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    Has there been a thread about Borgen?

    Halfway through series 2 on DVD and wondered if there'd been any musings about it on here. Have there?

    #2
    Has there been a thread about Borgen?

    A bit of marginalia, but not an actual thread I don't think.

    The first season was really interesting. For reasons that have less to do with the series dramatically, more the insights it offered into how Danish politics works, and how politicians are viewed there.

    Season two is less successful I think. It reflected especially in it's conclusion the kind of insecure nationalism that's a feature of many Canadian productions. It developed a worthiness that's the kiss of death for this type of political drama.

    Still and all, we'll watch the next series, mainly for the soapy PM's family stuff.

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      #3
      Has there been a thread about Borgen?

      I loved both seasons; it was great to watch something that didn't place serial killing as the central human experience. The first season may have shaded it over the second but it's all pretty good.

      It was a bit odd when Troels and the dad from The Killing (also in Borgen) turned up in Festen when it was on Film4 the other day. I suppose fans of various US shows get the same start when they see Trainspotting.

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        #4
        Has there been a thread about Borgen?

        Third (and I believe final series) starts on BBC4 at 9pm this Saturday if anyone else is interested.

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          #5
          I just binge-watched seasons 1 and 2 because I was alone in a wi-fi free zone for two weeks - I took an old laptop along together with some DVD boxed sets long since confined to a drawer. Frau imp watched it years ago, but I'd not bothered - can"t remember why. Anyway, I was glued to it from start to finish. I thought it was outstandingly acted, with strong, convincing characters and story-lines that may not have sounded promising ("It's time to get the Health Reform Bill through"), but which were always engagingly executed. I haven't been this interested in Denmark since... okay, I have never been interested in Denmark.

          Proper, realistic political drama, not cynical, melodramatic bollocks like House of Cards.

          Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix now, and apparently a fourth season's just been commissioned and will be out in 2022.

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            #6
            I wuz just gunna say fourth season.

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              #7
              TT - is it any good at politics? I know it's made by the same channel that made The Killing, and the politics in that was teeth-grindingly bad. I did some quick googling, and this piece made them sound awfully Killing-like.

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                #8
                That's made me smile, reading that.

                I'm not sure what "good at the politics" would be like, really. The West Wing was rotten at the politics, to my mind. But, you know, I'm a communist, and this is very much middle-of-the-road centrism. I like the fact that it dealt with really mundane stuff, as it goes. I'm not sure I can think of a drama that deals well with the changing-my-mind stuff. Mostly because people don't have changing-my-mind moments. Not about anything important anyway.

                I think if you try one, you'll suss out pretty quickly if you hate it or not.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by NHH View Post
                  TT - is it any good at politics? I know it's made by the same channel that made The Killing, and the politics in that was teeth-grindingly bad. I did some quick googling, and this piece made them sound awfully Killing-like.
                  I'm also wondering what you mean by being "good at politics". If you're looking for an absolutely correct Marxist-Leninist approach to all issues of social justice and foreign policy that's going to tell what you already believe, then you'll probably have to write your own political drama. This deals with being a minority partner in a centre-left coalition government in a north-European social democracy. To a large extent, it's about making compromises to bear in mind that voters in a democracy all want different things. Personally, I'd last about five minutes in this environment before I threw in the can, so in many ways, although you might not agree with the political viewpoints of many of the players, you're grateful that someone has the will and ambition to be a public servant and engage with people they might despise. I thought Borgen's far right Freedom Party was very well portrayed in this respect - utterly repellent, but they're there and part of the political reality and consist of actual human beings. The challenge in a democracy is to present policies to persuade enough people to stop voting for them, not just righteously grandstand about how contemptible they are.

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                    #10
                    Ok, that sounds interesting; the issue with the Killing was that the political elements were just so two-dimensional, with people being utterly unreasonable purely to drive the plot, and people responding in turn to that unreasonableness by being more unreasonable. It was just like writing about politics by people who have no idea how politics actually works.

                    In The Thick of It, for example, it gets beautifully that what is happening matters lots to the people involved as well as being a massive big game, but the Killing doesn't recognise any of the game element which is crucial to understanding how and why things actually happen.

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                      #11
                      Funnily enough, I re-watched the first three series of The Thick Of It just before I watched Borgen. I didn't think it had aged that well - the whole thing seemed too cartoonish, and the serial swearing I found so funny a decade ago was a bit wearisome. I mean, there is absolutely no one in that series who's in it for anyone besides themselves. It's still brutally funny up to a point, but also of its time, I think. We really need something more positive and - basically - planet and humanity-saving now. Otherwise we are all fucked.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by imp View Post
                        Funnily enough, I re-watched the first three series of The Thick Of It just before I watched Borgen. I didn't think it had aged that well - the whole thing seemed too cartoonish, and the serial swearing I found so funny a decade ago was a bit wearisome. I mean, there is absolutely no one in that series who's in it for anyone besides themselves. It's still brutally funny up to a point, but also of its time, I think. We really need something more positive and - basically - planet and humanity-saving now. Otherwise we are all fucked.
                        I liked Borgen but yet I’m more conventional centre left so not as put off. Also the novelty of true multi party politics compared to the historically two party UK/US politics.

