Israeli television is rare to catch on British screens, but if Hostages is anything to go by, we are missing out.
It follows the story of Yael Danon (Ayelet Zurer), a surgeon from Jerusalem, and her family: school headmaster husband, truant son and potentially pregnant daughter. Yael is tasked with performing simple surgery on the Israeli Prime Minister, and whilst the surgery should be simple, the politics around it are not so. There are some who are not so keen for the surgery to go routinely and take Yael and her family hostage.
The plot is fast moving and exciting, and is very interesting to hear in Hebrew. There is no time wasted in this 35-minute program, a refreshingly short length for a thriller. With hour-long shows I tend to find myself double screening and missing half the action, whereas due to its sharpness as well as its subtitles, my eyes were glued to the screen.
It was extremely tempting to do a Netflix and just move straight on to the next episode; there are ten in total so it would only have taken five hours, five hours I would not have regretted.
The cast is fantastic, great acting and a good amount of eye candy whatever your orientation is. Each character is deeply layered, with individual back stories waiting to be explained and developed. Secrets are left poised at the end of the first episode to ruin the seemingly perfect facade of the Danon family. You are allowed a glimpse into the dark underbelly of the police, blackmail and politics: both national and those of family.
BBC Four has cast off its ‘boring’ image with this series, it is a far cry from the random selection of documentaries that usually fill its schedule.
Hostages is joining the ranks of the likes of Spiral, The Bridge and Wallander as a top notch foreign drama. It is original in its move away from the police as an epicentre, and truly encapsulates the meaning of the word ‘thriller’.