In 1992, while most of us were re-enacting the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene from Wayne’s World, Italy was imploding under a massive political corruption scandal. The “Clean Hands” investigation eventually led to the dissolution of multiple political parties, with key figures taking their own lives.
This tumult serves as a backdrop for Italy: 1992, a thrilling, expertly crafted ten-part kaleidoscope of a series launching on SBS and SBS On Demand. Here are merely a few of the many reasons we recommend giving it a good go…
It’s got all the right ingredients
Based on the real events yet fictional in the telling, 1992 seems to have plucked inspiration from various now-classic modern dramas. Take the visceral experience of mafia life from The Sopranos, broaden its scope to the societal gaze of The Wire, place a brooding mad man at the center of the story, then throw in some Game of Thrones-brand nudity...
Or maybe we just watch too much TV. But really, this is a masterfully told season of television that seems familiar in parts – it’s been compared to House of Cards and The West Wing - but is quite obviously something completely new.
It depicts Italy on the brink of political collapse
Only twenty-four years ago, Italy experienced a significant breakdown. The entire nation collapsed under the weight of political corruption on the part of a network of crooked public servants that weren’t averse to extreme violence.
As you can imagine, this period is ripe for endless shock and awe.
And speaking of shock and awe…
We meet infamous Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
As our protagonist works in the ad-agency of then-media-mogul-in-the-making Berlusconi, we’re treated to the odd bit of file footage as well as a memorably acted cameo from the lustful (putting it politely) politician-to-be.
The writer’s show a bit of cheek with the suggestive contents of the advertisements Berlusconi creates, though considering the man’s reputation it’s probably close to the reality.
Convicted mafia colluder and founder of Berlusconi’s party, Marcello Dell’Utri, is a significant character
Known as Berlusconi’s left hand man, Senator Dell’Utri created the Forza Italia party and was behind the curtain, pulling strings for twenty years of Italy’s existence. He also was, allegedly, an “ambassador for Cosa Nostra” within Italian politics.
It’s as cinematic as real-life Italy – and effortlessly takes you back in time
You should get a load of the production values on this thing. Not only does the show make effective use of shadow to get across how sinister Italy-in-crisis had become, but scenes tend to shift in shooting style, which feels very 90s.
Get stuck into the scandal when Italy: 1992 premieres on Tuesday, 27 September at 10:30pm on SBS. All episodes are now available on SBS On Demand.
Watch the first episode right here: