Deutschland 83

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Deutschland 83
Deutschland83-Title-Card.jpg
Deutschland 83 English-subtitled intertitle
Also known as Deutschland 86
Deutschland 89
Genre Cold War espionage
Created by Anna Winger
Joerg Winger
Written by Anna Winger
Directed by Edward Berger
Samira Radsi
Starring
Opening theme "Major Tom (Coming Home)" by
Peter Schilling
Composer(s) Reinhold Heil
Country of origin
  • Germany
  • United States
Original language(s) German
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Joerg Winger
Nico Hofmann
Henriette Lippold
Cinematography Philipp Haberlandt
Frank Küpper
Editor(s) Sven Budelmann
Production company(s) UFA Fiction
Distributor FremantleMedia International
Kino Lorber
Release
Original network
First shown in United States
Original release 17 June (2015-06-17) – 5 August 2015 (2015-08-05)
Chronology
Followed by Deutschland 86
External links
Website
Production website

Deutschland 83 [ˈdɔʏtʃlant dʁaɪ.ʊnt.ˈʔaxtsɪç] is a German-American television series starring Jonas Nay as a 24-year-old native of East Germany who in 1983 is sent to the West as an undercover spy for the HVA, the foreign intelligence agency of the Stasi. It is a co-production of AMC Networks' SundanceTV and RTL Television by the production company, UFA Fiction,[1] with international distribution by RTL Group's FremantleMedia International[2][3] and North American distribution by Kino Lorber.[4] The series premiered on 17 June 2015 on the SundanceTV channel in the United States, becoming the first German-language series to air on a US network.[5][6] The broadcast was in the original German, with English subtitles.[7] It subsequently aired in Germany beginning in November 2015, and in the UK on Channel 4 beginning in January 2016.

The series was officially renewed on 14 October 2016,[8] the second series to be called Deutschland 86.[9] Despite weak initial ratings in Germany, Deutschland 83 became a sleeper hit. Deutschland 86 will be set in 1986, three years after the original season; it is expected to premiere in Germany on 19 October 2018.[10] A third season, Deutschland 89, will be very likely to follow, 1989 being the year of the fall of the Berlin wall.[11] In a December 2017 interview, it was confirmed that Amazon Germany has secured the rights to a third season, titled Deutschland 89.[12]

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Creator Anna Winger said that all of the episode names originated from NATO military exercises from 1983.[15]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Viewers
(millions)
1"Quantum Jump"Edward BergerAnna WingerU.S.: 17 June 2015
Germany: 26 November 2015 (U.S.: 17 June 2015
Germany: 26 November 2015
)
U.S.: 0.066[16]
German: 3.19[17]
East Germany's Secret Service is concerned by American military plans in West Germany. East German Secret Service employee Lenora Rauch sends her nephew to West Germany to act as a spy.
2"Brave Guy"Edward BergerSteve Bailie and Anna Winger24 June 2015 (2015-06-24)
Germany: 26 November 2015
U.S.: 0.074[18]
German: 2.86[17]
Tischbier orders Martin to break into NATO head analyst Henrik Mayer (Jens Albinus)'s hotel room to steal a secret report. He refuses until Tischbier promises to help his mother who is suffering from kidney disease in East Germany.
3"Atlantic Lion"Edward BergerAnna Winger1 July 2015 (2015-07-01)
Germany: 3 December 2015
U.S.: 0.077[19]
German: 2.05[20]
While at a NATO conference in Brussels, Martin gets an assignment to seduce and bug the head security analyst's secretary, Linda Seiler (Nikola Kastner).
4"Northern Wedding"Edward BergerAndrea Willson and Anna Winger8 July 2015 (2015-07-08)
Germany: 3 December 2015
U.S.: 0.100[21]
German: 1.96[20]
NATO is placed on high alert when the bug is found in Linda's desk. Linda visits Martin in West Germany. Martin scrambles to turn her loyalties around while under interrogation by NATO security about their relationship.
5"Cold Fire"Edward BergerAnna Winger15 July 2015 (2015-07-15)
Germany: 10 December 2015
U.S.: 0.143[22]
German: 1.69[23]
Tischbier arrives at the commune to retrieve Martin and tell him that his mother will have her kidney transplant but Martin is the donor. He must get to East Berlin after delivering a package to a mysterious man.
6"Brandy Station"Samira RadsiRalph Martin and Anna Winger22 July 2015 (2015-07-22)
Germany: 10 December 2015
U.S.: 0.082[24]
German: 1.67[23]
Martin wants to stay home now, but his fiancee Annett tells him to go West again. Alex takes General Jackson hostage and forces him to film a denunciation of US military plans in Western Europe.
7"Bold Guard"Samira RadsiGeorg Hartmann and Anna Winger29 July 2015 (2015-07-29)
Germany: 17 December 2015
U.S.: 0.072[25]
German: 1.72[26]
As preparations for NATO's nuclear war game "Able Archer" intensify, Martin receives an order from East Germany that cements his fears about their paranoia. Martin blows his own cover in order to warn his superiors in the West that the East German HQ thinks that the exercise is a real act of war. Under arrest, he escapes from the base and heads towards East Germany.
8"Able Archer"Samira RadsiAnna Winger5 August 2015 (2015-08-05)
Germany: 17 December 2015
U.S.: 0.107[27]
German: 1.63[26]
The fear of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the West had become a possibility at the East German HQ, while in the West, war game Able Archer reaches its peak. Martin finally manages to talk to high ranked officers in the East, revealing the deliberate misinterpretation of the conclusions of NATO's report by high-ranking East German officials.

