It seems that you can’t turn on the television these days without hearing a news report about immigration or the refugee crisis. You would have had to be living under a rock to have missed this massive global issue. It was only a matter of time then until a television series was created addressing some of these issues, enter ‘The Border’. This Polish drama originally entitled ‘Wataha’ is a six part series set in the Biesczady Mountians which lie on the Polish-Ukrainian border. The series follows the day to day activities of the Border Guard, but of course there is also an overarching plot that is the focus of the series.
The first thing that I loved about ‘The Border’ was the fact that it only consisted of six episodes. I don’t know about you but when TV series have twenty plus episodes per season it can be a bit daunting and quite a commitment to start watching. With only six episodes to the series ‘The Border’ was much more approachable. The first two episodes start well, introducing us to several characters and the main plot of the series. There is plenty of variety here which was good as it kept things fresh meaning you really had no idea what could happen in each episode. Unfortunately with the mid section of the series, episodes three and four, things do slow down a bit. This is where viewers might find some issues with the series. I found that the supporting characters needed much more screen time and development as at times it was hard to grasp what their exact involvement was or even where they allegiance lay. As well as this I found that the narrative gives a little too much away too soon which meant these elements to the story didn’t have as great an impact as they potentially could have.
Thankfully the last two episodes really pick up the pace though and use the elements of the narrative that the audience have been aware of for a few episodes now to good use. Saying that the final scenes of the series might disappoint a few, being slightly anti-climatic and possibly unsatisfying but with a second series announced no doubt the narrative will be picked up then. With everything else set aside the series has to be praised for approaching such a current and important issue. There are several moments when we see the effects of trafficking on many different groups and individuals and this can only help to bring awareness regarding the issue. However, whilst the series is called ‘The Border’ and does definitely address the discussed issues previous in this review I wouldn’t say that this is its main narrative focus. Instead this is merely a setting for a police investigation series which delves into the likes of murder, corruption and politics. If that is the sort of thing you are into with your TV series then ‘The Border’ could be for you.
‘The Border’ certainly has its problems, they mainly surface mid series. Underdeveloped supporting characters and a narrative too keen to share its secrets make for a troubled mid section but the bookends of the series counter this. With a good variety to start with and a much faster pace to finish ‘The Border’ is a relevant drama which still looks to entertain its audience. The narrative has plenty of the drama that is present in UK and American series which us TV fans have come to love and with so few episodes ‘The Border’ could be your next binge watch!
THE BORDER is released on DVD Monday 5th September by Nordic Noir & Beyond.
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