Sundance's Deutschland83 is the FIRST EVER series to be aired in the United States in German! That alone gives it enough credibility to watch. Conceived and written by Anna Winger along with her husband Jeorg, this amazing creation is truly a feast for the audience.
Set in the year 1983, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Deutschland83 follows the fictional character Martin, or Mortitz (code name Kolibri which means hummingbird in English) played by a fresh faced, pink cheeked Jonas Nay, complete with endearing scar above his left eye. He lives in East Germany, and with a little cold war pressure he agrees to be a spy for the Soviet government and is sent into West Germany undercover. His mother's health condition requires a transplant and he is promised that if he complies, she will be taken care of, the implication being, if he does not, perhaps even more ominous things may happen (he's already had a finger broken as a 'motivation' to prove his loyalty to the cause).
In the course of Martin's induction into the army (we never see bootcamp, but he's frequently in uniform) Martin finds himself planting bugs, getting beat up, and almost killed by a tough East German woman spy, and sleeping with various women, including his West German boss's secretary, and his East German superior's daughter--if only that was all. But alas, from back home in the Soviet Bloc there is sweet Annette, who finds herself pregnant with Martin's child. Sweet little Annette is also working for the East German government, and uncovers a trove of forbidden books in Martin's mother's basement.
In order to save the unfolding of the plot for you, and the center of the storm, into which Martin/Moritz/Kolibri flies at the climax of the series, I will stop here. Suffice it to say, this series has everything -- original footage of ICBM weaponry being poised to shoot, as well as clips from speeches by Eastern and Western world leaders--and on top of that, hearing the original language beats anything I've seen out of the BBC that is German-related.
If you happen to have been a teenager or young adult in the eighties, which I was, a further delight awaits you as you see the fashion of the eighties in all of it's (horrible) glory. And the soundtrack!!! If Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and Queen aren't enough, there are plenty of German artists, such as Metropol, Nena, Ideal to name a few, to make this series a fresh re-thinking of the era before 1989, and a nostalgic trip down memory lane at the same time. I watched it with a young German friend and she added her stamp of approval.
You can watch episodes from Season 1 at hulu or purchase at amazon. Avid viewers like myself are awaiting expectantly for news of the next season, but so far, we have no news to report. Please, please, Ms. Winger! We want more!!