In Germany: Fridays, 8.15pm, Sky 1. Started October 13
In the UK: Sundays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic. Starts November 5
Ask any Brit who didn’t take GCSE or A-level History what Germany, particularly Berlin, was like during the inter-war years, they probably won’t have much of an idea. Chances are that if they have a clue at all, that clue is going to be based on the movie Cabaret.
It’s a movie that subtextually looms over Babylon Berlin, Sky Deutschland’s epic new attempt to break into the international TV big leagues, following the success of Deutschland83 and Amazon’s You Are Wanted. Yet while it fleshes out that cinematic snapshot of a society, Babylon Berlin is very much its own beast and owes as much to that other staple of German fiction, particularly TV fiction, the ‘Krimi’.
Based on the books of Volker Kutscher, Babylon Berlin is set in Berlin in 1929 and follows young police inspector Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) after he arrives from Cologne to investigate a porn ring.
However, as the deaths begin to mount up, it soon becomes clear that the pornographers have connections to more dangerous people. On top of that, there’s a revolutionary band of Poles and Russians in town (the Fourth International), about whom the Bolsheviks, now led by Stalin, might have something to say, too. Needless to say, Bruch is on the case, even if it takes him to those debauched nightclubs you might have heard so much about…