SPOILER ALERT: Economic crisis, armored vehicles on the streets, people being forcibly taken to quarantine. It's all the fault of a virus whose first symptoms are babbling, and only one person is immune to it. Do not worry. No masks, no hand washing, no two weeks quarantine.
Instead, people wear headphones and try to protect their ears from the semantic virus. Another Netflix surprise comes from the Bosphorus, in the form of the science-fantasy series "Hot Skull" (originally "Sicak Kafa"), and it is an adaptation of Afsin Kum's novel of the same name from 2016.
The creator of the series is Mert Baykal, and for those who perceive Turkish production exclusively through soap operas, we remind you that in the last two years, Netflix has realized a number of notable and genre-diverse series that we wrote about, such as "Ethos" and "Fatma".
The horrors of the past and the hopelessness of the future
The birds still fly high, the sea is still salty, but nothing is the same anymore. Former linguist Murat Siyavus (Osman Sonant) is one of the few not affected by the disease and hides in the house of his demanding mother Emel (Tilbe Saran).
He listens to an audio recording from small cassettes, and then measures his temperature. Murat's head heats up when he's exposed to babbling and that's why he's immune to the virus. His skull is on fire (as in the title) while the rest of his body shows a normal temperature.
He has all kinds of symptoms, he hallucinates, he shakes, but he doesn't get the disease that makes people wear noise canceling headphones on the streets of Istanbul. An organization called the Anti-Epidemic Institution (AEI) implements repressive measures, creating safe zones and enforcing curfews.
Murat could not remain hidden for long, because he was pursued by those who were already infected. Senior AEI officer Anton Kadir Tarakc? (Sevket Coruh) leads a team that forces Murat to leave the safe zone to investigate the long-term effects of the disease.
Although Netflix has dealt with viruses of all kinds in the past period, "Hot Skull" brings the story of a completely new virus through eight episodes. In the way of imagining and presenting such a world affected by the epidemic, we came to an interesting production design, but also some situations that seem unconvincing.
People are not careful enough, they do not choose to write more than to speak, and they are exposed to diversion of every kind in the sense that they can be infected at any moment by some penetrating noise. With the intriguing first episode, "Hot Skull" develops a good plot and arouses great interest among viewers, so as such it could become a big hit and jump over all language barriers.
The essence of the Netflix project has an idealistic idea. The world is ruled by an epidemic of madness, and only one man is enough to save it. That's why "Hot Skull" is very current scientifically - a fantastic story that is at the same time optimistic, no matter how much it doesn't seem so at first glance.
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