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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Occupied on Netflix and Trump

Just finished streaming Occupied on Netflix.  It was not only good, often riveting, in its own right, but offered a disturbing projection of the world if Donald Trump were somehow elected President of the United States.

Occupied takes place in Norway, slightly in the future.  The country has decided to go all-green, give up fossil fuel completely, in the wake of a terrible environment crisis.  Its neighbors the European Union and Russia don't like this.  Russia decides to do something about it.  They come into Norway, over the objections of its weak government, and keep the fossil fuel plants humming.  The EU does nothing about this.

And what about the United States, long an alley of Norway and no friend of Russia?  In this near-future scenario, the U.S. has pulled out of NATO, and has an isolationist stance, similar to what some Americans wanted at various times in the 20th century.

In our reality, Trump wants to pull out of NATO now (though he's also said, at times, that he doesn't, typical of his often incoherent campaign).  But a United States unwilling to stand up for Norway, especially to Russia, is completely consistent with the footsies Trump has been playing with Putin, and his often otherwise isolationist rants.

The U.S. is frequently depicted poorly in European drama, something which I'm not particular pleased about but which I've become used to.   But in Occupied, given what we're now seeing with the likes of Trump, this depiction is not unjustified.

The story itself is excellent and suspenseful, with all kinds of unexpected twists and turns, especially at the end.   It's reminiscent of Borgen - the Danish political drama - with a little Homeland thrown in. Highly recommended summer viewing - especially this summer, when an isolationist United States is not that far from fiction.

Based on an idea by Jo Nesbø, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, who says a second season is in the works.

In the meantime,  here's the Dylanesque "Black and Gold" from the opening credits.  By Sivert Høyem - also a little reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot.

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