Friday, February 14, 2014

More of the best television ever seen: Denmark's BORGEN--Season 3 arrives on DVD and Blu-ray

Around halfway through, and having just finished yet another first-rate episode (yes, they all are) of the newly-released-to-DVD-and-Blu-ray, third season of BORGEN, "This is the most intelligent television show I've ever seen," my spouse declared with unusually firm resolution. I wouldn't think of contradicting him. It's now been less than six months since the DVD debut of the second season of this amazing series via its U.S. distributor, MHz Networks, so I am guessing that the demand by American viewers is continually growing. (TrustMovies' post on Borgen's second season soon became and has remained the most-viewed on this site for months now.)

Everything we've loved -- cherished, really -- about this smart, thoughtful and human drama about political and family life in present-day Denmark, mirrored via the careers of two women, has remained in place, even as the series now broadens its canvas to include everything from a new political party and life-threatening sickness to the pork industry (as in pigs, rather than money-for-boondoggles) and possible betrayal by those closest at hand.

The two women are of course, Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg (the ever-spectacular Sidse Babett Knudsen, above) and gorgeous, hotshot political reporter for TV1, Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, below, left), both of whom continue to learn and grow, as well as occasionally surprise us.

Instead of beginning exactly where season two ended, the new one starts after some time has passed (a couple of years, I believe), and so we catch up with things even as we watch the current goings-on. One of the terrific things about this series is how consistently it treats its audience as adults who understand and are interested enough in politics -- what it means, how it works and how important it is to a country's populace -- to be able to follow the ins and outs of the often complicated maneuvers on display.

The series also comes from a place of genuine left-wing politics. It's set in Denmark, so, yes, this is the model -- dreaded and demonized by America's right-wing Republicans -- of the "welfare state" that tries to look after its citizens as best it can. Yet the series' creator and oft-times writer Adam Price (shown below) understands and communicates the difficulties of this looking-after and the price paid in the many compromises necessary to "serve the people."

One of the best episodes of the whole three seasons is on display this time, dealing with prostitution and sex trafficking. This hour wipes the floor with literally everything else -- narrative or documentary -- that I've seen on these subjects, forcing us to confront stuff that usually lies carefully unruffled, just below the surface. As usual, I am not go-ing into much con-tent detail because you deserve to have it all unfold before you with the surprise and intelligence of fine dramatic narrative.

Borgen, season three, is available now from MHZ Networks, and elsewhere, too, of course.

No comments: