Welcome to my review of season 1 of the Netflix original series The Protector.

I have been watching Turkish series and movies for several years now, so I already know just how amazing the Turkish are at producing some amazing work. I am also an avid Netflix user too and have seen all the Turkish series on there and also a lot of Netflix original series from different countries including my own country the UK, and also in Spanish.

Earlier this year we heard that Netflix was commisioning a Turkish original series. It was exciting news. The prospect of a Turkish series with the backing and slick production from Netflix just had to be a winning combination.

We learned that the series called The Protector would be set in Istanbul and follow the life of Hakan a young man whose life changes after he is given the job as The Protector. Cagatay Ulusoy was chosen to play the lead role of Hakan. No complaints from me. He is a good solid actor and one of a handful I could see making it on the international stage. The female lead was given to Ayca Aycin Turan ( Leyla ). This was an interesting one for me. I had seen her previously in Meryem and wasn’t impressed, but mainly with the character, she played so I was looking forward to seeing her have a more gritty role.

There was a list of other Turkish actors who were familiar names to any avid viewer. The first one that jumped out was Yurdaer Okur ( Kemal ). Having seen him play the prosecutor in Karadayi he just had to be an excellent actor to make everyone hate him so much. Hazar Erguclu ( Zeynep )another actress that has acted really well.

So with an amazing cast and the talents of a Netflix production, I settled down to watch.

Firstly episodes are 35-40 minutes long as they usually are on Netflix. From the open scenes, you could just see the quality of the production. I’m not knocking Turkeys work but they don’t have the money etc that Netflix does to produce such a series. For example, when a car blows up, you actually see it blow up on not a cutaway and then the aftermath. All the special effects, like the bullet that hits Hakan and bounces off. Great film work and CGI. The only thing in terms of the production that I wasn’t sure about was the blood when it dissipated to the tombs.

In terms of the cast, Cagatay was great. He showed a full range of emotions from anger to grief, even a cheekiness and delivered a few great one-liners. Ayca, mmm I still feel that I would have liked her to be more of a powerful woman. Maybe take the role of Zeynep, but she plays the girly girl well. In the second season, I hope she gets a more physical role and shows some ‘umph’. Hazar in her role of Zeynep was outstanding. She for me was the lead. She too like Cagatay had the full range of emotions acted to perfection. Seeing Yurdaer as Kemal just reinforced that he is a great actor, a totally different role and did great.

The only thing that Netflix got wrong and it isn’t just on this series its all the Turkish series they translate, They don’t give a full translation. For example, they miss words out, and these words on more than one occasion would have given the scenes more of a feel for what was happening. Also, they were inconsistent. When the actor’s were saying ‘Faysal bey’ they were translating as ‘Mr Erdem’ instead of Mr Faysal. And then it got switched around again. Also gender, using he instead of she and vice versa…I am aware that the Turkish language some words are not gender specific, however, the language you are translating to is. If the translator followed the storyline they would easily be able to put the correct word in. It’s not a massive issue but Netflix spend a lot of money making the series for a worldwide audience, and the experience would be much better with improving the subtitles.

I would certainly recommend watching this series. You don’t have to be a lover of Turkish drama to like the series. It would stand alone in terms of production for anyone who enjoys this type of genre. The scenery of Istanbul and specifically the Hagia Sophia is well worth watching. They really gave you a sense of where the story was taking place.

Netflix has done an amazing job with there first Turkish collaboration. They have given the opportunity for people around the world to realise how good the Turkish series really is. And also in English. English speaking fans seem to get forgotten and any new series on Netflix will be popular with us. I hope that this is just the first of many future productions.

Written by: Rachel Labidi





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