1983 Polish series on Netflix

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Pera, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. Pera Active Member

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    Jan 13, 2016
    Watched the first episode today.

    The POD is a series of terrorist attacks in 1983 Poland which discredit Solidarnosc and lead to the USSR and communism in Poland surviving until 2003.

    I like the atmosphere and story and will give it a chance. But the AH doesn’t match up to standards which I am used to on this site.

    The story is set in march 2003 and there is a butterfly net, there is still an American build-up of troops poised to invade Iraq at any moment, albeit under President Gore.

    But I must suspend my disbelief very often. There is an weird combination of gritty streets and dilapidated buildings, typically cramped 80ies apartments and impossible high-tech. For instance:
    -Students have in 2003 smartphones with quite big screens;
    -The Warsaw skyline in 2003 is more imposing than OTL 2018;
    -All the government buildings are spic and span, modern with lots of glass and steel; not only for the hotshots but also for a disgraced police detective low on the pecking order;
    - Meters high and wide television screens on buildings with excellent resolution;
    -a Vietnamese restaurant with quite cool interior and a modern kitchen.

    The makers have tried and succeeded well in creating a cyberpunk dystopia but they forgot how much communist economy sucked in providing quality, or even dunctiining, consumer goods. Even the ekectric switches in dilapidated buildings are too modern and shiny. No way a surviving Communist Poland in 2003 would have so many modern elements.
     
  2. freivolk Well-Known Member

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    There is a train line Warsaw-Saigon mentioned. Maybe there is the implecation, that China rejoined and upliftet the Eastbloc. Still I´m afraid as AH the whole thing will disapoint.
     
  3. FesteringSpore some random Vietnamese guy

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    Just watch the damn show and disregard the AH.

    It seems good so far.
     
  4. oberdada Präsident des Welt- und Erdenballs

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    Poland can into AH and Netflix. :)

    I'll look into it.
     
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  5. Tal Shiar Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Tal Shiar

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    Maybe it's just another world in the multiverse of The Man in High Castle? Alternate history of some sort of alternate history? Then it would be way more believable.
     
  6. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

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    I have to give this series a shot--Jaruzelski-punk is a seldom-seen genre. I don't expect "Hard AH" on TV at all, but I might get a kick out of it.

    Hm. My mother tells me that, in 1983, her teacher told the class that China is the future of the Communist bloc and they should prepare themselves to live under Beijing's rule. Maybe the writers went to school with her.
     
  7. Analyst Previous username sounded too supervillian-y

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    I'm enjoying the series so far. A few observations:

    The series seemed like a standard crime drama at first, but
    it really took a hard turn into Tom Clancy territory didn't it? Nuclear Weapons being sold to Iran by Communist Poland? What?

    Also, there seems to be a degree of Polish wish fulfillment going on in the show:
    "We got bombed during a chaotic period when we were on the brink of economic collapse and civil war. I guess that means we should be so prosperous and stable the whole freaking Warsaw Pact survived on our backs, China rejoins the bloc, and we invented the smartphone...and online dating...and everyone wants our product." Someone earlier in the thread observed Warsaw's skyline seems even more impressive than modern day OTL. WTF?

    I haven't finished the series yet, but let's see where this goes
     
  8. freivolk Well-Known Member

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    I don´t expect "Hard AH" on TV too, but the whole setting looks to much "generic cyberpunk future". But maybe I´m spoiled by "Man in the high Castle".
     
  9. ZincOxide Well-Known Member

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    Mar 1, 2011
    My thinking re: the tech level is that the 1983 attacks were so shocking that they had the effect of damping any dissent and getting Poles into the mindset of "whatever it takes" for at least a few years. Guessing that the Polish government milked that for all it was worth to get the economy moving again, helped along by some strategic deals with Vietnam and China, which were both also undergoing their own economic reforms. Since the USSR apparently also survives, then the other piece of the puzzle is continuing cut-rate oil and gas helping to keep Polish industry running.

