Admittedly, I’m slightly late to the party here. If you haven’t tuned in for Deutschland 83 yet, so are you. But there is a quick solution: watch it. Usually, I approach anything remotely related to the German language under the guise of it being educational. (And who is to argue that making Spezi at home isn’t good for you?) And Deutschland 83 certainly is: filmed in Germany in German with German actors. But it’s also just unapologetically entertaining.
Get to Know Deutschland 83
Set in a divided Germany in 1983 (no surprise there), Deutschland 83 follows a young East German soldier. Portrayed fantastically by Jonas Nay, Martin is selected to impersonate Moritz, a West German soldier. He goes undercover as a spy. As Moritz, he works for a general. As Martin, he is to help protect the DDR from potential Cold War fall-out as Washington, D.C. and Berlin discuss nuclear arms. This includes extracting information in difficult situations and circumstances.
As if that isn’t enough, Martin’s leaves people behind in the East that he cares about. He has an ill mother who needs a kidney transplant and a girlfriend. Somewhat conveniently his aunt (portrayed by Maria Schrader, notably of the film Aimée & Jaguar) is his DDR government contact. Meanwhile, in his “new” life in the West, his soldier roommate (portrayed by Ludwig Trepte) is undergoing a sort of political awakening for peace despite being the son of Martin’s boss.
The show is the creation of husband and wife team of Anna Winger and Joerg Winger. It’s also a collaboration between United States’ Sundance TV and Germany’s RTL. Deutschland 83 is not only truly international, but it’s also something special. The show marks the first television show being broadcast on American television in German. The first season’s eight episodes aired in the US over the summer of 2015. Channel 4 premiered it in the UK in January 2016.
I’m not the only one raving about Deutschland 83. It has received positive reviews in the United States. While the show apparently got off to a slow start on German television they must have come around. Nay won the award for best actor as the German Television Awards (Deutsche Fernsehenpreis) last week.
Watch Deutschland 83
You can get up to speed on the first season of Deutschland 83 stream it now on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and all the other usual suspects. A second season of the show is now out as Deutschland 86!
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