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Borgen Trilogy [Blu-ray] [Reino Unido]
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Borgen is a BAFTA winning Danish drama series from the producers of The Killing.
Following the intricate and complicated lives of politicians, media spinners and the reporters who feed off their triumphs and failures, Borgen uncovers a world of political and personal intrigue.
The setting is Borgen, the nickname for Denmark's Parliamentary building, otherwise known as "The Castle . After scoring her party a landslide victory through her idealism and work ethic, the smart and sexy populist Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) now faces the biggest dilemma of her life as Prime Minister. Will she succumb to pressure of compromise on her ideals and face consequences both on and off the political stage?
In Series 2 Birgitte has been Denmark s Prime Minister for two years years that have severely taken their toll on her private life. Increasingly, Birgitte finds herself having to make questionable compromises as the inevitable tensions between the various parties continue to mount.
In Series 3 Over two years have passed and Birgitte Nyborg is no longer the Prime Minister of Denmark. Disillusioned with the way her old party is heading she decides to try to make a comeback by publicly challenging the incumbent Party Chairman. Failing narrowly in this attempt, Birgitte assesses her options and concludes that her only way back into politics is to start again and found a new political party. Forging an unlikely alliance with journalist, Katrine Fønsmark, who becomes her new media adviser and spokesman, the third season of BORGEN follows the journey of Nyborg and her new party towards a taking a fresh shot at parliament and fighting her way back to power back to Borgen .
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NOTE: Borgen is in Danish with English subtitles.
Simply put Borgen is the best political drama I have ever seen. The acting, dialogue, storyline, cinematography are all superb. I have recently viewed all three seasons (30 episodes) and am in awe of what I saw.
(NOTE: Denmark is a multi-party Parliamentary government. On the political right (as we in the USA would see it) are the Liberals (in power when the series begins), the New Right Party and the Freedom Party, which is, among other things, rabidly anti-immigrant. On the left are Labor, Solidarity (Socialist/Communist) and the Greens. In the middle are the Moderates.)
(Mild Spoiler alert)
The three leading characters (there are many supporting players) in Seasons one and two are Brigitte Nyborg, leader of the Moderate Party; Kasper Juul, her media advisor (“spin doctor”); and Katrina Fornsberg, a television reporter.
Season one begins with Brigitte Nyborg, leader of a small centrist party – the “Moderates”- approaching an upcoming election in Denmark just hoping that her party will do well enough that one of the major parties will include her in a new government. Through a series of unforeseen events (which I’ll not describe) both the ruling Liberal Prime Minister and the opposition Labor Party leader are publicly embarrassed the night before the election during a debate. Brigitte Nyborg gives an impressive debate performance which receives very positive press reviews.
Though the election results in no party winning a clear majority, Nyborg’s Moderates make significant gains. Neither major party is able to form a government. After much maneuvering Nyborg emerges as Denmark’s first female Prime Minister. (Historical note: during season two of Borgen Denmark did elect its first female Prime Minister. She is now out of office.)
Season one then focuses on the intricacies of governing Denmark, how being Prime Minister takes a huge toll on Nyborg’s family, and significant character development. Most of the characters have back stories which are revealed over the course of the ten episodes that make up season one. Borgen is very fast paced. Crises develop quickly and unexpectedly, often derailing carefully laid plans. It is riveting TV.
Season two begins a year after season one ends. Nyborg is now in her second year as PM. Her husband has left her and one of her children suffers a serious illness. On the political front the war in Afghanistan takes center stage, as do Greenland (a Danish colony), piracy at sea, an education bill, and political intrigue. Nyborg’s leadership is put to the test many times as she is forced to make difficult choices. Old alliances wither; new ones are formed.
Season three begins two and a half years after season two ends. Nyborg has been out of office for two years and is now a high-priced international corporate consultant. Dismayed by the direction she sees both Denmark and her old party taking, she decides to return to public life. Season three follows that return.
I think Borgen is a tremendous series. All of the production qualities are superb. The subtitles are very easy to read, i.e. they don’t blend into the background. All of the characters are believable, and most are sympathetic. Naturally, when dealing with politics there are always a few slimy characters. They make things interesting.
If you liked “The West Wing,” or “House of Cards,” you will love Borgen.