Review: Turkish Netflix drama ‘The Protector’ a let-down

Cagatay Ulusoy (L) and Hazar Erguclu star in the show. (Photo courtesy: Netflix)
Updated 22 December 2018
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Review: Turkish Netflix drama ‘The Protector’ a let-down

CHENNAI: “The Protector,” the first ever original Turkish series by Netflix, is a bit of a let-down despite its impressive production values.
Edited with imagination and splendidly photographed, it is nonetheless weak on performances.
The dubbing in English is awful with lip-syncing going haywire, and the subtitling is quite off the mark as well.

Directed by several people, “The Protector” is a fantasy of sorts, but there is a political undertone to it given Turkey’s conflicting status that pulls it between Europe and Asia.
The protagonist of the series, Hakan Demir (played feebly by Cagatay Ulusoy), is an ordinary shopkeeper in Istanbul, where the drama unfolds.
When he realizes that he has special powers and is The Protector to save the city and its 15 million inhabitants, his life turns into a fascinating fable.
With his magical shirt and a sword, he is assigned to vanquish the lone surviving Immortal, who is out to destroy Istanbul.
Woven into this adventure are subplots. There is Zeyneb (played by an attractive Hazar Erguclu, whose performance stands out), who is bent on protecting The Protector but whose relationship with him is never defined clearly.
Is she in love with Demir, as his love interest Leyla Sancak (played by Ayca Aysin Turan) seems to suspect? The tension between the two women provides an entertaining additional storyline.
There is also Faysal Erdem (played by Okan Yalabik, who is unusually stiff), with his business empire.
His trusted lieutenant, Mazhar Dragusha (played by Mehmet Kurtulus), becomes a sworn enemy of Demir.
The series needs to work harder in its second season. But one standout feature is the wonderful, realistic portrayal of Istanbul and its many architectural wonders and quirks, from its many street cats to the endless cups of Turkish tea consumed by the show’s characters.


‘Game of Thrones’ seeks record in final Emmys battle

Updated 20 September 2019

‘Game of Thrones’ seeks record in final Emmys battle

  • ‘Game of Thrones’ has twice won 12 awards in a single season
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ was not just a critical hit but a sweeping cultural phenomenon

LOS ANGELES: “Game of Thrones” will seek to make Emmy history one final time Sunday when television’s best and brightest gather at a glamorous ceremony in Los Angeles to bid farewell to a number of long-running hit shows.
Despite its misfiring finale which divided fans, the fantasy epic about feuding families and flame-shooting dragons secured a whopping 32 nominations for this year’s Emmys — television’s version of the Oscars.
The most decorated fictional show in Emmys history, “Thrones” has twice won 12 awards in a single season.
It is well on its way to besting that record this year, with 10 awards already bagged in lesser categories at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, including for the show’s blockbuster special effects and mock-medieval swords-and-bodices costumes.
It is the overwhelming favorite to add the top drama series prize to its haul on Sunday.
“All signs point to ‘Game of Thrones’ picking that up,” predicted Variety’s Michael Schneider.
“Even if fans weren’t necessarily loving that final season ... it doesn’t matter — if the voters love it, then that’s what’s going to win the Emmy,” he added.
The Television Academy’s 24,000-plus voters had two weeks in August to pick their favorites.
To get across the line Sunday, “Thrones” has 14 contenders across seven categories.
Serial winner Peter Dinklage is a front-runner for sharp-tongued dwarf Tyrion Lannister, as is Maisie Williams as princess-turned-assassin Arya Stark.
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow) are among the others in the running.
“Thrones” was not just a critical hit but a sweeping cultural phenomenon — more than 40 million tuned in to watch each episode of the final season.
Emmys organizers, who have copied the Oscars by eschewing a host this year, will hope that such wild popularity lifts the ceremony’s viewing figures.
All 10 “Thrones” acting nominees will serve as guest presenters — as will the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and the Kardashians.
Further star power among the acting nominees will be provided by Oscar-winners Michael Douglas, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali and Patricia Arquette.
Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel” and HBO’s “Chernobyl” have also emerged as powerhouse contenders.
“Mrs Maisel” — Amazon’s story of a 1950s housewife-turned-stand up comic — won the best comedy Emmy last year, and the second season is well-placed to add further prizes Sunday.
It is locked in a fierce showdown for the overall comedy gong with “Veep” and “Fleabag.”
Like “Thrones,” US political satire “Veep” is contending its final Emmys after a stellar run, including 17 statuettes.
The show won best comedy in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but took a forced hiatus last year as Julia Louis-Dreyfus battled breast cancer.
She would claim the standalone record for acting Emmys with a ninth win.
Another long-running popular show taking its final Emmys bow is “The Big Bang Theory,” the throwback sitcom about a group of geeky, young California scientists.
It earned only one nomination — for directing — but its creators are unlikely to mind after all 12 seasons were purchased by HBO Max streaming service this week for a reported $500 million.
In the limited series categories, “Chernobyl,” HBO’s drama about the 1986 nuclear disaster, won seven technical Emmys last weekend. It even inflicted a rare defeat on “Thrones” in production design.
But it may struggle to add to that tally on Sunday, when it competes with Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the searing true story of five men wrongly accused of raping a Central Park jogger, which has eight acting nominations.
In the variety sections, HBO’s political satire “Last Week Tonight” starring British comedian John Oliver is again front-runner, while NBC’s all-time leading Emmys winner “Saturday Night Live” remains formidable.
National Geographic’s “Free Solo” does not compete Sunday, but scooped an impressive seven Emmys last weekend.
The Oscar-winning documentary about a hair-raising, free solo climb of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite swept the non-fiction categories.