Ooooh, the Germans! (aka why you should watch Sundance's 'Deutschland 83')
This is a crazy busy week in TV, especially for June (which is the new March, which is the new January, which is the new September), and I unfortunately don't have time to review everything (or, in some cases, like USA's "Complications," to even watch everything). Fortunately, the Internet sometimes allows me to point you towards other people's reviews of things I like but am too underwater to write about, like Sundance's newest import, the German-language (with subtitles) "Deutschland 83," which premieres tonight at 11.
The short version is that it's a bit of an East/West German version of "The Americans," focusing on a young soldier from East Berlin (played by Jonas Nay) pressed into service impersonating one of his counterparts from West Germany. It's not as intense a viewing experience as "The Americans," which has its minuses but also its pluses: this is more of a straightforward, slightly lighter spy thriller, with lots of tension about whether our hero will be caught and if he'll ever be allowed to return home, but not (at least in the two episodes Sundance made available for review) as consumed with conflicted feelings of identity and loyalty. The '80s soundtrack is a bit more populist, but how could you do a show with this setting and not have "99 Luftballoons" be prominent?
I enjoyed what I saw, and look forward to more, but if you want more in-depth thoughts, I'd suggest checking out what James Poniewozik at Time and Andy Greenwald at Grantland had to say. Depending on how the season goes, and what else is on my plate later in the summer, maybe I can revisit. But I didn't want its premiere to go unremarked upon.