Dec 22, 2018

The Protector: Turkish Superhero TV

The new Netflix series The Protector (2018-) is set in Istanbul, which is sort of interesting, but not very.  This is an Istanbul with no sign of Islam anywhere, which is almost as annoying as the standard gay-free San Francisco of American tv.

It's filmed in Turkish but dubbed in English, specifically an annoying colloquial "hey, dude, whazzup?" American.  Netflix uses subtitles for Basque, Catalan, and Hebrew.  Why Turkish?

I like Cagatay Ulusoy, but I do not like his character, Hasan, at all.  He's an annoyingly chipper post-teen operator with Big Dreams.

He and his buddy Memo (Cankat Aydos) hope to get the contract for renovating Hagia Sofia, the former Greek Orthodox Cathedral that is the most famous landmark in Turkey. 

Fat chance.   Turns out that rival contractor Faysal Erdem (Okan Yalabik) is killing off the competiton. 

Hasan keeps butting heads with his traditional father, who owns an antique shop: "We've got to be modern!"  I've only seen this a thousand times before.

And he's a stereotyped 1970s horndog, double-taking and jaw-dropping at ladies every five seconds, and getting cruised constantly with the absurd intensity of a shaving cream commercial, where the guy has to fight off armies of women driven to a sexual frenzy by the sight of his clean-shaven face.

But on to the plot:Hassan finds an ancient talismanic t-shirt which names him the Protector, a superhero destined to protect the world from the evil Immortal.  En route he has to find several more emblems of power.  He is assisted by a pharmacist named Kemal (Yurdaer Okur), the standard hero's mentor (think Mr. Miyagi and Yoda) and his daughter Zaynib.

Meanwhile the mysterious Leyla, who works for Erdem, joins the team, and...well, I don't need to finish that sentence, do I?

I don't expect any gay characters in a tv series filmed in the Middle East, but there isn't really much buddy-bonding, either.  Other than Memo, who is killed early on, Hasan's associates are all women or elderly men. 

Beefcake is also rather limited.  Hasan takes his shirt off a lot, to show the talisman burned into his chest, but the characters are usually shown in business suits.

I suggest skipping the stream and going for a pin-up of  Cagatay Ulusoy and a Google Earth tour of Hagia Sofia.

1 comment:

  1. Yep. Erdo─čan means even fewer gay characters and even less buddy-bonding. (A similar thing happened in the MCU. They carefully stripped Doctor Strange, interestingly enough a very similar character, of all things Tibetan so they could tap the Chinese market.)

    Wait, a talisman T-shirt? Not a chiton or something that at least evokes antiquity?


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