Five Best Series of 2020 So Far

Snowpiercer

First, there was a French graphic novel, then, in 2013, there was a film of the same name by Bong Joon-ho, director of “Parasites”, who this time co-wrote the script. It is worth saying at once: the series, even though its finale is still unknown, was better than the film. More convincing, deeper, more complex. And the reason here is not only that Ho then had two hours, and now ten, no; although – for the parable in the post-apocalyptic scenery to turn into a psychological drama – a long time is still needed. In the film, the Korean skeptic showed that the situation, after a certain point of bifurcation, can only get worse, until the complete annihilation of such a society; Probably, this turned the film with the makings of an existential thriller into a more or less trivial action movie.

Not so this time: you can see the desire to please young people in the first place, but also the energy of social criticism (somewhat naive, but effective, because sincere), and games with different genres (the first half of the series – murder investigation). the protagonists are a black detective “from the tail” (the last of the last cars), who is moving rapidly by “social train”, and the chief engineer, who hides his true status in every possible way, played by the convincing Jennifer Connelly. That is, yes, they added feminist and, so to speak, postcolonial optics, but this is where it is appropriate: people, in extreme conditions, getting lost in a new community, usually bring with them cars of old dilemmas and suitcases of dead knots. there is enough; which is good.

The series is not for years, but here and now it is going. And the second season has already been announced, by the way, with Sean Bean

Barskins

A very nice series: if you want, look through the story through it, draw parallels with the current vortices, and if you want, just watch the “drama of values” in adventure and adventure scenery.

Someone can be singled out here, but there are numerous pulsating points on the character map, which is growing no less rapidly than the map of North America at the time. At the end of the 17th century, the “titular” French (New France, which occupied the territory from Hudson’s Bay to New Orleans), their “fierce” English neighbors, and the indigenous population, who had not yet given up, competed for new territories; in the series, by the way, sounds several authentic languages ​​of different tribes. And in this melting pot, where literally no one wants to assimilate, there are a noble and frankly crazy Englishman with a Qatari cross in his bosom (charming David Tulis); a decent newcomer forester who wants to start all over again; two girls who came in search of generous or at least wealthy men; a young Englishman with the eloquent surname Goms, who is looking for a missing representative of the company, trying to understand the recent massacre; and a half-blood woman who loves two and whose status is as uncertain as possible: neither the wife of a “white man” nor an Indian…

“Barskins” is about as much about the circumstances of a hot and bygone era as it is about the construction of American society in general – with all the pros, but also cons: not so much “Birth of a Nation” as a portrait of those who can make big mistakes and negotiate well. Fanatics, politicians, people of honor, people with secrets; desire for money and desire for justice, great ambitions, and dreams of a quiet haven.

Staged

Very, very British “something”, as concise and relevant as possible: six short series about how actors try to rehearse a play online during a pandemic. That is a TV series with popular film actors about the theater and its spirit; key “visual” formats mixed in one elegant cauldron. Starring here are the wonderful – and more brilliant – Michael Sheen and David Tennant, who remain themselves, talk a lot about their own careers, have an existential itch, and try unsuccessfully to start work on “Six Characters in Search of the Author”. The play by Pirandello, where the fourth wall is actively breaking down, and Staged is thus a story about attempts to stage a play, which is also based on rehearsals and the difficult relationship between artistic illusion and reality. Which only deepens the miniseries, creating a system of enticing reflections, without overloading it. Reasonable, but without the snobbery.

The Woods

A Polish product made in such a way that, leaving behind a certain local exoticism, it will be able to attract a wide western audience. And he clings. “Strong”, “atmospheric”, “unexpected”, “sharp” – all these truisms are really given to a six-part detective story about murders in a teenage camp, which with its incomprehensibility and (un) disclosure and after more than 20 years pimp the conscience of those who were then near, but did not save and did not understand. An attempt to delicately play in the territory occupied by the army of epigones True Detective – and the attempt, admittedly, successful.

However, there is enough social criticism beyond that: perpetual anti-Semitism, asshole journalists, double standards, and nauseating corruption “for good.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

She is a super-popular author of children’s books, but also an openly psychopathic person with an acute antisocial disorder, as she has serious problems with empathy and acceptable levels of cruelty. He is a health worker who has a brother with special needs and a true hypersensitivity to the injustices and misfortunes of others. That is before a gallery of people injured in different ways: someone hates himself, and at the same time others, and someone dissolves in others, running away from himself. And they are brought here, we hope, not so that everyone can recover, standing on the “middle road” of recovery and creating a strong family: something is simply impossible to change in a person, and something – and not necessary, because it is not a defect, but a feature that requires a different view. In short, they meet to understand something about acceptance and self-love. And not in order to play the story of “bitch and patient.”

Netflix continues to find a regional product with the potential to hit wider coverage. However, at the same time, it does something else: it gradually breaks the west-centrism of the serial world – and legitimizes a wider range of techniques and styles: a combination of animation (even several types) and romantic melodrama (Japanese and Koreans say “dorama”), a mix of consequences violence and almost black humor, vanilla and quinol combos. Fiction and “too human.”

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter