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This ain’t your father’s Freud, on the contrary, this Freud could best be compared with a Viennese Sherlock Holmes. So don’t expect Netflix’s latest offering to be a biography of the great Sigmund Freud. Nope. Sherlock Holmes, with, I might add, many of the fictional detective’s vices and proclivities. This could be one of the reasons why some viewers might have a hard time letting go of what they know about Uncle Sigmund and accept this cocaine-fueled fictional version.
‘Freud’ is a German-language television series that would feel foreign to any viewer: those that understand German to those that choose to watch its dubbed version and everyone in the middle. It feels foreign in a triumphant manner, making a strong case for the diversification of storytelling that has been Netflix’s core mission with its international offerings.
Set in Vienna, circa 1886, the young Sigmund Freud is still a long way from being a globally revered national figure. His peculiar concept of the unconscious and his use of hypnosis draws ridicule and sees him marginalized by the medical establishment.
Season 1 of Freud has eight 1-hour episodes, so you can watch it relatively fast, should you so choose. Personally, I found it intriguing from the very first episode. Particularly because it reminded me of some other series, I’ve enjoyed in the past like The Alienist and Penny Dreadful.
Let me be clear, however, Freud does not feature werewolves, screeching vampires, or the Frankenstein monster, although, come to think of it, some of the doctors in Freud can seem a bit like Doctor Frankenstein, only in much more realistic and historical ways.
Comparing Freud to Penny Dreadful is simply to explain the feel and vibe of this new series. In particular, the character Fleur Salomé, who reminded me of Eva Green as Vanessa Ives.
In terms of the title character, Sigmund Freud, the comparison to The Alienist is obvious. However, while I expected Freud to feature an equally unlikeable character, he seems a lot more sympathetic.
His professional reputation is at stake, as is his engagement to his beloved Martha. He finds distraction by accompanying his friend Arthur Schnitzler to cocaine-fueled nights with Vienna’s high society.
When this same society is shaken by a series of mysterious murders, Freud enlists the aid of fragile medium Fleur and traumatized war veteran and policeman Alfred Kiss in his bid to expose the masterminds behind the crimes, which are causing a stir – even in the upper echelons of political circles.
I hate dubbed shows so I watch the subtitled version, and they can easily be set on Netflix. The default if “British [cc] which made little sense, so I switched them to “English.” T
In conclusion, ‘Freud’ feels like a trip to purgatory with Dante as the guide. The fact is it is not for the faint-hearted. Some may find it darkly disturbing in that there is borderline rape, child mutilation, bloodsoaked orgy, devilish cult gatherings and so much more. In fact, the series is so disturbing that it could function as horror for many viewers. As for me? Well, what great fun!
The show was written by Ulf Kjell Gür and stars Robert Finster as Freud.
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