Any series that uses Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling for the opening can’t be bad at all!
Taking place during the 1980s chapter of the Cold War, Deutschland 83 (‘Deutschland’ is German for ‘Germany’, ‘83’ for 1983) is about a young East Germany soldier that went from confiscating illegal literature to becoming a spy in the offices of high-ranking West German military personnel so he can gather information on what was going on with the nuclear weaponry. Naturally, anything involving nuclear warfare quickly gets complicated, on both sides of the Berlin Wall, on a military level as well as on a personal level.
The series was wonderfully crafted. There was no glaring stand outs of anything that didn’t belong there, everything from the wardrobe, to the furnishings, to the music (oh, that sweet, sweet music!) was spot-on. There are well-funded movies that mess this up (*coughs* Dallas Buyers Club *coughs*). But let’s be realistic here, there will be anachronisms. As the series gets airtime in Germany (it aired first in the U.S. market), they’ll begin to pop and be pointed out. A greater learning experience, in my eyes.
Yes, there will be the inevitable comparison to The Americans, but this series has another thing going for it: It’s German. This must certainly help the period portrayal of both sides of The Berlin Wall as well as a fresh perspective to the Cold War that isn’t North American, not to mention a fresh portrayal of life in Germany in the 1980s; things that I was curious about when the series was first announced on Sundance TV. Oh, and it’s in German, the first series to be aired that way on North-American television. Get used to reading subtitles.
While I found that the ending had a bitter-sweet (more on the bitter side, IMO) open-ish ending, I still want more of it. Let’s hope that the rumors of two more seasons (said to be called Deutschland 86 and Deutschland 89) become real.