April 23, 2021

“The Time In Between” on Hulu and 
“Generation War” on Netflix

Avid interest in Europe of the 1930’s and 1940’s continues with two European TV series available for streaming on Hulu and Netflix. “The Time In Between,” a Spanish TV series based on a best-selling novel by Maria Duenas, is set during the Spanish Civil War and the lead-up to World War II. British and Spanish operatives collaborate to keep a Franco-led Spain out of the larger conflagration with Germany and Italy.

The lead character, Sira Quiroga played by the lovely Adrian Ugarte is a seamstress/spy who becomes embroiled in romantic and political intrigue in Spain, Morocco and Portugal. The 17-episode series, shot like a feature film has stunning cinematography and has cliff-hangers galore. The costumes are especially amusing with floral prints, drop-dead evening gowns, fur accessories and dramatic hats on display.

My audio-centric ears winced at the synthesized instruments for underscoring and some of the live music sequences that have a very un-period sound, but this is a small quibble with the production itself being quite good. My larger complaint is with Hulu who plays the same commercials in Spanish with annoying repetition. If you can amuse yourself during the frequent commercial breaks, you may enjoy this very popular TV series from Spain currently on Hulu.

With a sigh of advertising relief, “Generation War,” a German TV mini-series on Netflix is commercial-free in its three 90-minute programs. Hospital and battle scenes would be ludicrously punctuated with toothpaste and insurance ads. The plot begins with two soldiers, a singer, a war nurse and a Jewish tailor meeting for the last time as 20-something friends in 1941 before all of them are swept up in the maelstrom of World War II. We follow each of their journeys until post-war 1946.

The production attracted 7 million viewers in Germany last year and created vitriolic debate. While some fresh themes are explored like soldier-life on the Russian front, desertion, pacifism and medical care at mobile units, howls of protest were heard over the slanted historical tone including the depiction of the entire Polish Resistance as being anti-semitic and “the Nazis” as some separate group from the people at large in Germany. With that said, if you have an interest in World War II history, this 270-minute production may be thought-provoking, infuriating and entertaining, all at the same time.

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