                        As far as The Thick of It I still find it funny but I think it’s very much of its time ie New Labour/early Coalition period. Politics post Brexit and Trump just seems too serious to be funny.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by imp View Post

                          I'm also wondering what you mean by being "good at politics". If you're looking for an absolutely correct Marxist-Leninist approach to all issues of social justice and foreign policy that's going to tell what you already believe, then you'll probably have to write your own political drama. This deals with being a minority partner in a centre-left coalition government in a north-European social democracy. To a large extent, it's about making compromises to bear in mind that voters in a democracy all want different things. Personally, I'd last about five minutes in this environment before I threw in the can, so in many ways, although you might not agree with the political viewpoints of many of the players, you're grateful that someone has the will and ambition to be a public servant and engage with people they might despise. I thought Borgen's far right Freedom Party was very well portrayed in this respect - utterly repellent, but they're there and part of the political reality and consist of actual human beings. The challenge in a democracy is to present policies to persuade enough people to stop voting for them, not just righteously grandstand about how contemptible they are.
                          Yes, obviously there's never been a left-led Irish coalition government, but I do feel it's closer than any US or UK drama as to the negotiations between the shifting alliances and perfectly captures the dynamic of a multi-party parliament and media scenario. I felt the quality level really fell off a cliff, however, in Season 3, as the New Democrats were essentially a re-thread of Nyborg's first election campaign in charge of the Moderates, and the subplot with Jeremy ventured into soap opera territory.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Diable Rouge View Post

                            I felt the quality level really fell off a cliff, however, in Season 3, as the New Democrats were essentially a re-thread of Nyborg's first election campaign in charge of the Moderates, and the subplot with Jeremy ventured into soap opera territory.
                            Having listened to an interview with the creator Adam Price. That was kind of the point. Her personal life was supposed to be what it was about. I.e. being an unlikely pm thrust into the role and how she dealt with it along with her family. Obviously they want us to see her a decent and principled like Bartlett in the West Wing. But it’s just about people in the way the Americans was about a family and the spying bit was just a hook.

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                              #15
                              The obvious difference between the West Wing and Borgen would be that the former is still trying to convince itself and congratulate itself around certain exceptionalist American myths. Denmark doesn't have that in its politics and culture in the same way, so Borgen came across as very honest in that regard. And the fact that its main protagonists mostly wouldn't have had my exact politics was no barrier whatsoever to enjoying what was a well handled, acted and multi-layered political drama.

                              Didn't think there were going to be any more though, so looking forward to series 4

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                                #16
                                Has now been released on Netflix, but be warned - will appear as a dubbed version unless you've previously switched to subtitles for other foreign-language series on the platform.

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                                  #17
                                  We've been watching this and I'm constantly amazed at how nobody pays attention to Birgitte on the streets of Copenhagen. She walks around the place and nobody nudges who they're with and points. Today a removals guy showed up at her new party hq and said "Birgitte Nyborg?" She's the recently ex Prime Minister ffs. Surely you'd fucking recognise her.

                                  Denmark man

                                  (it's a good show that aside)

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                                    #18
                                    Palme used to walk through Stockholm uncommented upon until he couldn't.

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                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
                                      We've been watching this and I'm constantly amazed at how nobody pays attention to Birgitte on the streets of Copenhagen. She walks around the place and nobody nudges who they're with and points. Today a removals guy showed up at her new party hq and said "Birgitte Nyborg?" She's the recently ex Prime Minister ffs. Surely you'd fucking recognise her.

                                      Denmark man

                                      (it's a good show that aside)
                                      I assumed that was an accurate portrayal. Just as the family's modest suburban house was.

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                                        #20
                                        I'm in the middle of series 2 so I won't read this thread yet to avoid spoilers, but I'll go back through it later because I'm curious to see what people made of the politics. It's an enjoyable enough watch, but the whole "centrism will save us" angle isn't half grating.

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                                          #21
                                          For whatever reasons, it's one of the few things sympathetic to centrism that's had any convincing heft in any area of global public life for a decade, for me. I don't share its politics, but I do think it looks at the personal, ethical and strategic tussles inherent in politics as well as anything. It's good on journalism too.

                                          And it's 20 times better than the escapist liberal wank fantasy that is the fucking West Wing

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                                            #22
                                            the escapist liberal wank fantasy that is the fucking West Wing
                                            ooh, thanks for the recommendation! [insert smiley]

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                                              #23
                                              It's back:

                                              Borgen: How the Danish political drama has been 'reinvented' - BBC News

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                                                #24
                                                Season 4 - goes for a single story line through all eight episodes, as opposed to standalone or two-part stories, and has veered even more towards soap opera and away from the political nitty-gritty. Still very watchable, though with way too many scenes interrupted by mobile phones. Not a patch on seasons 1 and 2, though the bar was very high.

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                                                  #25
                                                  Yeah there is far too much texting in this series. And the subtitling is a bit hit and miss. But it's a pretty compelling series once again, though I think I preferred it when it cycled through different issues a bit more.

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