    The cyberpunky perpetually lit buildings reminded me of the authoritarian motif of SimCity Societies, actually:



    Another aspect of alt!Polish economic development is that the powers that be seem to have tolerated a fair degree of 'underground capitalism', e.g. being willing to play footsie with underground crime-boss figures from Vietnam or allowing a flourishing hardcore bar scene, as a way to boost economic performance while retaining legal and social control by the PZPR.
     
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  10. Divergent54 Boris Johnson x Nigel Farage xoxo

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    Maybe it's « communism with Polish characteristics » type of deal where privatisation reforms led to the liberation of the economy whilst the communist party still maintained power over Poland à la Chine-esque style. Keep the party and authoritarianism in power whilst gradually privatising the economy, sort of ?
     
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  11. marcinL Well-Known Member

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    It was communist government that liberalized economy with Wilczek's law in '88 (since then it was only being made less free by subsequent governments). Introducing it earlier would, well, I don't think you could save communist economy as it was in the late eighties, but you would have freedom of enterprise that could make the crisis somewhat lesser and shorter.
     
  12. ZincOxide Well-Known Member

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    I would actually go along with this. Say the Poles do the whole "nation bands together, all shoulders to the grindstone" for a few years. Gorbachev might still take power by 1986, but even if not, by then someone in their 40s or 50s may well have become GenSec and decided to follow the Chinese model.

    This gives the Polish government the green light to begin easing up on economic controls in 1986-87, framing it as "the just reward for several years of struggle" or somesuch. The government probably, in the vein of bread and circuses, decides to unofficially "look the other way" as underground bars and clubs flourish, reasoning that people spending their money and time getting drunk aren't about to plot another revolution.

    The Polish government then courts strategic investment from Chinese and Vietnamese, and tolerates the presence of underworld crime figures getting in on the action (e.g. Hong Kong triads, etc), since ensuring continued prosperity and a rising standard of living will go a long way in keeping the Party in power.

    Fast forward to 2003, and you've got the basis for the Poland we see in the show with a tech level that might not be 100% Western, but isn't late-1980s Russia either.
     
  13. Pera Active Member

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    Jan 13, 2016
    Yes, the Chinese way might work. Somebody who has been to China in 1980-1983 would totally disbelieve if someone would make a scifi series with Chinese cities in 2018 looking how they look now.
    But 20 years is too little for such a profound change.

    Still, looking forward to the next episodes !
     
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  14. Jan Olbracht Well-Known Member

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    That 2003 Communist Poland has smartphone (unbelievable) but still uses cars from 1980s-Fiat 125p and Polonez (that is far more plausible)?
     
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  15. Tal Shiar Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Tal Shiar

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    Well, those Fiat 125p and Polonez may be next versions of their 20th century's counterparts. After all, Polish People's Republic experimented with new kombi or cabrio design of Fiat 126p.

    Polonez was produced until April 22, 2002 OTL, while Fiat 125p until June 29, 1991.

    Smartphones can be explained by faster digital revolution in the world. Maybe Point of Divergence for the series is placed in 1940s or even earlier?
     
  16. wilcoxchar The Craft Beer and Coffee Guy

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    The standards of this site tends to be extremely high and nitpicky, and often render things inaccessible to a mainstream audience. You shouldn't really judge media meant for a wide audience by the same standards you would use to judge stuff on this site (well, you should, in that if the atmosphere and story is good then plausibility and picking over minor details can take a backseat, but that's a whole other discussion).

    This show sounds really interesting, I'm definitely going to check it out. It's always good to see well made non-American genre productions gain a footing.
     
  17. Tsochar Well-Known Member

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    Your mum's pretty smart
     
  18. nik2016 Well-Known Member

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    Her teacher saw the future
     
  19. oberdada Präsident des Welt- und Erdenballs

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    Started watching.

    So far the most surprising thing is the showing of a totally naked dead male body in the morgue.

    And the English subtitles are annoying, since they are too different from the spoken English language version.
    I can do without, but I prefer to have them as well.