Two police detectives from wildly completely different time durations should be taught to work collectively to resolve a murder in Beforeigners, a riveting mix of science fiction and police procedural from HBO Europe that’s already poised to turn into one of many standout reveals of the yr. Like Netflix’s Ragnarok, it’s a Norwegian TV series that attracts closely on the historical past and mythology of the area. But Beforeigners eschews the supernatural, and the campier teen cleaning soap parts, to ship a considerate, shifting, and typically fairly ribald and humorous story of varied worlds colliding.
(Some spoilers under, however no main reveals.)
Series creators Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjørnstad needed to comply with up their profitable series Lilyhammer with a science fiction story constructed across the concept of refugees arriving from completely different historic durations fairly than completely different international locations, and they mixed the idea with a hard-boiled murder thriller. They’ve cited District 9 and The Leftovers amongst their influences, together with traditional novels like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984.
Set in Oslo, Norway, the pilot opens with detective Lars Haaland (Nicolai Cleve Broch) and his spouse Marie (Agnes Kittelsen) buying a apartment in the center of town’s posh Barcode monetary district. A sudden series of flashing blue lights in the close by ocean, accompanied by an influence outage, is adopted by the equally sudden look of individuals calling for assist in the water. Lars helps fish them out, solely to seek out they hail from one other time.
Five years later, the blue flashes have turn into a standard incidence, with some 13,000 “temporal refugees” (generally known as the titular “beforeigners”) arriving in Norway every year. All hail from three durations: the prehistoric Stone Age, the Viking period, and the 19th century. None can bear in mind something about their passage by time, and as they wrestle to assimilate in this complicated new world, fashionable residents are divided between those that encourage “temporal diversity” and those that exhibit robust anti-refugee sentiments.
Lars is now divorced and hooked on temproxat, a drug administered by way of eyedrops routinely given to the refugees to ease their sensory overload. His posh neighborhood is now a beforeigner ghetto, his ex-wife has remarried a 19th century beforeigner named Gregers (Kyrre Haugen Sydness), and his teenaged daughter Ingrid (Ylva Bjørkås Thedin) is making ready for her russefeiring (a Norwegian custom akin to senior spring break).
Then a feminine physique with Stone Age tattoos washes up on the seashore, exhibiting proof of strangulation. Lars should resolve the case along with his new associate, Alfhildr (Krista Kosonen), the primary Viking beforeigner to affix the police drive straight out of the academy. Their investigation brings them into contact with a intercourse membership operated by a gang of Bohemians, a group of “trans-temporal” folks (fashionable residents who be part of beforeigner communities and undertake the gown and customs of their chosen interval), a Stone Age crime lord named Navn (Oddgeir Thune), anti-technology “neo-Luddites,” and a beforeigner who simply is likely to be the good Norse pagan warrior Thorir Hund (Stig Henrik Hoff), amongst others.
Skodvin and Bjørnstad have created an eminently plausible futuristic world, mixing modern-day Norway with historic parts from the related time durations, full with its personal slang. (HBO has even arrange a useful web site with definitions for essentially the most generally used vocabulary on the series, nevertheless it’s not essential to benefit from the present, since these meanings are simply gleaned from context.) And they’ve peopled this world with a wealthy array of complicated, imperfect characters that seize our hearts and imaginations as they wrestle to stay and work with others from very completely different time durations and cultures.
At the middle are Lars and Alfhildr, a drug addict on the verge of hitting backside, and a former Viking shieldmaiden with some poorly managed rage points. Their partnership begins out a bit rocky, given his mistrust of beforeigners and her bluntly matter-of-fact nature. For occasion, he’s nonplussed when the menstruating Alfhildr stops to gather some moss off a rock and stuffs it down her denims in lieu of sanitary pads (which she will’t afford on account of scholar mortgage money owed). But when he items her a bundle of pads, she is delighted (“It’s like having a soft kitty in your underwear!”) and they slowly turn into buddies. The statuesque Kosonen is Finnish and needed to be taught each Norwegian and Old Norse to play Alfhildr, nevertheless it’s exhausting to think about every other actress in the function.
HBO has a well-deserved popularity for together with quite a lot of intercourse, violence, and nudity in its status dramas. While that factor definitely exists in Beforeigners, it is comparatively tame by cable tv requirements, approaching these parts with the matter-of-factness of Alfhildr negotiating an assignation with harbor cop Jeppe. Sure, Navn is often nude, proudly displaying his genitalia in a blatant present of cave man aggressiveness that he is aware of will successfully cow the extra prudishly inclined. Alfhildr, naturally, is unfazed by the show; in her tradition, it is simply not that surprising. Similarly, Lars is shocked to seek out that his Stone Age neighbor lets his grade faculty son watch Game of Thrones, as a result of who would not like violence and bare girls?
Precisely how the temporal refugees are transported to modern-day Oslo—and why they solely come from three distinct historic durations—is an over-arching thriller that’s not defined in-depth in S1, though the previous couple of episodes provide robust hints that there’s extra to the worldwide phenomenon than mere coincidence. We’re advised that there are numerous “time holes” in the ocean—the series’ model of a wormhole—that transport folks by some sort of dimension the place time strikes infinitely slower than it does in our personal dimensional world. Via a flashback, we be taught that these time holes additionally seem in the Old Norse period, in the “lake of a thousand lights.”
We are additionally advised that point travel is a one-way road, from the previous to the long run, though as soon as once more, in the ultimate episodes there are hints that this may not be the case. And given the heavy emphasis on the legendary battle between Thorir Hund and Olaf the Stout, plus the finale’s remaining twist, it is a truthful guess that the battle of Stiklestad is a major issue that may play a significant function in S2. That’s assuming Beforeigners will get authorised for a second season, after all, however a present this good definitely deserves renewal.
Beforeigners is at present streaming on HBO GO, HBO Now, and associate streaming platforms. In Norwegian with English subtitles. Fair warning: you are going to wish to binge this one.
Listing picture by YouTube/HBO