Netflix brings back Ukrainian comedy show that made Zelensky famous
Los Gatos, California – Netflix is giving its US subscribers what they want, and apparently that's more of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On Wednesday, the streaming giant announced it has added Zelensky's 2015 comedy TV series, "Servant of the People," back onto the service.
"You asked and it's back!" Netflix wrote in a tweet. "Servant of the People is once again available on Netflix in the US."
The satirical show was originally available on the platform from 2017 to 2021.
The show stars Zelensky, who was a comedian before he entered politics, as a Ukrainian high school teacher who unexpectedly becomes president after a video of him complaining about corruption goes viral.
Life imitated art and Zelensky was elected to Ukraine's highest office in 2019, even naming his political party "Servant of the People."
The show's 23-episode first season began streaming on Wednesday. Though originally in Russian, US audiences can enjoy the series with English subtitles.
It's unclear if or when Netflix will stream the second and third seasons, along with the film adaptation it spawned in 2016.
Zelensky's claim to fame
Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has renewed interest in Zelensky's background as an entertainer.
His grit as a leader and his social media savvy have fascinated broadcasters and allies alike — rallying many behind Ukraine and simultaneously fueling demand for Servant of the People.
The three-season show (and its subsequent film) is being licensed by Swedish television group Eccho Rights, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with buyers including Netflix in the US, Britain's Channel 4, MBC in the Middle East, ANT 1 in Greece, and PROTV.
"The series is a comedy, but also an important document of where Zelensky comes from," Eccho's managing partner Nicola Söderlund said.
"His fictional president is a normal man who grows into his role as a heroic and adored leader. While the real-world scenario facing Zelensky and the Ukrainian people is far more grim and appalling than the comedy of the series, there are obvious parallels with the real-world situation, and Servant of the People is a fascinating, important, and historic piece of television."
On Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader appeared virtually in front of US lawmakers for an emotional address that invoked the pivotal American tragedies of 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. Zelensky requested an urgent round of financial support, more weaponry, and pleaded with Congress for a no-fly zone to help his country stave off the Russian invasion.
Hours after Zelenskyy's congressional appearance, President Joe Biden announced that the US will send an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones.
Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire/123RF/monticello