You have two choices this summer weekend: You can either spend all weekend being eaten alive by mosquitoes outside, or you can watch Borgen, the greatest political drama of all-time — it's just that good. Danish series Borgen follows Birgitte Nyborg (the excellent Sidse Babett Knudsen) as the Prime Minister of Denmark. She is a strong, ambitious, and fair leader, but none of those attributes make her job any easier — Birgitte must deal with the press, sexism, crises on a global scale, balancing her duties to her country and her family, and so much more.
All three seasons of Borgen are available on iTunes now. While the series has aired in the U.S. on Link TV, this marks the first time you can stream the series in its entirety. The best part? The pilot is free. Trust me, one episode is all it will take to hook you.
That said, I am a cautious person by nature, so I understand if you're feeling apprehensive. For that reason, I am offering you six — yes, six — reasons why Borgen should be your new favorite show.
Prepare to fall in love with a Danish political drama, guys. Resistance is futile.
1. It Is The Perfect Antidote To The Insanity Of The Primaries
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you have to admit, the United States primaries have been a hot mess. Borgen will reawaken your belief in the political system, though: The series doesn't paint an idealistic picture of politics, but watching Birgitte and her team expertly navigate the ups and downs of running a country is a great reminder that the stakes are always high, the right answer isn't always obvious, and watching powerful people wheeling and dealing can be enthralling instead of painful.
2. The Show Is Feminist By Nature
Borgen puts women in positions of power and then revels in showing all of the ways people react to their positions, as well as how they handle those reactions. Birgitte faces her share of sexism when she takes on the Prime Minister post, but Borgen never treats Birgette as a novelty. Its biggest concern is not how the world sees Birgitte, but how Birgitte sees the world. When you are the most powerful person in the country, how do you maintain any semblance of a home life? How do you manage to be commanding when facing down other powerful people? How do you advocate for women's rights issues, for military issues, and racism issues? How do you keep the differing parties from tearing each other apart?
The show tackles all of these subjects not only via Birgitte, but also through journalist Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, who you likely know as the evil a cappella star in Pitch Perfect 2). Katrine puts her job above all else, and she is absolutely committed to telling the best, most truthful stories possible. While she finds herself in a bit of a scandal in the series' opening hour, the strength of her character only grows as the series moves forward.
3. The Slow Burn Love Story Between Katrine & Fixer Kasper Will Be Your Everything
Do you like love stories where two ambitious people are on opposing sides? Of course you do — it's the best trope ever. Katrine goes way back with fixer Kasper, who joins Birgitte's team to make sure the Prime Minister looks good in the public eye. This puts Katrine and Kasper at odds since they both thrive off of work, but they get each other's commitment to their jobs in a way no one else can. Even though they are often working against each other professionally, their friendship transcends everything. And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.
4. You Need To See What Pilou Asbæk Can Do Before Game of Thrones Season 6
Asbæk was recently cast as Euron Greyjoy on Game of Thrones. If you were scratching your head over who this Asbæk guy was, well here is your chance to find out. As Kasper, he is smug, charming, infuriating, talented, and reckless. He shows vulnerability and cockiness and everything in between. This guy is an insanely talented actor and Thrones is lucky to have him. If you want to impress your friends, get familiar with Asbæk's work now so that you can say you knew him way back when.
5. The Personal Drama Is Just As Good As The Political
Borgen takes plenty of time to delve into the character's personal lives. Birgitte's marriage, Kasper and Katrine's love and family lives, the trials of Katrine's alcoholic mentor — all of these things and more are explored. The show can even be quite steamy when it wants to be. There's no need to worry about the political stories becoming dry, because there's no part of the characters' lives that Borgen doesn't want to explore.
6. It Is Completely Unexpected
When a show can immerse you in an unfamiliar culture, offer up some of the best characters TV has to offer, and take a clear and interesting stance on the state of modern politics, it needs to be seen. The fact that Borgen is a Danish series with a unique perspective you simply won't get from American television, makes it an unexpected, but worthwhile series to have under your belt. Clocking in at just 30 episodes (which will fly by), Borgen is a show you need to watch. Not only will it expand your horizons, it will entertain you every single step of the way.
May Borgen bring you all the joy, drama, and heartbreak you can handle. Just remember when your marathon is over, make sure to tell someone you love about Borgen because friends don't let friends miss out on great TV.