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TV Review: SundanceTV’s ‘Deutschland 83’

Deutschland 83, a German series with English subtitles, is an eight-part spy thriller set in divided Germany in 1983. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“Like all great spy stories, Deutschland 83 is really about the uncovering of selves, not secrets. By raising the political and emotional stakes to Defcon 1, the series makes youth feel as explosive as an H-bomb. The threat of mutually assured destruction has never been so much fun.”

Andy Greenwald, Grantland

“Television has featured a fair amount of spying lately, and a fair amount of 1980s nostalgia, too. But Deutschland 83, an espionage series from Germany set in that wretched decade, is fresh and enjoyable nonetheless, distinguishing itself with a young protagonist and a losers’-history perspective.”

Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

“Like The Americans, Deutschland 83 (premieres June 17 on SundanceTV) transports us to the other side of the Cold War rivalry, but this time much closer to the Iron Curtain, in East Germany. It’s a trip worth taking.”

James Poniewozik, Time

“The performances are solid in any language. [...] Nothing gets lost in translation in Deutschland 83, especially the timeless human drama.”

David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

“And wouldn’t you know, it works. Slated for an eight-episode season, Deutschland 83 is a stylish take on the spy genre that carefully balances its humor with high stakes, and with Nay as an anchor, promises that this is a spy caper worth a few summer weeks.”

Genevieve Valentine,A.V. Club

“What Deutschland 83 does portray convincingly is the material poverty, existential dread and intellectual stagnation of a zoned Germany. And the idea that very few idealists are at work, outside of Aunt Lenora. And she’s already thrown her nephew to the wolves.”

John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

Deutschland 83 can be a little clunky at times, and most of it is subtitled. Nevertheless, it’s a taut thriller with some cool ’80s spy moments — near-miss escapes with sexual elements.”

Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News

“And it’s also selling the show short, because Deutschland 83 is not just subtitled — it’s a promising spy show. If the European origin adds anything, it’s a you-are-there edge over, say, The Americans on FX.”

Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post