World on Fire
Series | English, Polish, German, French with English subtitles | 1 season (7 episodes). Each episode is 57 minutes | Original Release: 2019
The world that’s on fire stretches across most of Europe: Warsaw, London, Paris, Manchester, and the evacuation at Dunkirk. But the focus is on young Harry Chase. He and his girlfriend, Lois, are first seen agitating against a Fascist rally in Manchester, England. When Harry is assigned to Warsaw as a translator, he tearfully must leave his beloved Lois. Lonely and unhappy in his job as translator, Harry falls in love with Kasia, a strong-minded and beautiful Polish waitress. Amidst the wreckage created by the invading Nazi army, Harry proposes marriage and Kasia accepts. Reporting the frightening news from Berlin, and dodging the Nazi censors, is the feisty American journalist Nancy Campbell. But then Harry is recalled to London. He reunites with Lois but he simply cannot confess to her that he is now married. To his dismay, Robina, Harry’s patrician mother, dislikes both Lois and Kasia, feeling that Harry can do much better. The war engulfs Europe and Harry is forced to serve in the British army. The series becomes tense as Lois realizes that she is pregnant, Kasia joins a Polish partisan group committed to killing Nazis, and Harry encounters huge risks fighting in a dangerous war.
Why Stream This Series?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 85%
- Metacritic Score: 74
- World on Fire has been so popular, the producers ordered a second season.
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The sense of impending cataclysm permeates every level of life. More and more rules and niceties are laid aside until suddenly there is nothing left to do but flee. The protagonists’ vulnerabilities are all the more poignant but never labored. The emphasis is on all the characters’ very ordinariness, which in turn makes the parallels with modern times all the more powerful and frightening.
The seven episode series is a page-turner of a show, a big canvas filled with small, interwoven stories in the style of Herman Wouk. The best thing about the show is the great Lesley Manville’s performance as Robina, a believable and craftily comic portrayal of a woman who reluctantly lets down her guard in response to the war. Though she’s farthest from the front, the changes she undergoes are as profound as anyone else’s. She’s proof that in a world on fire, no one escapes the flames.
If what you want is to be engaged—to be sucked into a story completely, enveloped by another time and place—then this epic World War II series might be just the ticket.
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