27 May, 2013

Borgen [Laura, Central City Library]

It's no secret that Danish television has hit the big time. First The Killing took the UK then the rest of the English-speaking world by storm. Then there was The Bridge, in which the Danish and Swedish police faced-off over an increasingly political and just-plain-creepy murder investigation. But Borgen is the Danes' classiest offering yet.

Forget the gritty Copenhagen underbelly you saw in The Bridge, and replace The Killing's captivatingly screwed-up Sarah Lund (and her sweaters) with Birgitte Nyborg, an idealistic politician who finds herself in the middle of a power shift during a national election and winds up in the Prime Minister's office - and it's hers. 

Borgen, or 'the castle' is the nickname for Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish parliament - like The Beehive only more romantic. The show follows Nyborg during her first term in office, showing her struggles in the political world and out, as well as the media circus of journalists and spin doctors interpreting her every move and announcing to the country the stories of the day (or not as the case may be).

But while the politics and journalistic escapades are interesting, if occasionally a little schmalzy (solving Greenland's problems one official visit at a time, anyone?), it was story of the impact of political life on Nyborg's family that has most stuck with me since I sat down to all 10 episodes in the first season (three seasons have aired in Denmark). At times I found it almost unbearable to watch, the emotions were so well-acted, the situations so believable.  

You can search the web for all things Danish TV, but this headline says it best: "Stop what you're doing and go watch Borgen" - just prepare yourself for some emotional turmoil first.

Title: Borgen. Season One. [DVD recording]
Author: Adam Price et al. 
Published: 2010
Publisher: Shock Entertainment
Note: In Danish with English subtitles

 - Laura, Central City Library

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