29 August 2017
Are you bored with all the Nordic Noir cliches, too? Whether you're young or young at heart, this change of pace will delight you. No stereotypes here - the young women lie on unmade beds, have stupid flat mates and sometimes (gasp!) they even wear the same shirt or jacket for 24 hours ... no constantly revolving designer duds here! Reality, bebe. Did you have a fabulous new dress or designer jeans every week while trying to survive your skint early 20s? Nope, us neither. Just as in real life, the parents and bosses are fragile, the young men are confused and weep, everyone seems rather more real than most Hollywood dramas.
Although the show is aimed at late teens and young adults, the writers demonstrate incredible instinct for universal sentimental bullseyes; the show is so well crafted, almost anyone can relate. You might even feel, for a mercifully brief moment, long forgotten rage while remembering certain incidents from your own Roaring Twenties. That sh#tty flatmate of yours is still single, passive aggressive and leaving hair on the toilet seat somewhere. (But Hei ! You've moved on. You're a wonderful, successful human being. Feel great!)
As per usual ScandiNordic standards, Unge Lovende is professionally crafted with a zero-waste ethic. Great humour, decent acting (not a stick of wood in sight), perfect lighting that captures those amazing midnight sun summer nights, all combine to create episodes that guarantee no dull moments or a sudden need to put the kettle on.
The dialogue frames general kidult issues that could be set (or remade) in any modern city, but the show retains its distinctive Norwegian-ness in every episode. It also tackles the tough issues like mental illness as a general thread, not as a one off 'problem solved' matter. A commendable and supremely professional approach. Readers may be interested to learn that the show was nominated in Norway for seven Gold Award prizes and won the award for best screenplay for TV drama.
But the real hidden gem in Unge Lovende, is the spectacular selection of modern Scandi music, scattered like little diamonds, throughout each episode.
For several months now we've been listening to Chris Lie (Lee) an RnB/ hip hop artist who has generated some incredibly sexy tunes and amazing lyrics that blaze with gentle intensity. The eminently danceable "Love Can't Save Us" might be one of the finest songs we've heard in many years with its multi faceted layering. "Armour" is perfect background for a romantic evening in.
Why has the world not discovered this chap yet? All three of his albums are fantastic. If you're thinking "I'm a grown up now, mortgage and kids, Motown, hip hop and dance were never my thing" - this 34 year old Norwegian blonde may change your tune, and become the refreshing new addition who modernises your phone's music list. After two months of listening to his "Epilogues" album, we've concluded it's one of the finest works we've heard in decades. Do yourself a favour, check him out. Read our review here.
We absolutely loved Unge Lovende/ Young and Promising and look forward to your thoughts in the comments. Links also listed below. It's been a long time since we encountered a modern youth drama series of fantastic quality. But that's never a surprise with ScandiNordic television; that region has always offered superior quality and production values.
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Read our music review of Chris Lie (Lee) here.
Watch Young and Promising on NRK or in Australia on SBS On Demand or on NRK
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