Occupied: Okkupert - Season 1
December 25, 2016 4:04 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

A decision to shut off Norway's oil/gas production by the ruling environmental party sets off a slow-motion invasion and occupation of Norway by Russia, condoned by the EU and unopposed by the U.S. A show so . . . plausible the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in protest.

After seeing this show referenced repeatedly on my Twitter feed the past few days, I finally got a chance to binge watch all ten episodes on Netflix and it was as good as its reviews. Imagine a slow-motion Red Dawn, but told competently, with a plausible story, better acting and way (way) less cheese. My favorite bits were all the callbacks to Norway's history during WWII (I have a bit of sympathy for Vidkun Quisling now, because of this show, which is not a place I ever expected to go). All the characters have believable motivations and even the Russians are painted with shades of gray. The Russian ambassador was perhaps my favorite character - she gaslights like a pro ("stop making us invade you"), but she believes her own BS so convincingly she manages to persuade our hero(?), the bewildered police bodyguard Hans Martin, and the feckless PM that she really is trying to avoid "an outbreak of hostilities". I do wonder who will end up being the Quisling of this story though - thought it would be the PM, but by the end of Season 1, I think it's going to be poor Hans Martin. Also I love this show's color palette so much, there are no words. For fans of Norway, good political drama, modern design, and actors switching seamlessly among three+ languages.
posted by longdaysjourney (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I watched this a while back on a different service and also really enjoyed it. It was a really convincing and thought-provoking examination of collaboration, betrayal, pragmatism and power from many different viewpoints, as well as a riveting fictional portrayal of the kind of 'hybrid war' we saw in Ukraine in 2014, where nothing is ever declared or in the open.

My only wish was that they could have come up a more convincing Macguffin - the whole 'Norway invents clean power but the Russians decide they want to keep it dirty' thing just tipped the whole thing over into daft rather than completely, scarily plausible.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:11 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Agreed, although I think the show does it's best to get around this by having the EU's energy needs and their subsequent decision to back the Russian takeover, be one of the main reasons behind the occupation. (It wasn't quite clear to me whether Jasper's decision to cut off Norway's oil/gas production was made when the thorium reactors were generating enough power to replace Norway's exports, or only when they were generating enough power to replace Norway's own needs. I assume the latter.)

I never thought the Russians actually needed Norway's oil/gas, they just wanted an excuse to invade. The setup is a stretch, but it seems a little more real given all the pro-Russian political movements in Europe nowadays and all of Trump's whining about NATO.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:21 PM on December 25, 2016

It wasn't quite clear to me whether Jasper's decision to cut off Norway's oil/gas production was made when the thorium reactors were generating enough power to replace Norway's exports, or only when they were generating enough power to replace Norway's own needs.

IIRC the first episode is based around the commissioning of Norway's first thorium reactor, so it hadn't gone over to thorium completely and certainly hadn't got enough to meet the rest of Europe/Russia's needs. Its worth noting that Norway gets 99% of its electricity from hydro so would not need to replace that with thorium reactors, they would need to figure out how to meet their transport and heating needs; it may be that transport is supposed to be electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles but this is not made clear. They have other options for heating, including biomass and electrical heating. The EU being fairly supportive of the Russian position is also an interesting one, while we hear a lot IRL about western Europe being dependent on Russia for gas, many countries are also dependent on Norway. This BG page suggests Norway provides about 21% of all EU gas consumption, about 60% of what Russia contributes to EU pipeline supply, but this figure is much higher for Western Europe. Since much of western Europe is dependent on gas for domestic heating and for electrical generation if Norway dropped production without a fair amount of notice it would have huge political ramifications.

Excuse my geeking out, I also enjoyed the show, getting through the season in about a week and very much looking forward to a second season. I thought they did well with the gradual realisation of the scope of the problem on the part of the Norwegians and the gradual loss of rights, impacts on society. The twist with the journalist was quite surprising and well done. Will be interested to see where they go with it next.
posted by biffa at 9:44 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

How did Ambassador Romney and his boyfriend get their hands on liquid nicotine? "They weren't trying to kill you; they were just trying to get you out of the ambassador's residence." It's the only plot point that seemed out of place.
posted by emelenjr at 5:19 PM on December 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hah! I guess the usual (for TV) diplomat/CIA crossover shenanigans. Langley just sends it over via pouch.

I definitely enjoyed the first season, even if certain conceits stretch believably (like the very small number of people who seem to be directly involved in this national crisis).
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:22 PM on December 28, 2016

Fantastic show! As others have noted above, I appreciated the ambiguity of the characters. No absolute villains or heroes. Everyone has competing priorities and sympathies, even the Russian ambassador, Sidorova. All I want for 2017 are new seasons of this and "Deutschland '83."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:09 PM on December 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I watched this back in October and really loved it. Thoughtful and nuanced, with well written characters who think and act realistically. When I watched it - before the election proper - I thought the "US Pulls out of NATO" was just as ridiculous a premise as when it was used in Red Dawn, but in a post-Trump world who even knows?

The thorium was a pretty silly MacGuffin, but I was glad to see it receded into the background for most of the show.

Seriously, though, the security on the Norwegian Prime Minister is just appalling.
posted by absalom at 1:21 PM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

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