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This week on television...

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Reluctant as I am to admit it, I've spent a great deal of the past couple of months glued to the television. What with the short days and the relentless gloom of the background news this has seemed by far the most comforting thing to do, especially now that Digiturk makes it possible even for a GE[micro]reme troglodyte to watch the best television from all around the world.

It started with the most head-in-the-sand type of escapism as I watched the entire run of "Doc Martin," a BBC comedy series featuring the jug-eared Martin Clunes as a grumpy doctor working in the fictional fishing village of Portwenn (actually Port Isc in Cornwall). The odd thing was, though, that even while I was watching a story set in the UK, I was actually thinking about GE[micro]reme and about how so much of what I think of as unique to the village is in fact common to small communities everywhere.

The plumber abandoning plumbing in favor of opening a restaurant for the tourists? Check.

The way in which a village dependent on tourism still somehow manages to hang onto a private life that transcends the visitors? Check.

The virtual obligation to invite everyone, even those you don't much care for, to a wedding? Check.

The way in which everyone has to rub along with everyone else regardless of age, social class and general weirdness? Check.

Of course there were differences, too. The Portwenn story, for example, never featured a plotline centered on plans to foist some monstrosity of a concrete eyesore on a universally recognized beauty spot. Still, it was entertaining to recognize the similarities despite the geographical difference.

As January proceeded, so my despondency thickened, which is when I started to watch "The Killing," the strung-out Danish thriller that is about to be remade for Turkish audiences as "EuldE-rme." Much has been written about the soft power generated by Turkey's exported television programs, and certainly it struck me that I'd thought a great deal more about Danish life and culture since becoming hooked on "The Killing." Anyway, it will be interesting to see what a Turkish producer will do about the woolly sweaters made in the Faroe Islands that were the hallmark of Sarah Lund, the enigmatic female lead (always assuming that the Turkish remake doesn't drop her in favor of a man, of course).

But in the end it was "Borgen" that set me thinking the most. Another Danish export, this is a series whose success with foreign audiences has confounded everyone. Not only does it revolve around Danish politics, but it's also subtitled, two great big fat no-nos surely. Which just goes to show that if a story is strong enough and the acting first class almost any program can carve out an audience for itself.

The third series of "Borgen" is running now and reveals ex-female Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg setting out on the laborious process of starting a new political party from scratch after losing an election and failing to persuade her old party to take her back. It's a story of democracy in action with all its sharp edges and uneasy compromises, and as I watched it I wondered when we could expect to see a Turkish remake of this one, too. Right now, never would probably be too soon, I fear.

PAT YALE (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Feb 6, 2014
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