De smaak van De Keyser (2008–2009)
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Part family saga, part mystery, "De smaak van De Keyser" is an excellent series with a remarkably intelligent screenplay. Each episode carefully adds threads to a tapestry ; it is only in the last episode that the pattern as a whole can be discovered in all its complexity and artistry. The acting is good and the evocation of the ebb and flow of Belgian history is both realistic and moving.
The series also works as an introduction to the beautiful city of Hasselt and to the world of jenever making ; both aspects are closely related, since this city is pretty much the jenever capital of Belgium. In lesser hands, such a background could have devolved in a cheap ad campaign for the touristic charms of Hasselt, but happily this is not the case. As in a good jenever, all ingredients maintain a proper balance.
However, it needs to be noted that this is not a series for children. The series does not shy away from showing the horrors of World War II : its depiction of the capture of the Eben-Emael fortress contains some of the most gruesomely realistic scenes I have ever seen in a Belgian series or movie. (For those readers who are not familiar with Belgium : "Eben-Emael" was a giant fortress complex of great tactic and strategic importance. Most experts thought it was invincible. In 1940 German invaders succeeded in conquering it, by using enormously innovative and daring methods.)
To end on a fun note : there is an episode, set in the present time, where a naughty young couple sneaks into the Army archive in order to look at old records. This is an exercise in stupidity : simply write to authorities and a team of historians and librarians will be happy to help you out...