Mark Imber, Beatrix Traill and Daniel Kiraly in Something Amerika (Source: RTL)
The “America Thing” series proved to me the power of repetition. It was enough to watch “only” four or five episodes, and I actually found the Azhariya song particularly enjoyable. However, when I first heard it, I felt disgusted, it would be hard for me to imagine anything worse. However, as I've heard it many times, and moreover, under the main title of the series, I can actually live with it. As a result, the success of the singer who surpassed everyone else in terms of popularity became more understandable. I've been with other songs in the past as well, and after listening to them a few times, they seemed more enjoyable than before. The situation could be similar to Gabor Herende's recently ended series. If I had written a review based on the first two parts – as many others did – I would have been more stringent. Not that I see much point in trying to evaluate a series' season based on the first few episodes. It is usually helpful to wait until the end to provide a more accurate picture. In the case of the Star Wars Ahsoka series, it would be misleading to write a review even halfway through the last season. I would sing its praises a lot more than I knew I would after episode eight.
The Valami Amerika series does not dispense with this cinematic universe, and Hirende's productions are not among the best. It remains far from the freshness and intensity of the first film, as well as the quality of RTL's best streaming series to date, The King. However, it can already be called a decent means. It was far more entertaining than the channel's worst series of recent times, The Big White Boss. Fortunately, we were able to come back from the cliff where the movies started this world. The second part is still missing, but the third part, five years ago, turned out to be quite the low point. It was already an hour and a half of imprisonment for B. Zevic, in the worst sense of the word. It is especially sad that Herende asked great actors like Andras Stoll or Irwin Nagy to portray the depths of the Alps. Something Amerika 3 also made clear that the original characters had become flat, and their story couldn't be taken anywhere. However, the first part was particularly sold out due to the love and whimsy of the three brothers. It was difficult for me to deal with the fact that, true to the creator's intent, Somewhere in America was more and more about small-scale, primitive gangsters, rather than likable heroes, from Part II onwards. The third act was also a low point in this regard, and Tony's band was a particularly uninteresting and at the same time annoying debut. At the same time, Hirende was not able to truly innovate, and always preferred to change the previous recipe: for example, in the second and third performances, the emphasis was on the organization of the performance. Even with the series, it was not possible to put everything on a new foundation, but he praises the director for feeling his way in the right direction this time.
It was a particularly good decision to have a new trio of younger brothers at the heart of the ten-part series. Marci (Márk Ember), Zita (Trill Beatrix) and Balázs (Király Dániel) are different characters, but still somewhat reminiscent of the original trio. For example, one of them is a more relaxed life artist type, another is more excitable and louder, and the third is a responsible older brother type who can barely manage his life. Plus, it brings new momentum to the world of Something American, and it's almost entirely thanks to it that these 10 episodes will be so watchable. Hirende brought back something this story hadn't been able to do for some time, unfortunately: it put likable heroes at the center. Valami Amerika 3. was a bad point, among other things, because we did not find anyone in it who was not hated. They managed to turn even the lovable brothers of 2002 into annoying parodies of themselves. Meanwhile, the story also began to go in directions so ridiculous that it could no longer be attributed to the usual madness in America. The final point was when Alex Brubeck (Tibor Szervét) revealed his previous disguise at the end of the third. The viewer felt like attaching his brain to a balloon and sending it on its way across the universe.
Unfortunately, the series is also not devoid of stupid and unreasonable dramatic solutions. In the beginning, for example, it becomes clear what happened to the younger brother (Ferenc Hojber, who plays Andras, will not be returning), and then until the end of the season, the viewer can bang his head against the wall as he ponders how such a stupid thing could be done. Beyond that, there are still plenty of questionable events, but the others are perhaps less disturbing than the first. In addition to Hujber, Csaba Pindroch (Tamás Várnai) is also not here, but the first episode begins immediately with the Sinful City cult show held at the circus. A few of the original characters return, and they're mostly relegated to secondary roles: we see Ákos (Győző Szabó) and Timi (Szonja Oroszlán) occasionally, but they don't get much attention anymore. Those here again, unfortunately or not, are Bala (Emre Tsuga) and his two gangster lieutenants, Sandor Monica (András Varago) and Viktor (Szabolcs Thoroči). Fortunately, Bala has now only corrected his conjugations two or three times, and Monica's last name is not used much either. On the contrary, they continue to treat it as a never-ending source of jokes to get over someone in one way or another, just to achieve their goal. Bala's daughter, Fifi, will also return, this time played by Eszter Földes instead of Kátya Tompos.
The ten episodes of the series are mainly based on a TV talent show called Galaxy, where our current heroes have to invest time and energy as usual due to Bala's threats. The gangster wants to push the chosen one of his heart through the competition, and it is up to Mark, who comes with huge amounts of money, to make this happen. Of course his brothers help him, as do the strange inhabitants of the Flu Villa he founded. They would also be likable characters, but the same could be said for the constantly uptight broadcast director, Dénes (Péter Kálloy Molnár), or Tomi's control-obsessed ex, Ivet (Angéla Eke). Perhaps the only negative character is the singer's father, Emre Bereztegui, played by Ben Brash. Zoltán Seress recently became a hero as Józsefe Antall Blokád, but now he does everything to make sure we don't fall in love with his character. This will be true for others, no matter how controversial they may be, like opportunistic jury members (Attila Arpa) or climate activists who resort to violent tactics (Fogel's Lolita Noa, Elisa Sudrow), but ultimately you can both love them and laugh at them.
The humor of Something American is never in the unique, original jokes, but always in the entertainment factor. This can now be brought up as episodes progress, and even more unusually, there's one or two really good jokes. It was a particularly good idea to include climate activism or flu survivors as current topics, as well as celebrity guest stars to add excitement to the episodes. Schubert's Norby, for example, with the series' gangsters leaving him in place, while Azharia starts out as a rival to the galaxy to get it short: he'll never succeed, he's got nothing to gain there. I wouldn't call any of it a knee-jerk joke, but it can put a smile on viewers' faces. After the vulgar humor of the 2018 film, it manages to become more reserved and likable again, even if, of course, there are plenty of less sophisticated jokes. The story develops according to the usual templates, so you don't need a great fortune teller to capture the events. However, we are happy to follow the fate of the characters and can even be excited about them. The actors' performances aren't bad either, and they seem to be having fun with their characters.
The Valami Amerika series doesn't come close to the intensity of the first, but it's miles better than the third, and probably ahead of the second in terms of quality. If it's not shown on a streaming platform, but is shown on the channel in prime time, there's a good chance it will entertain a wider audience. Of course, they would be able to say this later, just like the King.
Some American series. It is available on RTL Plusz interface. Ten episodes.