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Acorn Media / 660 Minutes / 1980 / Unrated / Street Date: January 4, 2011
Enemy at the Door fascinated because it dramatizes a facet of WWII that isn't seen in film and television all that often. This saga of an early-1940s German occupation of a British-controlled Channel Island - Guemsey - is tricky and slippery, with Nazi visual paradigms and 'normal' wartime sensibilities thrown to the wind.
In this second season of the series, we follow the exchange between the German leader in charge of the occupation, Major Dieter Richter (Alfred Burke) and the representative of the local folks, doctor Philip Martell (Bernard Horsfall). In many ways, this prickly balance is maintained as well as one could imagine - the Islanders aren't inspired to outright revolt; Richter, while strict, isn't as powermad as many were expecting - but there are other elements at play that complicate things: Klaus Reinicke (Simon Cadell) is an SS boss who doesn't think Richter's iron fist is heavy enough, and there are townspeople on Guemsey who aren't as interested in keeping up the status quo as Martell (read: This is WAR!!).
And the result is a fascinating tale of wartorn terror and the struggle within men between dedication to cause and their innate humanism. Enemy at the Door: Series 2 may not be exceptionally engaging television - another war movie...? - but it's smart, snappy and provocative in wonderfully distinct ways.