Occupied is a drama series which could best be classed as a political thriller. I started watching it because of a friend who likes the architecture – which is indeed very Scandinavian chic! But I stayed watching it because the writing (initially by Jo Nesbo) and the premise of the story was fascinating. Series 1 was good, series 2 better and series 3 was a real disappointment as we moved away from something resembling reality to complete fantasy.
It is the most expensive drama ever filmed in Norway and that shows in the quality of the production. Without spoiling it the basic storyline is that a Norwegian government which wants to stop oil production (to save the planet) is in effect invaded by Russia, in collusion with the EU. The old Quisling ideas come up and various themes of betrayal, greed and other human foibles are explored. It is of course 100% politically correct with a suitably ‘diverse’ set of characters including the lesbian Russian governor, whose multiple sins are atoned for by her setting up an SSM LGBT support group!
A fascinating aspect is the way in which the EU is portrayed as one of the bad guys (of course the Russians always are – no movie would be complete without a Russian oligarch to be the devil). The EU is portrayed as using the courts and institutions of a country in order to control it. Sometimes fiction gets it right! The Russian government does not like this series – I suspect Guy Verhofsstadt isn’t too keen either!
But the most fascinating and disturbing part is the ending – at least I hope it is the ending – series 3 was so bad that a series 4 would be a crime! (Spoiler alert). The former Prime Minister, Jesper Berg, who started off as the good guy who let the Russians in (in order to stop war) and betrayed the Extinction Rebellion cause, in the end makes atonement for his sins, (added by a young eco warrior) by becoming a martyr for the cause. The series ends with him doing a ‘to camera’ piece in which he states ““It doesn’t matter – attack governments, don’t worry about democracy….do whatever you have to do to stop climate change…”
It’s a call to eco-terrorism. A dog whistle to eco-fanatics. And it’s chilling.
This is where the hope of much of the world is now. Like all previous God replacement ideologies, communism, fascism etc. it will fail. But not before a lot of people get hurt and killed. Occupied is a depressing series – not just because it shows human beings with all our flaws, but because it offers only a hopeless ideology as a replacement for the One who gives us real hope. We have a better story!
Saturday Review 15 – Cherynobyl – The Best TV Series Since West Wing