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Borgen: Season 2

Release Year:         2011
Studio:         MHz Networks
Format:         Colour; Widescreen; NTSC
Rated:         Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:         4 / 10
Running Time:         581 Minutes
DVD Release Date:         June 25, 2013
Screenwriters:         Tobias Lindholm, Jeppe Gjervig Gram
Directors:         Jannik Johansen, Jesper W. Nielsen, Louise Friedberg, Mikkel Norgaard
Actors:         Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Pilou Asbaek
DVD Features:         SDH subtitles
E:Top Picks Rating:         10/10

MHz Networks Write-up:
In this second season of Denmark’s blockbuster political drama, BORGEN, we continue to follow the country’s first female Prime Minister, Birgitte Nyborg, her cynical spin doctor, Kasper Juul, the ambitious journalist, Katrine Fonsmark and her more seasoned colleague, Hanne Holm. Birgitte has been Denmark’s Prime Minister for two years–years that have taken their toll on her private life. She must now balance her role of PM with that of divorced single mother of two. Politically, she succeeded in earning the respect of her allies and enemies in Parliament, but tensions between parties are mounting. Denmark’s participation in international wars as well as certain central domestic policy issues are fracturing coalitions in Parliament, and forcing Birgitte to make increasingly questionable compromises. The building pressure causes her to doubt whether she can maintain both her position and her integrity. A castle (Borgen) imprisons and excludes; it also protects. BORGEN is the story of a castle that houses Parliament and a self-contained universe with its own laws and unwritten rules.

Jon Ted Wynne Review:
Season 1 of BORGEN was a revelation. Beautifully written, flawlessly acted, it cried out for more. How on earth could Season 2 be as good?

By not tampering with the formula, for one thing. Season 2 plunges the viewer into Birgitte Nyborg’s term of office some time after Season 1 ended. Nothing else is altered. Crucially, the cast is the same. Complex relationships deepen, political intrigue heightens and through it all everything becomes even more interesting. The show is so beautifully plotted that even events such as negotiating peace within a warring African nation are entirely believable. And what’s more, the viewer is made to really care about how these events affect the characters.

At the heart of it all, Sidse Babett Knudsen shines as Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg. She’s wonderful. But any show with a secret weapon like the one Ms Knudsen brings to the table can’t help but succeed, especially when it is used sparingly and tastefully and always for maximum impact…

And what might that secret weapon be? Her smile.

This is not just any smile, folks. Of course it helps that SBK is a beautiful woman (though not in a pin-up, look-at-me kind of way). There is a warmth, a glow to her smile that makes you want to smile back. With all the conflict and turmoil she faces in her professional and personal life, her smile has the effect of an oasis in a desert of challenges.

To harp yet further on this not-to-be-underestimated attribute, SBK’s smile is made just one notch shy of nuclear-equivalent effulgence by one simple, little, totally natural quirk: The Crinkle.

The way SBK’s nose crinkles up when she smiles is nothing short of mesmerizing. It is cute, tantalizing, sexy, vulnerable and fun all rolled into one. This exquisite physical characteristic is in the same league as Clint Eastwood’s squint, Marilyn Monroe’s pout, Burt Lancaster’s smile or any other big star’s magic “something” that captivates an audience. It’s SBK’s unique gift and it is no exaggeration to say that it is BORGEN’s secret weapon, for without a central protagonist who can stay accessible throughout the roller coaster ride that is the world of BORGEN, the show’s credibility would begin to crack as it looks towards its third and final season.

Not so with “The Crinkle” unabashedly on display. It is as refreshing as a cold drink on a hot day. When Sidse crinkles, all is well. And as if to reinforce the effectiveness of this phenomenon, Season 2 ends with an extended, slow motion close-up of SBK smiling, in full crinkle mode. If that isn’t proof of the considered application of BORGEN’s secret weapon, I don’t know what is.

If there is a criticism to be made about the series, it is the recurring use of the F word, which in a show of such intelligence is simply unnecessary, if not tiresome. This lapse in judgement aside, BORGEN is magnificent.

Season 3, please. This show is as good as it gets.

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