as Lupin).

  30. Msmlnp says:

    I liked Lupin a lot. But the season/chapter ending seemed kind of meh…still will watch the next installment.

  31. Elenaww says:

    Omar Sy is really great. Once you’re done with this series, I recommend with all my heart the movie The Intouchables. He is shining there, it’s a beautiful story and it will become one your favorite movies out there, I promise. It has been redone in the U.S. as well, with Kevin Hart and Brian Cranston and this version made me angry for how “slim” and lacking of nuances it is (mainly Kevin Hart being all “playa”) but the French version is truly wonderful.

  32. Dee Kay says:

    Omar Sy is amazing in this series. He plays the lead character as an extremely charismatic and capable man, but more grounded and real than a James Bond type of character. I’m a huge fan of his now, and hope he does more seasons of this show and more good films/TV, he is a star!!!!!

  33. Jill says:

    I didn’t even think to look for the French language version. Netflix defaulted to English dubbed and I just went with it. I loved it. I’m a sucker for a caper and a tall, dark and handsome leading man.

  34. Eleonora says:

    Okay, I’ll watch.

  35. PixiePaperdoll says:

    SO GOOD!

    I accidently watched it all in one go. My Netflix defaulted to French which I prefer (though II have never learned it) because I need the words and the lip movements to line up. The CC captioning is better than the normal English captions.

  36. jwoolman says:

    Any relationship to the animated Lupin III that pops up on Adult Swim occasionally? That was a Japanese effort (started as manga and then was animé) about a French thief on a grand scale with a heart of sort of gold and a talent for disguise, carrying on the family thieving tradition. Guess it must be related. Just checked and the felonious hero is Arsène Lupin III, grandson of Arsène Lupin in the Leblanc novels.

    Lupin (aka lupine) is a flowering legume popular in non-wheat pasta and bread imports from Europe… I always find that amusing for some reason when I watch the animé.

  37. AmunetMaat says:

    Hubby and I watched it last night and I did like it but the glaring exclusion of Black Women was disappointing. Someone on my timeline mentioned that not even Lupin’s mother was shown and of course his ex-wife was non-POC, it just stuck out like a sore thumb. I do like the story but was let down a little. I’m in no rush to finish but we will get through it I’m sure.

  38. gc says:

    i enjoyed it too as everyone here even if i found some loopholes, it’s entertaining and love omar sy and ludivine sagnier too.
    now for people who haven’t watched it yet i highly recommend ‘untouchable’ one of the best french films in recent years and omar performance in it is amazing. check it out!