Pros: original idea; casting; gradually revealing line of investigation Cons: there is not enough elaboration of details regarding the lives of those who arrived from the past “Aliens from the Past” / Fremvandrerne / Beforeigners
Genre fantasy, drama, detective
Creators Anna Bjornstad, Eilif Skodvin
Cast: Nikolai Kleve Brosch (Lars), Krista Kosonen (Alfildra), Augusta Eva Erlendsdouttir (Urd), Elli Harboa (Ada), Stig Henrik Hoff (Tommy/Thorir Hund), Ingunn Eyen (Chief of Police), Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Kalv ), Tobias Santelman (Olaf), etc.
HBO Nordic channel
Year of release 2019
The series takes place in modern Oslo. Not far from the embankment, bright flashes of light are noticed, after which people appear in the water. This is a completely unexpected and new worldwide phenomenon, as a result of which people from the Stone Age, from the Viking Age, and also from the 19th century are beginning to arrive.
Several years pass, and no one manages to figure out the reason for the mass migration. Over time, centers for alien adaptation have appeared in the city. Many of them know their way around society well, while maintaining old customs that are not always compatible with current trends. The authorities and residents of Oslo have to accept new realities. In addition to all this, the police have a lot of work to do – one of the latest cases is the case of a drowned woman, who is identified as a migrant from the past. The investigation of this case is entrusted to local investigator Lars, and Alfildra, a girl from the Viking era, is assigned as his partner. She became the first police officer with experience of living in the past. Together they find evidence that points to premeditated murder, as well as a larger conspiracy.
The series was created by Anna Bjornstad and Eilif Skodvin – they both wrote the script for the multi-part crime drama Lilyhammer, which can be watched on Netflix. The showrunners worked on the new Fremvandrerne project for several years, involving not only a team of professional costume designers, but also linguists. They needed to show people from three different historical periods, so they developed specific accents for the characters. They used archaisms of Norse, elements of Old Norse, and even came up with words that reflected the dialogue of people from the Stone Age.
We are unlikely to be able to appreciate the variety of speech by ear, but there is still a lot of interesting things in the series. The whole idea of migrants from the past is clearly an allegory that reveals the problems associated with the appearance of refugees in Europe. It is also ironic that Fremvandrerne takes place in Norway, where society is very tolerant of any manifestations of individuality and is aimed at protecting human rights.
Just think – on the immaculate streets of Oslo, where objects of art and modern architecture are located, hay wagons now pass by. Savages run past with bags from the supermarket, men in top hats smoke a pipe and hold smartphones, and Vikings on bicycles deliver food. Everything that previously might have seemed crazy becomes the usual order of things.
There are many witty moments in the series that hint at certain situations from the modern world. With all this, Fremvandrerne is not a comedy at all; its main theme is a murder investigation. The more details of the incident are revealed, the clearer the circumstances become that the police were not aware of, and one criminal case at some point acquires large proportions. The intrigue remains in each of the six episodes, where there is also room for personal twists and turns in the lives of the central characters.
The main Viking heroine Alfildra is played by Finnish actress Krista Kosonen (starred in the film Blade Runner 2049). She manages to combine the confident rudeness of a warrior with a direct manner of perceiving everything new that she encounters in the course of her duty. Kosonen’s character quickly adapts to modern life, but she is haunted by memories of the past, shown in short flashbacks in the series.
Another hero is investigator Lars, played by Norwegian actor Nikolai Kleve Brosh. He looks perpetually tired and burdened with his own addictions. At the same time, it is Lars who turns out to be one of the most conscientious police officers. With the help of his character, the scriptwriters show different situations with migrants, which prove that any preconceived judgment can be wrong.
Some Scandinavian series are off-putting due to their leisurely pace and gloomy atmosphere. The same cannot be said about Fremvandrerne – it is eventful and imbued with social humor.
Over the course of six episodes, the story develops rapidly and manages to arouse interest in unsolved questions (they are promised to be shown in the second season). When watching, sometimes you miss the Hollywood scale of filming and, perhaps, a more logical elaboration of details concerning the lives of migrants from the past. But overall the series is definitely worth watching.
a successful Norwegian series with no dull or drawn-out episodes. Fremvandrerne combines fantasy, detective, drama and apt satire.