In the UK: Monday-Friday, 9.30pm, Sky Arts 1/Sky Arts 1 HD. Repeated Saturdays & Sundays
In Israel: First aired 2005
In Treatment was a show I really loved. Clever, engrossing, theatrical, it was fantastic TV. Terribly scheduled, mind. Half an hour, five nights a week? That’s not happening for me or for most people – as the ratings bore out.
For those who missed it (why? It was brilliant… Oh yes, now I remember…), it saw therapist Gabriel Byrne see a different patient each day, Monday to Thursday, before seeing his own therapist on Friday, where he’d discuss his feelings about his patients. Then the next week, you’d see the next session with each patient. Over the weeks, you saw his own family, occasionally the patients interacting and more.
But it was based on an award-winning Israeli show, BeTipul, that first aired in 2005. Now Sky Arts 1 is cleverly showing the original five nights a week. And it’s very weird to watch.
As with the the US remake of The Killing, it feels almost frame-by-frame identical, just in a different language. It’s not quite identical, for obvious reasons, but the dialogue is almost identical, as is the theme tune (which is slightly more upbeat in the Israeli version), and Assi Dayan (Re’uven) looks an awful lot like Gabriel Byrne.
But there are instructive differences. Unlike the very theatrical In Treatment which was largely shot in a studio, BeTipul is naturalistic and shot in a real apartment. Casting also affects things. The Laura-equivalent, Na’ama (Ayelet Zurer), is older than Melissa George, is less vulnerable and (sorry) less attractive. Their relationship, as a result, is different and speaks more to the therapist’s difficulties with his wife than Laura/Paul’s relationship did in In Treatment, which is correspondingly more about opportunity and desire than emotions.
There are also interesting cultural differences in terms of therapy:
All the same, despite the differences, it feels somewhat futile watching BeTipul having watched In Treatment. BeTipul is different rather than superior, but the differences aren’t big enough that having watched In Treatment, you don’t feel like you’re watching an odd re-run as you do so. It’s a case of watch one or the other – but not both.
Here’s a trailer with a crappy voiceover or you can watch some of the first episode on the Sky Arts web site: