The Queen’s Gambit

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Easily the most satisfying show that I have watched in 2020 (with an accompanying soundtrack that makes it all the more enjoyable).

The last time I felt this satisfied watching a miniseries?

The Night Manager.

Assuming that you are, for the most part, missing (International) travel as I am, I would like to highlight shows that might provide a virtual holiday, based on my fairly extensive binge watching these past few months, abandoning the constraints of moderation and reasonableness. 😏

I have been especially fascinated by Scandinavian series, broadly taken by me to also include Iceland and Finland, beyond the accepted usage that covers (the Kingdoms of) Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Sweden: When We Die, Young Wallander 

Norway: Occupied

Finland: Dead Wind

Iceland: Valhalla Murders

Expanding a bit:

Netherlands: Van der Valk, Undercover

Belgium: Rough Justice

Of course, I could not resist virtually revisiting Italy, easily the most enjoyable of our vacations (Sorrento, Lake Como, Portofino…), followed by Spain, where we had our honeymoon (Barcelona), and then one of most luxurious holidays in Tenerife (where we overlapped with a very pregnant Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and their family) and, of course, France.

Italy: The Trial

Spain: Bitter Daisies, Under Suspicion

France: The Paris Murders

What about UK? There are way too many good memories over the years (staying in Notting Hill while visiting the first SmartOps customer GSK, watching Shakespeare at The Globe, 50thAnniversary of Bond at Barbican, enjoying fine whiskey in the lobby of Diageo, and earlier this year, visiting Cambridge and UCL). Indeed, the contrast between Cambridge and Canary Wharf (location of UCL Business School) is particularly noteworthy.

It was a delight when I saw this (pretty decent) show (made by Sky Italy, but set in London) that was filmed in the same building as where the UCL Business School is: 


Two other shows set in the UK that I enjoyed:

  Hidden (Welsh), Unforgotten.

If you have not seen these yet (from previous years), I would recommend them:

Deep State, Bodyguard, Line of Duty.

A particularly innovative setting for a series (surprising that it can hold audience attention so well), and that has been set (separately) in UK, Spain, France and Germany:


Moving to an entirely different part of the world, to a different hemisphere, to Australia:

Wanted, Secret City, Deep Waters.

What about an intense series set in the US?


What was the most intense series that I have watched in the past year? An impressive performance by Sacha Baron Cohen:

Israel: The Spy.


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    Fauda Palestine

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