Katla: Season 1, Full Season
June 29, 2021 4:38 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Netflix's first Icelandic original series is an eerie drama set in an isolated town on the outskirts of an erupting subglacial volcano. It begins with the discovery of a mysterious ash-covered woman walking on the glacier. As more people emerge and their histories are revealed, the atmosphere descends into quiet horror with a near monochromatic backdrop of ice and ash-dusted Icelandic scenery.
posted by antinomia (6 comments total)
I'm only halfway through this series, but I'm finding it fascinating (so please put a spoiler note if you discuss the ending). It reminds me of the German series Dark, both for mood and for the puzzle-box structure. The very lived-in interiors are intriguing, and I have so many questions about volcanoes now and about the Icelandic culture around them.


It certainly has shades of Pet Cemetary, but so far it feels like it wants to say something deeper about grief and loss.
posted by antinomia at 4:39 AM on June 29, 2021

In the movie pitch tradition, I'd describe it as "Pet Cemetery crossed with The Thing meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with a touch of Orphan Black but more art-house and trilingual".

The lived-in quality of the ash filled town makes it feel so real - everything is covered in so many layers and everyone has adapted to dealing with the mess that is causes. Plus there is a certain "it's all going to be abandoned eventually" fatalism that leads to interesting arrangements like the "car sharing" -- if the keys are in the car, then it is ok to use -- and the frequent "borrowing" from the shuttered stores. The remote location also answers the "why don't they just call someone on the cell phone?" question that too often derails modern films. And it is refreshing to see a post-apocalypse scenario that is not nuclear war / climate change / generic zombies, in a way that combines the gradual decay of the town with the incredible scenery of Iceland.

Other than the young child, most of the replicas so far seem like they just want to get along with the people from their remembered lives. I hope I would be as calm as Grima and enjoy discussing the nature of consciousness and originality with my replicated-self as well as taking the time to ponder reality and purpose with my sibling's clone on the beach. (Disclaimer: I haven't watched the finale yet, so maybe there is a twist and they all end up as evil as the demonic boy...)
posted by autopilot at 10:43 AM on June 29, 2021

I’m excited to watch it, but I have no idea when that will be.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:53 PM on June 29, 2021

Watched the finale last night and have a few thoughts:

1. *W*T*F* Grima. You two could have had so much fun together.
2. Why didn't the demon child disappear when their purpose was over?
3. The sequel hook felt out of character for the rest of the show.
4. The technobabble explanation also seemed unnecessary.

I'm also disappointed that no one sang Ja Ja Ding Dong or complained that "The Elves have gone too far!".
posted by autopilot at 1:23 AM on June 30, 2021

That was one of the best series I've seen in a long time. It's going to be hard to find anything to follow it with.

IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THIS SHOW, DON'T READ ANYTHING ABOUT IT, JUST GET STARTED AND YOU WON'T REGRET IT. I saw the English version and the dubbing felt extremely natural, so I don't think you'd need the Icelandic version with subtitles. It's best not to binge-watch this one; give each episode at least a day to sit with you.

An awful lot of the story only works because nobody talks to each other about what's going on. (Darri the scientist is a good example, but I'm really thinking of the contorted plot involving Kyartan and Grima(s).) But I wasn't as bothered by that as I would be in an American show -- it's clear that the culture of Vik (maybe of Iceland?) is naturally taciturn beyond belief.

And I felt so sorry for poor Awsa. Her sister just glares and rages at her, her father isn't communicating (and she catches him sleeping with the Swedish girl again), and when she asks to take shelter in the hospital, the doctor kicks her out into the ash storm. Everybody wants something from her that she can't give them.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:11 PM on July 16, 2021

I just started watching this (two eps so far) and OMG so good! It reminds me quite a bit of Fortitude, hope it doesn't jump any sharks.
posted by Coaticass at 1:02 AM on January 6, 2022

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