8 DAYS ***

Directors Michael Krummenacher, Stefan Ruzowitzky.

Cast Christiane Paul, Mark Waschke, Lena Klenke, Luisa-Céline Gaffron, Fabian Hinrichs, Nora von Waldstätten, Devid Striesow, Murathan Muslu, Henry Hübchen. Ger, 480 mins.15.


Released on DVD and digital download 6 January 2020.


“A family do whatever they have to do to survive when the world spins out of control”.


One of the good things to come out of this so-called golden age of television as it's described is the willingness of television channels to broadcast series from around the world in their original language and audiences to watch them.  It is not so many years ago that 8 DAYS would have never seen the light of day on UK tele.  And it has to be a good thing that it does.


A continent killing asteroid is heading for Earth. Efforts to divert it with nuclear weapons have failed, and it is on target to strike the west coast of France in just eight days wiping out mainland Europe and beyond.


This new German-language Sky original production from Sky Deutschland aired on Sky Atlantic over Christmas with eight episodes, one for each of the days left before life as most of Europe knows it ends.


Sound familiar, well it is. The storyline has been done many times and many ways before. What's unusual about 8 DAYS is that usually the asteroid is heading for some big US city and the country goes out all guns blazing to fix everything at the last moment ahead of the inevitable happy ending. This time there is no happy ending, and this is not a plot spoiler. It's flagged from the very beginning, and it's the European continent that's in harm's way.


This ambitious character, as opposed to special effects-driven drama, focuses on The Steiner family from Berlin and their efforts to survive as the world goes to hell in a handbag around them playing out over eight episodes, one each for the days left before impact.


One branch puts their faith in people traffickers, another, an up and coming politician is hell bend on getting himself and his pregnant wife on one of the last flights out of the country to the USA. And then there is the family friend, who decides to hell with it, and sets out to go out in a blaze of sex and booze.


8 DAYS doesn't do anything widely original.  All the familiar plot-lines that you would expect are there.  But what it does do, which is a luxury long-form TV has over other mediums of storytelling, is take the time to convincingly explore the motivation and demons of each character and the consequences of their actions.


Ian Rattray.


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