Production[edit]

The show was created by the husband and wife team of American novelist Anna Winger and German TV producer Joerg Winger.[28][29] It is produced by Joerg Winger, Nico Hofmann, and Henriette Lippold. Anna Winger said that they did extensive research with experts who were from both sides of Germany.[30] Historian Klaas Voss from the Hamburg Institute for Social Research was very important in providing historical information.[30] Jonas Nay, who played Martin, said he received technical assistance from military adviser/NATO expert Steffen Meier.[31]

The show was shot in and around locations in Berlin, Germany. A suburb in east Berlin was used to portray period East Germany.[32] For some scenes the Stasi headquarters (in German, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) was used as a location and the production was able to film at the Stasi Museum, which is the actual site of the original headquarters.[13] The actual headquarters for the HV A was however in Gosen about 28 km (17 miles) south east of the Berlin TV tower, less than 1 km (0.6 miles) SE of the Berlin city limits, and approximately 4.5 miles (7.5 kilometers) south of the city of Erkner. The backup bunker for the headquarters of the HVA was also located there.[33][34]

Directors Edward Berger and Samira Radsi used the same crew—and often the same locations—to shoot their respective episodes. One director would prepare for shooting while the other was shooting. They worked in parallel like this throughout the filming of the show.[35] Radsi said she knew producer Winger from working together on the popular German TV show, SOKO Leipzig.[35]

SundanceTV created a digital marketing strategy that reflected the use of locations in Germany that were meant to recreate both East and West Germany in the early 1980s. Reflecting both the intertitle of the show, the marketing team created sliders[36] that show locations as they were in contrast to the current day.[37] The opening credits were created by Saskia Marka.[13][38]

Music[edit]

The show is notable for its extensive use of 1980s popular music, including Nena's "99 Luftballons", David Bowie, New Order and Eurythmics among others.[6] Each week's episode has a playlist of music from and/or inspired by the episodes.[39] The score was created by Reinhold Heil, who produced the song "99 Luftballons."[13]

Heil, who often collaborates with Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), said that he was on board the project when he saw the first scene of the show, where two teenagers are being interrogated by the border guards (one of whom was Martin, the main character) for attempting to smuggle two books by Shakespeare and Marx across the border. He said that it was very realistic, which comes from his similar experience when he was caught smuggling music (Stravinsky and Bach).[40]

The theme for the respective English-subtitled North American and UK broadcasts of the series featured Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)" – the English-language version of Schilling's big 1983 European hit "Major Tom (völlig losgelöst)". However, the markedly different introductory sequence for the German broadcast of the series used New Order's 1983 hit "Blue Monday".

