Tag Archives: election

Watch with Me – Borgen

26 Oct

I’m the kind of person who gets a kick of out of electoral politics. I’m a political junkie, not of the highest order, but of definitely above-average enthusiasm. As I begin to mourn the passing of this year’s highly entertaining, albeit deadly serious election season, I’m starting to look for other ways to reclaim the euphoria of civic engagement percolating through my feeds and timelines (oh, and real life).

And how best to understanding real-life problems than by escaping to the world of television dramas, am I right? My friends and family will tell you that I am a nut for the West Wing. My dad, in his infinite wisdom, bought all seven seasons on DVD and I have made good use of those discs, rewatching every few years to remind myself that America is a good idea. (Just let me have that one)

Instead of returning to my beloved Barteletts et. al., this year I’ve been fortunate enough to find another avenue by which I can revel in the world of democratic politics.

Of the Danish variety.

Borgen. I know it sounds like something the Muppet chef would say but that’s Swedish and I’m not interested in your giggling about Scandinavian stereotypes. I am not even cracking a smile when I say that Borgen is seriously some top-notch political theatre.

The following is a reproduction of a piece I wrote for The DePaulia (DePaul’s student paper) on the show: 

“As election season heats up, a crop of new and returning political dramas are filling our Twitter feeds, TV review columns and DVR queues. In the midst of the buzz over new and notable political dramas on American cable television, it can be easy to miss the Danish show that many critics are praising as the best political drama on TV.

“Borgen”(translated to: “The Castle”) won 2012 International British Academy of Film and Television Academy Award and has been hailed by Newsweek as “the best political show ever.” The series is a compelling portrait of national politics in Denmark featuring vicious parliamentary politics, international relations fraught with colonial history and complex media relationships among other issues.

The first season opens on an election well underway and follows Moderate Party leader Birgitte Nyborg’s rise to power during and after the election. Accompanying this main plot thread are a number of well-developed subplots including a young female reporter’s role as a political TV host as well as her off-screen relationships that leave her trying to conceal her role in an emotionally wrought headline news story.

The show weaves together the public and private lives of its well-drawn characters to create a powerful portrait of the Danish political scene and the politicians, media leaders and private interests who populate it.

The central issues “Borgen” examines, such as honesty and authenticity in political discourse and the role of the media establishment, are questions that are familiar to American audiences.

At the same time, the series showcases a multi-party political system that operates very differently from the American two-party system, which helps the American viewer to gain a more nuanced understanding of how a European parliamentary government compares and contrasts with the US system.

Originally aired on Danish TV in 2010, “Borgen” was eventually syndicated by the BBC in the U.K. and was finally brought to the United States via online broadcast on Link TV spoken in Danish with English subtitles. Episodes are available on Link TV for two weeks after they originally air.”

 LINK TV is rebroadcasting the first two seasons of Borgen, starting with the pilot on November 16. Each episode will be available online for 2 weeks after broadcast. Watch for my thoughts on each episode as they air.

%d bloggers like this: