From the makers for Borgen and The Killing, The Legacy has been a massive hit in its home country, breaking drama ratings. Here’s five reasons not to miss out...
1. The Danes do drama better
For a country with a population not much bigger than the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area, Denmark punches well above its weight in the television drama stakes. For over a decade they had been quietly pumping out international award-winning procedurals with complex characters and tightly woven narratives, such as Unit One and The Eagle, when in 2007 along came a little show called The Killing (known to Danes as Forbrydelsen) and the world stood up and took notice.
This was followed by international hits Borgen and Swedish co-production The Bridge (Bron), a flurry of US remakes, and European shows such as Broadchurch and Witnesses (Les témoins), which were openly crafted from the Danish drama playbook.
2. More complex female characters
The Killing gave us the fiercely determined and cable knit jumper loving detective Sarah Lund, and we have Borgen to thank for the charming, master multi-tasking Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg. Danish drama celebrates and interrogates the lives of strong, flawed, but always compelling women and their place in contemporary society, and The Legacy is no exception. Front and centre are world renowned artist and family matriarch Veronika Grønnengaard, and her vastly different daughters Gro and Signe.
3. Everyone loves a dysfunctional family
Supposedly all families are dysfunctional to some degree, but the Grønnengaard’s inhabit another realm of familial disharmony. A child of the counterculture sixties, Veronika’s free-spirited yet commanding and capricious nature, coupled with her complicated past, have been borne out in myriad emotional scars of her adult children.
With a coterie of family members, old lovers, advisors and assistants regularly coming and going from the vast and dilapidated mansion that is Veronika’s home and workspace, hers is a rambunctious and unconventional existence. Add in sudden death, affairs not properly in order, and the conflicting ambitions of siblings, and you have the perfect recipe for a first-rate drama.
4. You already know most of the actors
The relative disparity in population size to top quality drama output in Denmark means that the talent pool in Denmark is very strong, and it’s highly probable you’ve seen most of these actors before. Gro is played by popular film actress Trine Dyrholm, who was most notably one of the leads in the Academy Award winning film In a Better World.
Gro’s pot-smoking musician father Thomas is brought to life by Jesper Christensen, one of Denmark’s most famous actors, who has worked for celebrated directors including Lars Von Trier, Lone Scherfig and Sydney Pollak. Veronika’s eldest son Frederik is played by Carsten Bjørnlund, one of the co-stars in the second season of The Killing. And in the role of younger son Emil is Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, who got his big break playing the mad king alongside Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander in A Royal Affair.
5. Subtitles make you smarter
If the four reasons above aren’t enough to convince you The Legacy is your new must watch television program of choice, then do it for your IQ. It’s a well-known fact that watching subtitled screen content makes you smarter, happier and more successful at life.*
*All factual claims by the author are still subject to full peer-reviewed scientific testing.
The Legacy series 2 airs Tuesdays at 10:30pm (AEST) on SBS. After they air, episodes will be available on SBS On Demand.
Missed the last episode? Watch it right here: