Thursday, December 17, 2020

1994 Review: A Simmering Historical Political Drama

Release date: December 17, 2020
Running time: 8 45 minute episodes
Starring: Stefano Accorsi, Guido Caprino and Miriam Leone
Created By: Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo

The third and last installment of the most dramatic years of Italy's recent history,  In 1994the traditional political landscape and players have disappeared, making way for new parties, like Berlusconi's Forza Italia.  Leo finds himself at a crossroads: he can either join the "Cavaliere's" new team in a top-notch power position or change sides once again.  And then there's Veronica, former TV starlet turned congresswoman, as she faces the opportunity to change her life forever from the glossy but shallow "good life" to coming to her own, with the help of her male alter ego Leo.  But she also has to contend with Pietro's unchanging ways of personal jealousy and political scheming. 

1994 is a historical drama and does a great job evoking that time in politics.  The first episode takes place during a debate, and the debate is portrayed in an old television style with washed out colors and some scan lines.  It is a subtle touch, but one that perfectly transports you back to the time.  And the character's outfits, sets, and everything about the series feels time appropriate.  But it is not the setting that will keep you glued to this series; like any good political drama there are a ton of players and interests to keep track of.  And those players are remarkably cast, with the main characters seamlessly transforming into charming and conniving politicians.  

But what is so interesting about this series is that it shows the good and bad of Italian politics.  It has intrigue, double crossing, honest intentions, and corruption.  Everything you would think occurs in Italian politics is portrayed, but it is thankfully not simply about muck and dirty politics.  There are some episodes where genuine causes are pursued and people do what is right.  And the parallels between this era of Italian politics and American politics are very interesting to see.  Although the show doesn't focus on this, it was interesting to see both the perfect public persona of these politicians and all the dirty activities that happen behind the scenes.  And the use of the media to influence the vote and political positions was a familiar sight.  But what will keep you drawn to this series are the impressive and interesting characters and the intrigue of the story.

1994 highlights an explosive and dramatic year in Italian politics, with interesting characters, an engaging story, and an impressive commitment to the time period.

Watch it.

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