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It's been almost ten years since Borgen was one of Netflix' s biggest hits, running for three seasons, with each season's ten episodes landing in one swoop. Now it's back, for a much darker
reboot &mdash this time just eight episodes but still all at once for the binge-happy. What's more, Borgen, the Danish word for the palace in which the three branches of the government reside is now Borgen-Power and Glory. Those added words refer to what now defines its main character's ambitions and actions.
But is this new season really another case of the tendency to keep a series going beyond its natural end?
Now that I've watched it all, I'm happy to report that Borgen-The Power and Glory is not a case overkill. Instead, it's a satisfying, very timely new look at the lives of the original key characters,
Sidse Babett Knudsen's Birgitte Nyborg Christensen and Birgitte Hjort Sorensen's Katrine Fonsmark.
Birgitte is now Foreign Minister and Katrina is the head of the TV news program where she was previously its lead interviewer.
Most of the other original cast is also back. What's more, there are a bunch of new characters since the plot now focuses on Denmark's having to deal with the discovery of oil Greenland's soil.
Whether to drill for that oil or not creates the sort of conflict for Denmark as it has for countries all over the globe — the affect on the escalating climate crisis if opting to proceed with profitable but destructive drilling. Thus this latest season now has a timely, more global reach. Per the expanded title, Birgitte and Katrina's actions exemplify the way power, and holding on to it, has a way of compromising principles.
While Borgen's many fans have been eagerly awaiting this new season, they may be disappointed that
Pilou Asbaek' Kasper Juul, Birgitte's spin doctor and Katrina's lover, is not back. That said, most other major actors are back, but in believable and interesting new ways — for example, Birgitt's Season 3 economic adviser is now Katrina's supportive husband and Birgitta's arch political enemy has become a journalist whose advice she often takes.
The closest counterpart to the initial seasons' spin doctor is Mikkel Boe Folsgaard's Asger Holm Kirkegaard who is Birgitte's Ambassador to Greenland and chief adviser. He keeps her secrets but but is not without his own personal problem. Obviously, for one of Birgitte's children to make an appearance in this time frame called for a cast update, and Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen is outstanding as her now politically active son Magnus.
Finally, this reboot is freestanding, not just a continuation of what has gone before so that its greatest appeal will be for established fans. Any situations from previous episodes are clarified by appropriately referenced dialogue. And so, no need to make time to see thirty past episodes. However, a word of warning: When you finish episode 8 of Borgen-Power and Glory,/ you're likely to find playing catch up with those previous seasons irresistible.
Living as we do in a world in which, except for periodic weather reports, our news cycle is politics, politics, and more politics it's natural to want something different when it comes to our onscreen entertainment time. A hum-along musical would be nice, especially during this holiday season. Or a drama with characters and a plot interesting and absorbing enough to make us forget all about COVID and a president hunkered down in his own delusional world.
So why am I urging you to make time to see Borgen, a political series set in a country you associate with a pastry and a government that works inside a castle? Maybe I'm only kidding, and this isn't a political drama but a newly discovered Hans Chrhistian Anderson fairy tale
with lots of enjoyable music and ballet dancing.
But no, Borgen is indeed a political series, with three seasons of ten one-hour-long episodes each. It's as good — no, better — than anything in the political fiction genre you're likely to see in a long time.
No matter that the crises and issues in Borgen play out in a different country and time-frame than ours. In fact, that serves to explain why even in a small country like Denmark the political landscape can entail moral challenges, and that a series in that setting can be authentic and meaningful enough to be informative and remarkably relevant no matter what our native language and our circumstances when we watch it.
A caveat before you heed my advice to put Borgen on your must-see list of streamed outings. Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, (Sidse Babett Knudsen) the Danish politician whose personal and professional life you'll follow, is an every-woman and her story and that of the characters in her orbit is so compelling that you'll find it hard not to hit the "next episode" button again and again.
Even dedicated bingers are unlikely to watch more than one session at a time. Those three seasons totaling thirty hours cover so much to absorb and enjoy: The personal and professional ups and down of all the main characters, as well as events paralleling the #MeToo movement, increased conservatism and its effect on immigration, health care, diplomacy, and journalistic integrity.
To avoid spoilers, here's just a brief overview of the seriesl: When we first meet Birgitte she's an outspoken member of a small, liberal party (The Danish government functions with a handful of parties) who becomes not the party's key voice but the country's first female prime minister. Besides her own stumbles a (nod triumphs, are those of charismatic TV news anchor Katrina Fonsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen); her spin doctor Kasper Juul (Pilou Asbaek); News editor Forben Fris (Soren Malling); and an older journalist Hanna Hohn (Benedikte Hansen). The demands of the PM job also affect her marriage to husband Philip ( Mikael Birkkaer).
There's plenty of opportunity for absorbing drama from all these characters-- as well as Brigitte's children, and others. Except for an obnoxious new boss at the TV station, the script and actors portraying them make us care care about each — so much so, that after a while the less than ideal dubbing and captions stop being a problem. I'll admit that my own favorite, was . the intensely committed and passionate Katrina.
While Birgitte is the character around whom everything pivots, she and Katrina and Hannah Hohn are a powerful triumvirate of women still up against the reality for women struggling to have it all.
Each season ends with Birgitte on the verge of a new challenge,
so I can't wait to see what happens in the just announced fourth season. This country has already seen women attain powerful positions and is about to have its first female vicepresident. However it's still locked into a two-party system so learning how Denmark does function with numerous parties, I can't help wondering if the Republicans who refused to stay tied to the Trump apron strings might not, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggested, succeed as a more true-to-our-constitution new party.a
Finally, a word about Danish pastries. While Denmark does have a real female prime minister (Mette Frederiksen), Danish pastries originated in Austria and were imported and developed into a specialty there. Today, a Danish is a sweet treat in bakeries everywhere. So, why not indulge your sweet tooth as well as your taste for high quality online entertainment.
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Created by Adam Price
Written by Adam Price, Jeppe Gjervig Gram and
Directed by Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, Rumle Hammerich
Sidse Babett Knudsen as Birgitte Nyborg Christensen a minor centrist politician who becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark.
Katrine Fonsmark as Birgitte Hjort Sorensen , a TV1 news anchor
now married to Mikael Birkkjær, Actor: Borgen. Mikael Birkkjær was born on September 14, 1958 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is an actor, known for Borgen (2010), ...
Pilou Asbaek as Kasper Juul, a spin doctor
Soren Malling as Torben Friis, news editor for TV1
Mikael Birkkaer as Birgitte's husband, Phillip
Benedikte Hansen as Hanne Holm, a journalist
In Danish, but dubbed and with captions
> 3 seasons, 30 1-hour episodes each
Released 9/26/10 to 3/20/13
Currently available for streaming at Netflix
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer
©Copyright 2020, Elyse Sommer.
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