We Recommend: Borgen

Starting this Saturday gone, BBC4 brings you Borgen, the next big Danish subtitled series to hit the UK. After The Killing became a cult hit, and we said many nice things about it on this website, the Beeb probably think their odds are good here. Hell, Sherlock's done pretty well with its diagrammatic sequences of his deductive process – clearly there's a big audience for TV shows that print words on the screen.


It's fundamentally a political drama - you could sell Borgen as a Danish West Wing, only with less intricate workings of the state and more broad thriller twists, at least based on these early episodes. And it's a well made series, setting up a range of characters and affiliations without becoming confusing, and a very likable heroine.

The acting is good, even if they don't seem to be enunciating their English very clearly (joke), and fans of The Killing will recognise some familiar faces among the the major players, including both of Sarah Lund's police partners to date. To get the inevitable direct comparison out of the way, I'm not sure Borgen is going to tap quite the same mainstream vein, simply because The Killing had the emotive subject matter.

All I mean is: it's simpler to get people to invest across the language barrier in murder investigations than politics. The afore-mentioned West Wing, although it's adored by those of us who have picked up the DVDs, more or less flopped when Channel 4 broadcast it on regular television, and that didn't even have to worry about being in Danish.

But if you're okay with the subtitles, even though you will have to look directly at the screen the whole time, Borgen is an intriguing, emotive piece of drama, confident enough to be dead serious without falling back on quips. Give it a go. The first two episodes are already on iPlayer, so you don't even have to wait. There's also the BBC official site for even more information.

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