Critical response[edit]

Deutschland 83 was met with excellent reviews and received a 2015 Peabody Award. Rotten Tomatoes gives the show a 100% score with an average rating of 8.2/10, sampled from 22 reviews. The consensus states: "An engrossing drama with a fun '80s soundtrack, Deutschland 83 chronicles an intense spy story that brings viewers uncomfortably close to the Iron Curtain."[49] On Metacritic, it holds a score of 79 out of 100, based on reviews from 11 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[50]

The first two episodes of Deutschland 83 premiered at the Berlinale 2015 to very positive reviews.[6][51] In its US television premiere, it also received positive reviews, with mention of its humor and successful depiction of a Cold War thriller, with favorable comparisons to the US show, The Americans.[52][53][54] Many critics called it the best show of the summer of 2015.[55][56][57][58]

Writing in The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum called the show a gorgeous, slinky thriller, praising its recreation of 1983 Germany as "nearly as aesthetically aspirational" as Mad Men. She questioned the plot line's credibility as Martin's character repeatedly landed, Zelig-like, "at the center of world-historical events", but didn't deem this to be a "deal-breaker".[59] In a mixed review, The New York Times compared the series to shows on the network The CW, given that it focuses on a young adult struggling with being "the only glimmer of sanity in a world gone mad".[60]

Clemens Poellinger from the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet awarded the series a 5/6 rating. He praises the "excellence in time-faithful environment and details" but also points out the similarities with the series Weissensee.[61]

Philip Oltermann of The Guardian praised the idea of viewing the Cold War from an East German's perspective, but wrote that the show, instead of taking advantage of its "radical premise", "backtracks into stereotype" by portraying East German officers as "cruel ideologues", and the West German peace movement as "infiltrated not just by Soviet agents, but gay Soviet agents at that".[62]

Awards[edit]

Deutschland 83 has received a number of international and domestic awards including an International Emmy Award,[63] a Peabody Award,[64] Grimme Prize,[65] The Golden Nymph,[66] a Metropolis Award,[67] two C21 Drama Awards,[68] a Golden Camera,[69] the "Special Jury Award" of the Roma Fiction Fest,[70] and Series Mania 2015 for Best World Series.[71]

Broadcast[edit]

The series premiered in the United States on 17 June 2015, on SundanceTV, making it the first German-language series to air on a US network.[5][6]

In Germany, Deutschland 83 began to air after the U.S. run on RTL 26 November 2015.[72] There, the series lost viewers over the course of its run; the series finale had 1.72 million viewers, or approximately half of the series premiere's viewers. As a result, German newspaper Bild called the show "the flop of the year".[62]

It premiered in Ireland on 29 November 2015, on RTÉ2.[73] All episodes were added to Australian streaming service Stan in December 2015.[74] On 14 January 2016, the series was made available for streaming in The Netherlands via Videoland.[75]

It premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on 3 January 2016, with the final two episodes shown back-to-back on 14 February. It has since become the most popular foreign-language drama in the history of British television with an audience of 2.5 million viewers as of January 2016.[76]

The series was aired for Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan by BBC Persian in October 2017.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lusher, Adam (15 May 2015). "Deutschland 83: Scandinavian TV takes a backseat as new show ushers in golden age for German TV dramas". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Frater, Patrick (9 February 2015). "SundanceTV to Screen German-Language Spy Drama 'Deutschland 83′". Variety. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (17 June 2015). "SundanceTV's 'Deutschland 83′ Breaks Cultural Barriers with Cold War Chiller". Variety. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Middleton, Richard (23 June 2015). "Kino Lorber lands Deutschland 83". C21Media. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "FremantleMedia International and SundanceTV Partner to take Deutschland 83 to the US". FremantleMedia. 9 February 2015. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dalton, Stephen (11 February 2015). "'Deutschland 83': Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  7. ^ James Poniewozik. "Review: In Deutschland 83, East Meets West Germany". time.com. TIME Inc. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
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  9. ^ "'Deutschland 83' Renewed for Season 2". The Hollywood Reporter. YahooMoviers.com. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
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  11. ^ "'Deutschland 83' star keen on Berlin Wall follow-up". Reuters. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  12. ^ Naumann, Sebastian (5 December 2017). "In "Deutschland 86" wird die DDR wieder lebendig". BZ-Berlin.de. Retrieved 10 January 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c d Winger, Anna (22 July 2015). "10 Things We Learned While Tweeting with "Deutschland 83" Creator Anna Winger". SundanceTV / Twitter. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "6 Questions with "Deutschland 83" Star Sonja Gerhardt". SundanceTV. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
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External links[edit]