Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 September 2020

9 top Scandinavian films and series to watch on Netflix Middle East: from 'Caliphate' to 'The Rain'

Travel through Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland with this list of shows

The world's discovery of brilliant Scandinavian film and TV productions is not new, but we're gradually getting access to more content via Netflix here in the Middle East, with the launch of a couple of new hits this year alone.

From a gritty Icelandic crime series to a Swedish spoof on the Nordic noir detective drama, this list includes the best the streaming platform has to offer UAE viewers.

'The Valhalla Murders'

An Oslo detective returns to his native Iceland to help hunt down a serial killer in this eight-episode Nordic noir crime series that's loosely based on a real-life case.

Several people have been found brutally murdered in seemingly unrelated events, but it soon becomes clear that each case – and each victim – is linked to a state-run boys’ home that shut down years ago.

The series, which is the first Icelandic show to feature on Netflix, originally aired in Iceland in 2019, but was released worldwide this year. There is no season two confirmed as yet.

'Quicksand'

High school student Maja Norberg finds herself on trial for murder in this Swedish Netflix Original that's based on the award-winning 2016 novel of the same name.

The show, whose head writer also worked on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, is told from the perspective of 18-year-old Maja, as she's arrested for her role in a deadly school shooting that took place in a prestigious area in Stockholm.

The storyline moves between present day and the events that led up to the tragedy.

William Spetz, who plays character Samir Said, told Swedish publication Moviezine: “Malin's book is not just a story about this school shooting, in which everything starts. It is also a story of class and segregation, which is everywhere. Although it is a very Swedish story, it is also a depiction of the society that is everywhere.”

'Borderliner'

In this popular Norwegian crime series, detective Nikolai, who’s pressured into taking time off after busting a police chief for murder, begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a man in his hometown.

As another investigator suspects foul play, Nikolai ends up planting evidence in a bid to protect his brother, a local undistinguished cop who’s managed to get himself deeply involved.

Soon enough, our protagonist is blurring the lines between right and wrong, and everything begins to spin out of control as he begins to uncover what really happened. A second season has yet to be confirmed.

'Fallet'

There's a lot of crime dramas on this list, but Fallet (The Case) is a bit different. This Swedish comedy-drama is actually a spoof on the Nordic noir detective genre.

British and Swedish police join forces to solve a case, but detectives Sophie Borg, from Stockholm, and Tom Brown, from St Ives, are both incompetent. The pair are given one last chance to solve the murder of an Englishman in Borg's hometown – and everything starts to go a bit pear-shaped.

The series won the best drama comedy award at London's C21 International Drama Awards in 2017.

'Deadwind'

There have been two seasons of this Finnish crime drama so far, although only the first instalment is currently available on Netflix Middle East.

The story follows female detective Sofia Karppi, who, after the tragic death of her husband, is struggling to piece her life back together while trying to raise two children alone.

She discovers the body of a young woman on a construction site, triggering a chain of events that could completely unravel her life again.

The show has been well-received and compared to popular Danish show The Killing and Danish-Swedish series The Bridge (both of which are unfortunately not available on Netflix here).

'Caliphate'

While this hit 2020 Swedish thriller-drama might seem like it was done on a budget, the storyline has gripped viewers across the world.

It follows Fatima, an agent of the Swedish Security Service, who gets a tip that a terror attack by Isis is being planned in Sweden.

We also learn about the life of Swedish mother, Pervin, who is trying to get her and her baby out of Syria safely with the intelligence services while still married to an Isis member.

The eight-part series also dives into the social mechanisms that allow someone to recruit members to the terror organisation within the Scandinavian country.

'The Rain'

The third season of this post-apocalyptic Danish show is scheduled to be released at some point this year. For now, viewers can enjoy the first 14 episodes on Netflix Middle East.

The story is based on two young siblings, who go on a search for safety after a deadly virus that's carried by rainfall wipes out most of the population.

Five years later, they join a group of survivors who are following a set of coordinates to a base where rebel scientists are working on a vaccine.

'Occupied'

This intriguing Norwegian political thriller, which is reportedly the most expensive production from Norway to date, is based on an original idea by famed writer Jo Nesbo.

It's set in the near future, when the Scandinavian country is occupied by Russia, with support from the European Union, as it attempts to restore oil and gas production in the North Sea, which the eco-friendly government had brought to a halt.

Of course, nothing is simple, and uncertainty and chaos ensue. There are currently three seasons (24 episodes) available on Netflix Middle East.

'A Fortunate Man'

This Danish film, directed by Bille August (whose Pelle the Conqueror won a foreign-language film Oscar) is adapted from the 1898 novel Lucky Per by Noble Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan.

It’s set in the late 19th century and follows ambitious young man Peter Sidenius, who hails from a devout Christian family in western Denmark and travels to Copenhagen to study engineering in a bid to rebel against his clergyman father.

Per, as he’s now known, is determined to bring his project that harnesses wind and water for energy to fruition, and so begins dating the elder daughter of a well-connected Jewish family. Just as it looks like his dreams are about to come true, however, Per lets his pride get in the way.

Updated: June 15, 2020 06:43 PM

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