Occupied (season 2)

I’ve recommended this Norwegian TV series before, but now that I’ve finished watching the second (and final) season, I’ll recommend it again.

It’s a political thriller written as a work of speculative fiction.  In the near future, a crunchy granola Norwegian prime minister decides that the country should immediately switch from fossil fuels to green energy.  The Russians, who have financial interests in Norway’s oil and gas operations, are none too pleased, and move a small number of “technicians” (disguised military) into the country to “help” Norway reopen its facilities.  The US has gone isolationist, and the EU, it turns out, is more interested in keeping Norwegian oil flowing than the Norwegians.

Season 1, which ends on a cliffhanger, details the slow realization that the country was, in fact, occupied.  Season 2 picks up the story about 9 months later, following various characters as they decide whether to cooperate or resist the Russian occupation.

The plot is consistently interesting and, once you accept the initial premise, pretty plausible.  The acting is high quality, and the characters are well drawn and complex  — the idealists turn out to be just as ruthless as everybody else, while the obviously cynical ones sometimes exhibit unexpected flashes of morality.  You’re never sure who to root for (even Mr. Viking Everyman has his flaws) which is at it should be.

Best of all, the show, over 18 episodes, tells a complete story in a straightforward, linear fashion.  You won’t need Reddit to figure out which of the multiple timelines each episode is on (looking at YOU, Westworld).  And, although you might not like the ending, at least there is one.

Highly recommended.  Netflix.

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