Most of my Greek-speaking friends and relatives have been watching Maestro in Blue and raving about it. The recent release on Netflix is the platform’s first ever Greek-language TV series, another hit written by Christoforos Papakaliatis.
It felt a bit strange to watch a series set in the summer while the Christmas season was upon us. But the story captivated me, half set in a dreamy, nostalgic Greek island, and the other half in a place where violence, corruption and crimes happen. Both are the same place, Paxos island where the protagonist Orestis, played by Papakaliatis, is sent as a music teacher to revive the annual summer festival during the pandemic.
There he begins an unexpected romance and finds himself entwined in other people’s problems. Though all seems idyllic at first, secrets and crimes come to the surface which Papakaliatis very cleverly teases his audience with. In episode one we are given a taste of a violent accident but it is brushed under the carpet and forgotten about. Somewhere hidden in each episode however is a tiny clue that reveals another bit of what happened.
Each episode is narrated by a different character, giving us more insight into their life and how their story blends with everyone else’s. They make the narration sound like a fairy tale, and often it is presented as such, only to be paired by contradictory visuals.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was seeing famous Greek singer Haris Alexiou in an acting role and acing it. She plays the grandmother, and a rather cool one. Alexiou also contributes to the music of the series which is, in fact, wonderful.
Maestro in Blue also offers a raw portrayal of very current topics. Homophobia and the fear of losing that macho man energy, corrupt politicians, forbidden love affairs with an age difference, the drug industry, and money laundering. Life’s not fair, the show says, but whether hurting or loving, it goes on. I cannot wait for season two, which has been confirmed.