Netflix is Okkupert
This binge-worthy series portrays a disturbing possible future of an occupied Norway
Nina Brambani Smith
Falls Church, Va.
There is a new TV series available to Americans who can stream content from Netflix. And for all of us with ties to Norway, this is a series of 10 episodes not to be missed. It is a political thriller, made on location in Norway, and the most expensive TV series ever produced in that country. It was first aired on Norway’s TV 2 in the fall of 2015.
When you learn that author Jo Nesbø, the best-selling Norwegian crime writer—the one with all his wicked, wild, and un-Norwegian violence—is the brains behind the series and also one of its producers, well, then you know you are in for some exciting TV viewing.
The cast is terrific, with mostly Norwegian actors, although one of the leading roles is played by a Lithuanian actress.
To make it extra appealing to American audiences, Russia and the European Union are the antagonists that set everything in motion. Add Norwegian oil and gas exploration and a canny resemblance to a very recent Norwegian administration and prime minister, throw in a not-so-accommodating American ambassador, and of course a love story or two, car chases, and frequent shootings, then you have the modern mix for edge-of-your-seat watching.
Let me not spoil it for you by revealing too much, but if you, like me, enjoy modern action TV, especially coupled with people who speak like us or our forefathers (but with very adequate English subtitles, which eliminates any problem of trying to understand all the different dialects being spoken) and the filming throughout using buildings, street scenes, and scenery that readers of this newspaper may find easily recognizable, it becomes hard not to like Occupied.
In addition, though this is of course a fictional story line, it does not seem so far-fetched that it could never happen. A scary thought. The U.S. withdrawing from NATO, Russia and the EU taking over Norway’s oil production, over-the-top naïve environmentalists…
When the last episode of the season finishes, it is with a strong hint—and a wish from this viewer—that there will be more to come. Currently nobody is making any promises, but perhaps with a little luck—and a lot more American binge-watchers—we will soon be Occupied for another season.
Nina Brambani Smith grew up in Oslo, but now lives in the U.S. with her American husband, three sons, and three grandchildren. She majored in English and journalism, and has worked for more than 25 years as a Norwegian teacher, currently teaching three classes at Sons of Norway in addition to tutoring Skype students.
This article originally appeared in the March 4, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.