Borgen: The Complete Series
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IN DANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES Cited by Stephen King as his favorite television series of the year, Denmark s blockbuster political drama, Borgen ( The Castle ) explores the insular world of high-stakes Danish politics and the press corps that covers it in instantaneous, relentless news cycles. Birgitte Nyborg becomes Prime Minister of Denmark through a political fluke and has to learn the ways of power, quickly.
This set contains all three seasons of Borgen.
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Package Dimensions : 7.8 x 5.59 x 1.73 inches; 3.82 Ounces
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, NTSC
- Run time : 29 hours and 27 minutes
- Release date : October 21, 2014
- Actors : Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Johan Philip Asbaek, Mikael Birkkjaer, Freja Riemann Pilou Asbaek
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Mhz Networks Home
- ASIN : B00NWIFYRQ
- Number of discs : 12
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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NOTE: Borgen is in Danish with English subtitles.
Simply put Borgen is the best political drama I have ever seen. The acting, dialogue, storyline, cinematography are all superb. I have recently viewed all three seasons (30 episodes) and am in awe of what I saw.
(NOTE: Denmark is a multi-party Parliamentary government. On the political right (as we in the USA would see it) are the Liberals (in power when the series begins), the New Right Party and the Freedom Party, which is, among other things, rabidly anti-immigrant. On the left are Labor, Solidarity (Socialist/Communist) and the Greens. In the middle are the Moderates.)
(Mild Spoiler alert)
The three leading characters (there are many supporting players) in Seasons one and two are Brigitte Nyborg, leader of the Moderate Party; Kasper Juul, her media advisor (“spin doctor”); and Katrina Fornsberg, a television reporter.
Season one begins with Brigitte Nyborg, leader of a small centrist party – the “Moderates”- approaching an upcoming election in Denmark just hoping that her party will do well enough that one of the major parties will include her in a new government. Through a series of unforeseen events (which I’ll not describe) both the ruling Liberal Prime Minister and the opposition Labor Party leader are publicly embarrassed the night before the election during a debate. Brigitte Nyborg gives an impressive debate performance which receives very positive press reviews.
Though the election results in no party winning a clear majority, Nyborg’s Moderates make significant gains. Neither major party is able to form a government. After much maneuvering Nyborg emerges as Denmark’s first female Prime Minister. (Historical note: during season two of Borgen Denmark did elect its first female Prime Minister. She is now out of office.)
Season one then focuses on the intricacies of governing Denmark, how being Prime Minister takes a huge toll on Nyborg’s family, and significant character development. Most of the characters have back stories which are revealed over the course of the ten episodes that make up season one. Borgen is very fast paced. Crises develop quickly and unexpectedly, often derailing carefully laid plans. It is riveting TV.
Season two begins a year after season one ends. Nyborg is now in her second year as PM. Her husband has left her and one of her children suffers a serious illness. On the political front the war in Afghanistan takes center stage, as do Greenland (a Danish colony), piracy at sea, an education bill, and political intrigue. Nyborg’s leadership is put to the test many times as she is forced to make difficult choices. Old alliances wither; new ones are formed.
Season three begins two and a half years after season two ends. Nyborg has been out of office for two years and is now a high-priced international corporate consultant. Dismayed by the direction she sees both Denmark and her old party taking, she decides to return to public life. Season three follows that return.
I think Borgen is a tremendous series. All of the production qualities are superb. The subtitles are very easy to read, i.e. they don’t blend into the background. All of the characters are believable, and most are sympathetic. Naturally, when dealing with politics there are always a few slimy characters. They make things interesting.
If you liked “The West Wing,” or “House of Cards,” you will love Borgen.
But this is a review of Borgen, a program series from Denmark in Danish with English subtitles. If you happen to be fortunate enough, as I am, to speak a little German, then you may be good to go without the benefit of the subtitling. If not, it's pretty easy to fall into the routine of reading as the stellar acting performances play out on the screen. I first saw this series televised by LINK TV, repeated several times, though the sequence got truncated for reasons that elude me and became a bit disjointed and confusing. This CD set puts it all into proper order with a dramatic beginning and a tidy ending. If you've lost hope of ever seeing politicians performing in the best interests of their constituents, this set will provide you with a model of what to demand of them. Well done and still entertaining with many subplots demonstrating not only the competence and ethical standards we deserve and should demand of our public servants but also showcases the reality that they (and we) are all human with frailties and moments of poignant vulnerability demonstrating our humanity. A must see if you're interested in government, politics and compassion, as well as simply wanting to be entertained.
Top reviews from other countries
These are characters so well drawn, even the ones merely sketched, that they, in collusion with some of the finest actors I have never heard of before, come to vivid life. Who would have thought a drama revolving around a Danish politician/mother/wife would be so entirely riveting? "Borgen" is the kind of television series that cannot be ignored. Once you meet these people, you want to know more and more about them. Like a good soap-opera, twists and turns arise that can pull the viewer almost out of their chair. The subtitles are quick, well-designed for ease of reading and lucid. I did not often feel I was missing much of a speech (as happens with subtitles) and certainly some of the Danish will seep into the viewer's head pretty quickly. Anything much more I say will be redundant. "Borgen" is about people in extraordinary situations, acting and reacting as people will: sometimes well, sometimes poorly. Give yourself a treat and pick this gem up. At the very least it will open your eyes to the excellence of the better European television productions, if you hadn't seen any before, but had heard rumours...
'The Castle' (Borgen) is the Danish seat of government - like Great Britain's Whitehall, or a combination of the USA's White House and Congress (with one major difference: the Prime Minister still lives at home). The personal and political machinations reveal much of the impact of personal goals, history and ambitions on the politics of the Party and the Nation.
One hugely significant theme throughout the series, which other series often gloss over, is the enormous influence of the media in politics. The complexities of access, influence, relationships and power in the co-dependent relationship BETWEEN politics and media is further complicated (and enhanced for the viewer) by a deep dive into the power structures, relationships, stress, politics, workplace bullying and loyalties WITHIN the media.
It helps greatly that many of the background stories that underpin the episodes are based on real situations and political events experienced in Denmark in the years prior to the setting of the series. In addition, access to actual media operations provides a level of authenticity that would have been practically impossible to replicate on a set.
The only minor criticism I had of the series was that occasionally, in the middle of the series, the English subtitling had some errors. Sometimes an obviously incorrect word sneeks in, though the error was obvious from context (though I don't speak Danish).
Bottom line? A very satisfying experience that can leave you feeling realistically hopeful in a world of political corruption. Where the march toward authoritarianism, hand in hand with media drifting toward being mere propaganda outfits is endemic, it is heartening to get a glimpse of what could be when the right people step up.