Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Building off the back of the first Turkish Netflix Original, The Protector, Atiye is a mystery drama series that does a good job enticing you into this intriguing story. With plenty of questions floating around the entire show, Atiye oftentimes sacrifices answers in favour of familial drama that clouds over some of the early season intrigue, which is a little disappointing. Despite that though, Atiye does well to answer some of the more pressing questions hanging over this series during the finale but leaves plenty of unresolved plot threads here too, making for a bit of a conflicted watch at times.
The story itself revolves around young painter Atiye. After making her fortune selling pictures featuring strange symbols and selling them at art exhibits alongside her partner Ozan, archaeologist Erhan sends her life spinning out of control. When he discovers symbols deep in the heart of an ancient cave network matching hers, what follows is a rollercoaster ride to discover the truth, with home truths, family secrets and plenty of danger peppered in along the way.
The opening few episodes build up the layers of mystery surrounding Atiye quite well, with Erhan along for the ride, before forking slightly and dealing with several separate family issues, alongside an overarching antagonistic threat that pops up around the midway point of the show too.
Without giving too much away, the first season ultimately paves way for more sci-fi to enter next season with a finale that dives head-first into some of the more questionable elements introduced in the series. During this first season however, the series deals with a lot of its ideas in a compelling manner, answering a lot of the background questions surrounding Atiye and the symbols, whilst unfortunately doing little to actually explain the reason for this occurring or the reasoning behind some of the more explicable elements that drive the show forward.
Whether you’re invested enough to see this through for another season or not will ultimately make or break your experience with this one. It certainly doesn’t help either that the show has a tendency to career off track and introduce soap opera drama, love triangles and betrayals right when the mystery looks set to pick up the pace. Personally, this doesn’t always serve the narrative that well and I found myself itching to find out more while these characters bickered and lamented their own relationship woes. Late on a specific set of characters end up sleeping together too and although the back-end of the series does address this left-field incident quite well, the event itself still seems to come out of nowhere and feels more shocking for the sake of it than actually serving the narrative in a positive way.
Aesthetically, the show does look pretty good though and some of the wide sweeping shots of the landscape are really beautiful. The cinematography in general keeps things moving at a good speed but some of the flashback elements late on aren’t prefaced with any sort of on-screen text which feels a little jarring. While the interior shots aren’t all that interesting, some of the on-location exterior shots are truly breathtaking. Seeing sunrises and sunsets at these areas is the icing on the cake and keeps things visually appealing when the story takes a bit of a detour.
Atiye is a decent enough mystery drama series though and with 8 episodes clocking in at around 45 minutes or so, it’s not a particularly difficult show to sit through across a few evenings either. Although some of the drama does feel a bit forced and leans a bit too heavily toward soap opera and melodramatic elements, there’s just enough emphasis on the mystery itself to make this one to recommend. I’m definitely intrigued to see where this one goes next and while I’m not a big fan of the final scenes, there are just enough answers here to make for a rewarding watch. It’s not perfect, and if you’re on the fence about this one I’d wait and see what happens in the next season before taking the time investment with this. There are a few flaws with this one that are hard to shake but just enough to make this worth a watch.
Verdict - 7/10