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Deutschland 83 East West, Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Ulrich Noethen, Sylvester Groth, Sonja Gerhardt, Ludwig Trepte, Alexander Beyer, Lisa Tomaschewsky, Carina Wiese, Jens Albinus, Nikola Kastner

Deutschland 83: an East German foot soldier is sent to the West as an undercover spy to monitor the military, NATO, and carry out bespoke missions. I usually avoid lazy comparisons, but for simplicity, think The Americans or Homeland, with a younger & more naïve lead – and leveled at a younger audience. The show boasts a lot of inter-connected small and larger stories packed in to the 8 episodes, which helps to develop and justify each of the supporting cast members, and gives most of them some time in the spotlight. For the most part the acting is solid, nobody stands out as being rubbish. Set in 1983 (shock!) the period detail is very interesting, and arguably the biggest draw of the show: not just the nostalgic items on-screen or the dominating era-specific pop soundtrack, but differences between the East/West, and other background stuff from like the AIDS epidemic and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. Unfortunately, the ending’s a bit too open-ended for such a dense and small slice of the Cold War; like one of the fat cat producers hoped they’ll be making Deutschland ’85 and ’87 in the near future. The only thing that bugged me was the lack of clarity regarding time: the lead transformed from a rookie footsoldier to a stone-cold, poon-slaying, espionage-master overnight, and some of the stories lurched forward days and weeks with no real indication. Overall, Deutschland ’83 is an impressive high-budget, well-acted, fascinating and entertaining drama; it’s maybe not quite as good as the hype (it’s the most successful foreign TV show in UK history!), but it’s a solid show, and another positive step towards the HBOification of Eurpean TV.

Score: 7/10

Deutschland 83 ARMY BROS, Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Ulrich Noethen, Sylvester Groth, Sonja Gerhardt, Ludwig Trepte, Alexander Beyer, Lisa Tomaschewsky, Carina Wiese, Jens Albinus, Nikola Kastner