I watched poorly. You must pay attention and I did not. I missed more than I took in and I was still mesmerized by what I saw. Russians are great story tellers and now they're telling stories as Americans do, I must say, a bit better.
The settings and locations are breathtaking. Unrealistically so. Too clean. Too simple. As comic book drawings, every element in each scene is put there for purpose. The hero's apartment is unrealistically large and far too simple. His character possesses super smell sense, greater than bloodhounds and with exceptional analytical ability. He comprehends chemical compounds, their purpose in manufacturing and their locations and years of production. He wears a nose filter that he removes with a pinch so that he can analyze a scene. When he does a picture forms from residual odor particles of a previous event as if from smoke that appear then disappear and move to re-form in another area of the room, so that outside his personal experience, he is viewed by others as a nutter looking closely into something that isn't there.
The garage in his apartment basement is too large for one vehicle, to high a ceiling to be a garage in real life, his windows too expansive looking out onto a cityscape that is too glorious and too pure. It cannot be Moscow, it cannot be New York or London or Paris, nor Tokyo, no, the windows and the cityscape are a cartoon. His ability is superhero ability. His wife is super-bitch wife. There is no wife that sharp, that short, that demanding, that dismissive, that accusative, that obnoxious who lives. You despise her instantly then marvel at the actress who can pull it off. And you know her extremism is presented so the opposite can be shown, so you wait for the moment she becomes vulnerable. Sure enough, she gets hurt and needs help, but the viewer is inured by her abuse so gives her no sympathy. No matter how long she puts up an act of being vulnerable by being pregnant, the viewer is waiting for her to revert to form and she satisfies that expectation too. A bit predictable, but still very good acting, and the actress makes you despise her just for being the character she plays. I love this actress because her range is so fantastic.
All these characters appear harsh at first because they are Russian, the police officer friend of the hero, their boss in his own splendid and unrealistic office, an architectural thing of brutalist beauty, unlike depictions of Russia we've seen. Everywhere that they go, the airport, the docks, medical institutions, restaurants, are all splendidly worked out, each one down to the last detail. There is never anything extraneous in any single frame. The whole thing is put together that tightly.
The imagination is impressive. Like Dune, the writers take one thing, increased sense of smell, and allow their imaginations to run rampant around the ramifications stemming from that, how that affects a man's relationships, how that would interfere and prevent relationships from happening, what others would have to tolerate from him, how he would fashion his life around this ability, how it would help him and others, how it would hurt him and hurt others, what happens when it's shut off by injury, the unwanted intimate things it reveals, how that messes him up just getting along. How his simple statements of fact shock other people imagining they have privacy. What foods he can eat, which foods would repulse him. How that affects living with others. How his wife barging in on him and removing her shoes drives him nuts, and how he handles such things. How the simple presence of cats completely messes him up. It's fascinating just watching how the writers develop this one single change. They're brilliant by all the subtle touches they toss into the script. He makes a perfume for his girlfriend that is perfect for her, his ex-wife befriends her and leans in to smell it. "Nothing. I think he's just messing with you." His best perfume matched to a woman with perfection is so subtle that it doesn't even exist as scent for other people. Come on! That's hilarious.
Nearly every location has electronic surveillance, an array of monitors and guards watching. Quite a lot of reliance on electronics, technology and especially cell phones. There is a futuristic quality to locations, automobiles and costuming.
The opening scenes grab your attention and make you want to stick with it. Each episode is long. Nearly an hour.
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