*Prisoners of War*

This is the Israeli-TV source for the better-known U.S. show HomelandHomeland seems like and indeed is a completely implausible plot line, and that aside about a third of the episodes are downright awful.  It is saved by having one of the most incandescent romances in screen history, namely between Carrie and Brody, a passion which burns so brightly yet collapses immediately into the banal once any hint of peaceful calm is introduced, thereby necessitating certain plot twists which close out season three.

Prisoners of War [Hatufim] avoids these problems and takes away the romantic gloss.  The movie shows torture scenes repeatedly, and even if not with full realism it does not feel like typical Hollywood treatment.  There is more than one captive and the pace is slower and more contemplative.  Parents play a larger role in this story.  The “Carrie figure” has a smaller and less narcissistic profile.  The “Sol figure” remains Jewish.  I have heard Israelis object to what you might call an…unsentimental…portrait of the Israeli state in the series.  And “the first season of Hatufim was Israel’s highest-rated TV drama of all time.”

I recommend this show for most followers of intelligent TV.  You can watch on Hulu or order the discs, season two is on its way in the post from Israel.  The creator, Gideon Raff, plans to produce a season three as well.  Here is a NYT review of the Israeli series.  Here is a Guardian review.  Here is The New Yorker.  Here is a brief trailer.


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