The history of Georgia in the nineteenth century.
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The history of Georgia in the nineteenth century.

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22 November 2014 (Georgia)  »

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Exceptionally poor writing makes this show horrible
16 January 2015 | by (Georgia) – See all my reviews

Tiflisi, which is an old name of Georgia's capital Tbilisi, is new history TV show about period of 19th century, after serfdom was abolished. It mostly concentrates on wrangling between nobles of the city to gain the control of capital and therefore regulate slavery, which turns out to be the most profitable "job" in the period.

While police has no control over crime, a group of people, mostly those of convicted in different type of crimes, decide to stand against upcoming force and stop the human trade. In the end, it's a battle of three parties, two noble families and one "robin hoods".

Having a look at the show, it looks like it cost a lot, because the producers did really try to give some production value and it is evident from massive production design, costumes and how they tried to recreate old views of Tbilisi. In some cases they succeed but a good show is never about technicalities at all.

I did not like Tiflisi, for mostly it's terrible writing. The story, which only focuses on the problem described above, is nothing close to reality of the corresponding period and even it was, it lacks some plot twists and interesting characters. The dialogues are poorly written and mostly because the speaking language it extremely modern, which is hugely different from the one spoken two centuries ago. Honestly, it's a quite easy job to resurrect old fashioned dialogues, at least, based on multiple novels from the same period or any other source material. What I saw here, is just modern characters, with modern vocabulary and behavior, living in a town which looks like old capital.

This problem is evident in most scenes and especially in those of swearing and they are a lot. I am not sure how common it was to swear in every sentence, back in 19th century, but I believe it was different from what we say now.

As for characters, they all are fictional and unfortunately absolutely underwritten. None of them, have this common "character development" process throughout the first season. Even though the writers went with cliché characters, they are nothing close to an average person you could imagine in similar show.

First look gives an impression that Tiflisi is technically well done. In some way it is, especially with notably good production design, but then you notice something very modern in the streets, for instance metal gratings on the windows which became popular a century later, or marble streets, which is not even real today.

Camera work is OK. Just better than most Georgian shows and it succeeds to capture some good images and colors. And I also liked score. It's a mix of traditional folk music with something modern and it really sounds well, perfectly capturing general spirit of show.

Another problem with Tiflisi is acting, which looks very theatrical, nothing alike what I've seen in other TV shows. I understand that most actors there are theater actors and they perform as they'd have done it in a play, but the fact that they have not transformed in any sense as an actor, is just unprofessional. Left this alone, I find casting of some of them to be inappropriate, for instance, Goga Barbakadze, who is a good comedy actor, but he as a dramatic noble does not work for me.

To conclude, Tiflisi is unsuccessful attempt to create something authentic and mostly because it fails to create an engaging story and characters one would feel some affection for.


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