Do we now have to be afraid that the small but currently extremely fine series food offering boutique streamer AppleTV+ will say goodbye to algorithm-driven Netflix realms? The badly battered streaming giant is criticized, among other things, because it cancels high-quality series formats, while regional and target group-driven but not really convincing series flood the watch lists. One could at least suspect this new focus on countries and target groups at Apple if one dives a few centimeters too deep into the serial cosmos that “20 Years” opens up for us.

    Then the bilingual (and in the dubbed version presumably completely Germanized) series seems like a crude mixture of the world hit formats “House of Money” and “Yellowjackets” – whereby the team behind Spanish hit series like “Velvet” or “Grand Hotel” den penchant for melodramatics and absurd cliffhangers from the former, the (almost) complete plot of the latter.

    In short: 20 years after a tragic accident, the paths of five once hopeful Latin American immigrant children cross again in today’s Miami. The reason: A high school reunion, in the context of which the events of 20 years ago become an issue again. The once conspired gang of five was originally six – and someone is trying to monetize what they know about the unfortunate decimation. So the great guesswork begins among the closeted ex-and-again friends. Especially since one (an ambitious politician) or the other (a drug-addicted plastic surgeon) definitely has something to lose. They all have only one thing in common: Apparently deep feelings of guilt, a lack of empathy and an almost morbid ambition that makes it difficult for the viewer to sympathize with anyone other than the police officer (Rosie Perez) who is investigating “Once & Now” (and of course has cancer).

    So far, so telenovela. What makes “20 Years” increasingly annoying, despite all the cliffhanger-driven pull effect, is the failure to work out the contrast between the dreams of yesteryear and today’s reality more strongly or to differentiate themselves structurally more clearly from last year’s surprise hit “Yellowjackets”. It (unfortunately) doesn’t help much that none other than the Israeli series legend Gideon Raff (“Hatufim”, “Homeland”, “Tyrant”) directs the series start and finale and actors like Perez and de Tavira (“Roma”) even have Oscar nominations. The narrative robber’s pistol seems too calculated, too market-oriented and redundant. In the series catalog published by the Apple strategists so far, it looks like a foreign body smuggled in by the competition. (from May 20th, every Friday, AppleTV+)

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