Turkey Tracks/Interesting Information: July 2, 2021
I’m watching the “Walter Presents” drama shows on the PBS channel—which I have through Amazon Prime. They are AWESOME! Every single one I’ve watched. “Walter,” who is a real person, rounds up the best drama from across the world, puts in subtitles as needed, and PBS is one of the platforms where you can see some of them.
Walter is Italian Walter Luzzolino: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Iuzzolino. He is a television producer with several successful UK series to his credit.
So far I’ve seen INSIDE (French), THE BERLIN DANCE SCHOOL (German), THE DEVIL’S THROAT (Bulgarian), and THE NORDIC MURDERS (German). “Nordic Murders” is apparently a genre of murder mysteries, and this series is not set in Norway, but on an island in the Baltic that holds a border with Poland. Right now I’m watching “Bright-Eyed Revenge (Italian and set in Nice), two seasons followed by “Olivia,” which takes up where the “revenge” ends.
Anyway, all of these first four listed series have just been excellent—for many reasons. But there is a lot of depth and complexity to each—which, I think, highlights how simple and derivative much American tv has become. The stories, the acting, and the geography as a character are really good. And the good news: there are LOTS of these programs from across the world. I’m sure not all are as good as these first four I have listed have been, but…what a pleasure.
The fifth (Bright-Eyed) is more conventially entertaining, but I’m still watching. I mean, how is Olivia going to get out of the traps in which she gets caught? This one is a bit like the series “Revenge” from years ago—beautiful woman, gorgeous clothes and settings, terrible and wealthy and powerful villain, yadda, yadda. It’s a story we like to tell ourselves over and over, isn’t it?
It would be hard to rank the first four I listed. They each have strong reasons to recommend them. INSIDE has 5 stars, for good reasons. THE BERLIN DANCE SCHOOL takes place post-WWII Germany before the wall comes down and in that moment when rock and roll comes on the heels of the breakdown of the old social order—which also happens in America and was very much a part of my own childhood. THE NORDIC MURDERS episodes each deal with a murder, but the meta-story of a mother and her daughter, of old family history that corrupts the present, of how decisions one makes builds and builds into consequences. Ironies abound in this series. And THE DEVIL’S THROAT in Bulgaria deals in part with the Muslim/Christian factions in that geographical area—but also with a history that comes back to haunt—as histories can.
I’ll keep going with these exciting series for some time to come I suspect. A bonanza!