Series Mania In the Shadow of the Political Machine (review)

Series Mania In the Shadow of the Political Machine (review)

Co-written by Edouard Philippe himself, this first fiction by the former prime minister meticulously recounts the excitement of a campaign, without revolutionizing the genre.

Three years ago, Edward Philippe was at Séries Mania for a conference on series and politics, in which he confirmed that, for him, 2022 would not be the year of presidential elections but the year of serial writing. Something promised… Last night, the adaptation of his novel was presented at the 14th edition of Séries Mania, in Lille. In the darkco-written with Gilles Boyer (in 2011). The mayor of Le Havre did not make the trip to Hauts-de-France, but his series still caused an event. Because she describes with a detail rarely seen on screen the workings of the political apparatus.

No Macron at the Elysée in this version of History, which takes place in a parallel France, where the “eco-sociatist” coalition is in power. But the outgoing president is not doing well in the polls and it is the candidate of the Right who will be the favorite in the 2025 Presidential Election (yes, 2025). Precisely, it is time for the primaries within the conservative party and two tendencies are opposing each other: hard right and measured right. Against all expectations, Paul Francoeur, calm and friendly incarnation of the center-right current, won by a narrow margin, after an electronic vote which seemed to have been sabotaged. By who ? How ? In the meantime, the nominated candidate must compromise with his convictions and negotiate with the radical fringe of the party, to achieve union for the election. In this media and political battle, he can count on his team, led by his closest advisor (impeccable Swann Arlaud), a friend of 20 years, in whom Paul has complete confidence.

If it never reaches the level of excellence of The West Wing (the ultimate reference forEdward Philippe), nor even the dramaturgy of a Black Baron (the ultimate reference in the French political series), In the dark brings his contribution to the building with his methodical approach. The series describes the mysteries of power and the excitement of a campaign, taking great care to detail the machine behind the candidate, in particular the entourage, from dedicated communicators to irreplaceable advisors including the young wolves of the new world, who fuel networks. The experience of Edouard Philippe and Gilles Boyer bursts onto the screen in a few tasty scenes, like this casual discussion between Francoeur and the loser of the right. A Dantesque joust between an inflexible Melvil Poupaud and the elusive Karin Viard which gives rise to an understanding that is not at all cordial… Any resemblance with existing or former people is purely coincidental, or not.

We delight in this adaptation of reality, which confirms that the political world makes a formidable arena for series, where betrayals and Trafalgar coups are sometimes more enormous than the bloody twists of Game Of Thrones. But In the dark still fails to renew the genre.

Despite the presence ofEdward Philippe and his lifelong collaborator, Gilles Boyer, behind the scenes, the series does not stray far enough from the classic political thriller already seen elsewhere. As if Pierre Schoeller (director and showrunner) and its authors preferred to insist on fiction, to decouple it from reality as much as possible. Perhaps to avoid Edward Philippe an amalgam which seems, in any case, inevitable in view of the 2027 presidential election. No, In the dark cannot be a political series like any other and it would certainly have benefited from embracing this singularity, instead of trying to cling to the television norm.

Dans L'Ombre will be available to watch in 2024 on France 2.

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