Carmen Curlers Season 1: A Non-Spoiler Review

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Poster for Carmen Curlers. Woman in background hands on hips. Man in foreground hands held wide. Golden foil, curlers and the words Carmen Curlers lower part.


Carmen Curlers (2022-) is a Danish TV series which became available on Ch4 Walter Presents U.K. on Friday, the 6th of October 2023. It has 8 episodes of 54 minutes – 1 hour in length. Guidance rating. In Danish with embedded subtitles.


“Follows wiz entrepreneur Axel, who decides to recruit women from the neighbouring farms for his production of electronic hair curlers.” IMDb


Morten Hee Andersen as Axel Byvang
Maria Rossing as Birthe Windfield
Nicolai Jørgensen as Frans
Lars Ranthe as Jørgen
Mille Lehfeldt as Vita
Fanny Leander Bornedal as Kathrine
Kaya Toft Loholt as Kirsten
Signe Egholm Olsen as Karen
Petrine Agger as Edith
Christian Tafdrup as Poul


Creator: Mette Heeno
Writers: Mette Heeno, Anna Bro, Andreas Garfield, Søren E. Jensen (loosely inspired by “Carmen” by), Line Mørkeby
Directors: Natasha Arthy, Lisa Jespersen, Josefine Kirkeskov, Christian Tafdrup
Composer: Jesper Mechlenburg
Cinematographers: Niels Buchholzer, Jasper Spanning, Balthazar Hertel, Jørgen Johansson
Editors: Sofie Marie Kristensen, Cathrine Ambus, Anna Heide, Cathrine Odgaard, Janne Bjerg Sørensen
Costume Designer: Rebecca Richmond


I remember Carmen Curlers, in fact, I think I had a set. This is just one reason why this Danish series appealed to me the minute I heard about it (long before it appeared on Walter Presents). Once I knew who was going to be in the cast (yes, I knew about it THAT long ago!) I was even more sold on it. Finally, I knew precisely nothing about the history of Carmen Curlers!

I loved the way that the story of this product is told, boring it certainly isn’t. And although there’s a tremendous amount of attention paid to period details (more on that later) there are also these off-the-wall highly theatrical scenes where people break into dance. The danger with this approach is that some viewers will hate it, perhaps because it breaks “reality”, but I loved it exactly for this reason (amongst others).

The acting in this, the depth of character and their arcs is a very strong and positive aspect. Certainly, our main protagonist is not the easiest person to like at times, but I don’t need a protagonist to be likeable, I need them to be “real”. I loved the supporting characters. Even if I disagreed with some of their decisions I could still see why they made them. These are often flawed individuals.

The way that social situations, mores and attitudes of the time (horrific at times) are integrated into the story via the characters is very well done and feels organic. So too does the dialogue.

I mentioned the attention to period detail earlier and to return to that aspect of this production I was very impressed with the costumes and hairstyles and the decor. Add to this the locations including vehicles and signage along with the soundtrack there’s strength in depth for creating the whole atmosphere.

One thing else I loved in this was the direction which had a clear unity to it despite a variety of directors. The cinematography (this is how to use a camera) is great as is the whole production design. The choice of colour palettes is another very good part of this series.

My favourite episode (and this was stiff competition) was episode 6, which was practically a stand-alone episode. I thought this was outstanding. From the writing to the performances, the shock of the attitudes of the time, the level of threat, and the subtle and conflicted emotions… this was a very moving episode.

Worth watching? Overall I really enjoyed Carmen Curlers. Whilst the barebones of the story could, perhaps, have been covered in fewer episodes I appreciated that we got to know these people and the context in which they lived and loved very well. Roll on season 2 (pun fully intended)!


3 Award Wins & 4 Nominations

Wins: Danish Film Awards (Robert) (2023) ~ Maria Rossing ~ Best Actress TV Series; Best TV Series; Best Supporting Actor TV Series ~ Nicolai Jørgensen

Nominations: Danish Film Awards (Robert) (2023) ~ Morten Hee Andersen ~ Best Actor TV Series; Best Supporting Actor TV Series ~ Lars Ranthe


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