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Riviera/Deutschland 86

Riviera with 2.3m viewers in the first series was Sky Atlantic’s most successful output and the second one much hyped and promoted.

I was so disappointed by last night’s that after 40 minutes I gave up on it.

It’s a Harold Robbins novel with a Gallic portion of Dynasty.

It’s a peek at the Super-rich with their superyachts, mansion villas on the Riviera and unhappy lives.

Julie Stiles, as the feisty lead Georgy Clios, is in virtually every scene but sadly she is not much of an actress and rather shown up by Juliet Stevenson as her stepmother, who is.

Georgy is an art dealer/expert but the glimpses of this world are pretentious too.

It was partially saved by exquisite shots of the Riviera but otherwise plodded along .

No such criticism can be levelled against the German TV series – also the second one – Deutschland 86.

It’s set in East Germany in 1986 where a committee of financiers and spies set up a scheme to supply arms to apartheid South Africa as they are so short of hard currency. It’s a perceptive look with attention to detail on how grim the GDR was. One mother who tries to escape is separated from her two young daughters who are brought up in a state orphanage.

The lead actor Martin is handsome, yet not that convincing, but those in the more senior roles perform better.

The Sopranos rewrote the rules on soaps – one of its traits was often the punch/twist came in the middle of an episode, not the end as is usual, where there was – as often as not – a fade out.

This was adopted in Deutschland 86 but, confusingly for me, as I recorded the series and had no idea I had watched the last one.

I find one soap a week is enough. I left feeling rather unsatisfied but I do applaud the contributions of European broadcasters of modern drama starting with The Killing, then the French Spiral, the Italian Montalbani and now Deutschland 86.

About Bernadette Angell

After cutting her journalistic teeth in Boston USA, Bernadette met and married an Englishman, whom she followed back to London. Two decades and three children later, they divorced. She now occupies herself as a freelance writer (credits include television soaps and radio plays) and occasional amateur gardener. More Posts