WEIRDLY WATCHABLE

BEFOREIGNERS - SBS ON DEMAND (in Australia)

So, you can't work out what to watch together on TV. What's wrong with both of you? You've got Netflix, Stan, Foxtel etc etc and it's still a battle to find something good for both your souls as you sit in front of the telly with a glass of something nice.

Well, my advice, if you're living in Oz anyway, is try SBS On Demand. It's free, easy to access and, well, it's full of all types of weird shit that will keep you (and importantly your partner if you have one) amused for endless hours.

I know, most of their shows are in languages other than English and you need to be able to read subtitles. But even this is not such a bad thing if your household is as noisy as mine can be.

Anyway, let's cut to the chase ... Beforeigners, a Norwegian production, is worth a look if you're after a show that's both dramatic, quirky and humorous. Yep, it is mostly in Norwegian, but to me that language appears to take forever to explain short concepts so you don't need to be a speed reader to keep up (I hope I haven't insulted any Scandinavians here).

Yes, its premise is bloody weird - people from past historic periods keep turning up in the waters of Oslo harbour alive and well. They come from three historic periods - the stone age, the Viking era and the 19th Century. The time refugees 'settle' into modern day life facing all the cultural issues you could imagine they would. Into this mix comes former Viking shield maiden Alfhildr Enginnsdottir on her first day as an Oslo cop. With her troubled cop partner Lars Haaland they start an investigation into the death of a time refugee.

The investigation continues (no plot spoilers here!) in a world with curiously familiar issues to those facing current European society in regards to large refugee communities trying to anchor themselves in a new life amid poverty, prejudice and criminality.

Of course, the challenges faced by time refugees are a little different - the Stone Age migrants find it difficult to accept the concept of clothing; the Vikings have long-standing (very long standing) violence issues; and the 19th Century folks well, their social mores are quite conservative to say the least. But, it's easy to see the parallels that are being drawn.

Beforeigners can be very funny. A scene with a naked executive of a company employing Stone Age migrants (Cro-Magnon Security) is as hilarious as it is uncomfortable.

It is also intriguing (in the traditional Scandi-noir crime shown fashion), dark (as before) and compelling. The time travel scenes back to the migrants' places of origin add to the rewarding complexity of the show.

So, if you haven't already done it, download the free SBS On Demand app and journey to a very weird-ass Oslo. It's well worth the visit.



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