Parody comedy designed to resemble a non-existent gritty 1980's Cold War Romanian police show that promoted Communist ideals. The action-packed and blood-soaked first season finds Detectives Gregor Anghel and Joseph Baciu investigating the murder of fellow officer Nikita Ionescu and, in the process, unraveling a subversive plot to destroy their country that is fueled by what-else-but the greatest enemy: Capitalism.
It's so close. The biggest issue is that it looks too good. Part of the joke is that Communism is better than Capitalism...but not really. Instead, we get a glossy, overproduced product that couldn't possibly be what it pretends to be. There's far too much of the West in this show to establish the verisimilitude and that is the entire genius behind Garth Merenghi's Darkplace. Darkplace showed a horrible show produced by incompetent people and it kept up that fiction. Comrade Detective only gets half of the joke. Gorgeous cinematography, sweeping camera pans with nary a trace of the grit of the "source material." If you've ever seen any Eastern European from that time period then you know it doesn't look good. Even under the rubric of "restoration" it falls apart pretty quickly.
The other issue is they couldn't decide whether it's a comedy or an homage to bad TV. There's not enough jokes to be rollickingly funny and the plot is too believable to really sustain jokes. The stuff with chess is great but they should have hit it harder. The profanity seems really out of place to pass it off as an actual TV show. Perhaps that wasn't their vision and this was the product they wanted to produce. However, just throwing a few communist phrases out in the middle of police drama doesn't create a world. It just points out that they didn't fully think the project through.
Still, it's a good effort. Yes I am from Romania, so maybe I am a little biased. But this show made me remember some times which were hard for us but for me as a kid, were some of the happiest in my life. If you like history, or have lived and "enjoyed" communism in your life,or you are from Romania and can appreciate a smart TV show, then this is something that will make you an instant fan. Having said that, this is maybe too niche in a word dominated by superpower shows , horrible murders TV episodes or MTV Ridiculousness like shows. The so called "found footage of lost TV shows" mixed with the propaganda tag that the so-called founders are putting on it is for once exactly what the show is . This is a propaganda TV series about 2 cops trying to find the killer of their detective friend and fighting with the West Communism ideology in a 1980's Bucharest Romania ( still under the strong arm of the communist party ). It recreates a 80's propaganda atmosphere with minute attention to details that only a few might fully appreciate like for example the televised chess matches, the Nadia Comaneci craze , the old Dacia cars, the clothes that the actors are wearing, the police methods , the guns , the over-repetition of communism ideals and tropes, the demonizing of the west. While I agree that the show "looks too good " for the so-called propaganda style, I quickly forgot about it while watching. Don't expect over the top villains or action ( although it does have a lot of it ). It's like watching the first Expendables. All the 80s glory with all the new that the present has to offer. But from the other side of Iron Curtain. The show is what Miami Vice would have been if made in Romania before the fall of communism. I would give it a 10/10 just for the aftertaste and for making me smile so wide but I am giving it a 9 just to try and curb my enthusiasm. I am pretty sure it's not going to be the next GOT, but I am pretty sure it will develop a small but devoted cult following. I love the actors and they are doing a very good job. Special kudos for the big names in Hollywood which were involved for the dubbing. It was the biggest surprise I had this year. a5c7b9f00b
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