This summer SundanceTV added Deutschland 83 to it’s incredible slate of television programming. I have yet to be disappointed by a show I’ve watched on that channel. Deutschland 83 is a German show that as the name suggests takes place in 1983 during the Cold War. It centers on an East German soldier who is somewhat forced to become a spy by his aunt. He begins impersonating a West German soldier who is the assistant to one of the heads of the West German army in order to find out if the United States and West Germany are planning a nuclear attack.
It’s an incredibly smart show with lots of compelling spy craft as well as a lot of well drawn characters. They do a really good job of building suspense even around events that you already know the outcome of. In addition to all the intrigue provided by the spy stories there are many personal stories woven into the show, and it’s especially interesting to see how they examine how Martin who starts off very dedicated to the East German cause experiences West Germany and all the freedom and consumerism that exists there that he has never experienced before.
The show is in fact in German with English subtitles, so it’s not something you can just throw on in the background and half pay attention to. I spend the majority of my time watching tv multi-tasking, which since that doesn’t really exist, means I often find myself having no idea what is happening when I’m watching an intricately plotted show like this. I appreciate that I was forced to give my full attention to this show. It certainly deserved it. There’s no official word yet if there will be another season, but I certainly hope there is. If not, I felt like the major stories got tied up enough to leave me satisfied while still leaving enough threads hanging for a second season if it should occur. The show has concluded its run of the first season at this point. I’m not sure where it’s available to watch at this point, but I definitely suggest seeking it out. It was by far my favorite television show of this summer.