The Stream Queen & Borgen
I’ve been going through a period of loving Scandinavian shows and film, particularly after I found out that FX’s The Bridge was straight-up a script for script copy of the Danish original. Shocker! Remember Infernal Affairs and The Departed? Here’s looking at you Hollywood!
So I started to dig further into Scandinavian cinema, it became very clear to me that there are some seriously talented writers just going about their normal genius-level days, making incredibly engaging tv dramas across the Atlantic. Who knew?! I will save some of these shows for a later time. If you don’t mind subtitles and European accents make you quiver in your loins, read on!
One of the shows I have grown attached to (and now cannot bear to finish is) is Borgen, which means “Castle” in Danish. Borgen is also the shortened name for the historical building that houses all three branches of the Danish Government. Borgen is a political drama, much like the West Wing, charting the rise (and possible fall) of a new political leader who is a little wet behind the ears. In this case, we see the story of the first female Danish prime minister, Birgitte Nyborg, as she strive to transform policy-making from apathetic political rivalry to real social change for the people of Denmark. Admirable? Yes. Bound to go to shits? Absolutely! Well… as you can imagine, her naiveté gets her into all sorts of trouble. As most political wonks will tell you, if you aren’t pissing someone off, well you aren’t doing it right! Nyborg slowly realizes that Machiavelli isn’t just required reading, it’s the gospel when it comes to politics.
With 4 seasons to munch on, you can witness her triumphs and defeats. Nyborg’s greatest challenge is trying to be a strong (balanced) political figure, mother, and wife all at once. Raising the question, can a woman really have it all? She is very much alone in this struggles and we are there with her. Nyborg does a great job of growing into her role. She inspires feminist girl crushes everywhere; not just because of how smart and savvy she is (and kinda hot) but because she has genuine flaws. She is not a perfect mother, or wife, or politicians; however, she strives to be. She has to endure sexism and the betrayal of her close allies. She has to do things that make her sick and that possible hurts the people she cares about. She is human, above all, warts and all. This shows does a great job showing all of these daily struggle with some great lines delivered by every actor.
One of the things I look forward in the show, is the witty philosophical quotes that are incredibly on point for each episode. They appear at the beginning of each episode, setting the tone for the show. They come from various global source: artists, philosophers, proverbs, and more. Beyond just being a juicy policy wonk’s wet dream, Borgen is a great example that scripts written about women can be successful. Nyborg isn’t the only woman who is going through all of these struggles. There are other female characters that carry this show, making it the success that is it. No photoshop of lumps and bumps or 30 year olds playing older women. It’s very real and very appealing.
If you happen to get a chance to stream this show, get your six pack ready and prepare to binge!
Similar shows: The West Wing; House of Cards; The Politician’s Husband
Available On: iTunes (Sorry Netflixers)