Love & Anarchy – Full Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2  -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3  -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5

 

Love & Anarchy is a series that could be great. On paper at least, this Swedish drama has some decent ideas and a story that lends itself nicely to a few laughs and chuckles. Unfortunately all of this is undermined by weak character work, some disappointing plotting and a lack of memorable segments across the season.

The story revolves around career-driven Sofie, a woman who arrives at Lund Publishing with big plans to modernize the company. Married with two kids, she juggles her time at home with trying to push this company forward. However, she winds up flirtatiously involved with IT engineer Max who encourages her to unleash the anarchist side of her in a game of Dare that spreads across the season.

With good chemistry between the pair, the show then deep dives into their growing romance while Sofie tries to pretend like everything is okay at home, doing her best to keep her marriage intact. All of this builds up to the finale which leaves everything wide open and question marks over the direction of the show if it is renewed.

Love & Anarchy doesn’t really do anything particularly original or new that we haven’t seen before in this genre. The characters are pretty archetypal, sporting all the usual suspects including clueless boss Ronny, bumbling Friedrich and the severely under-utilized lesbian Denise. All of these characters essentially rely on Sofie to save their business, propping her up as the savior of this company.

The self-titled Love & Anarchy refers to Sofie’s previous book she was working on until she went to business school. This past life is something that’s touched on a little but never really grows into anything interesting to work with in the script.

After all, the idea of an aspiring writer working at a publishing house has a sense of poetic irony about it. The show could have shown her reading various manuscripts and growing a passion for writing, eventually evolving and saving the company through her own literary pieces.

Alas, that’s not the case and instead the show focuses on its characters; in particular the bubbling affair between Max and Sofie. The only problem is none of the characters really grow or evolve across the season.

In fact, that’s a problem almost every character is plagued with across the show. With the exception of Friedrich, no one else has a consistent or meaningful arc. This is a particular problem when you look at the supporting characters and for all the promise of empowering females early on, it’s disappointing not to see very much of it in action here.

Stylistically, the series plays out like a typical office drama, with minimal sets and relying heavily on the dialogue to drive the narrative forward. To be fair, there’s one compelling scene involving surrealist imagery but beyond that the show is pretty simplistic in the way it’s presented.

The camera work too really leans into those zoom shots you’d expect to see in The Office or French mockumentary/drama Fais Pas Ci, Fais Pas Ca. Here though, it doesn’t really do the show any favours and gives it more of an amateurish vibe than it perhaps should.

Overall though, Love & Anarchy is an enjoyable but utterly forgettable Swedish drama. It’s a show that struggles to evolve its characters in a meaningful way and spends most of its time running in circles.

With an open ending and a relatively breezy watch-time, this is is an easy series to watch but one that struggles to stand out next to so many better options. In the end, Love & Anarchy should perhaps be renamed to Mediocre & Forgettable.


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8 thoughts on “Love & Anarchy – Full Season 1 Review”

  1. There is no justification about the husbands behavior. It’s as if the writers decided to make him look oppressive so that they finish off the season with us feeling good about Sophie’s decisions. But I don’t, no matter what I don’t. This is 21st century Sweden, she is free to do whatever she wants why do they portray her as trapped? I don’t expect the second season to be any better they messed it up pretty bad. If you want to watch a proper series about trapped marriages and oppressive childhoods go watch Korean drama like “My Mister”. Sweden used to be so far ahead in feminism and relationships in the 90s if that’s what sells there now I’m lost for words.

  2. To me as a Swede, it seems like you’ve watched a totally different story. Maybe see the original and not a dubbed version next time? Anyways, this is Sofie’s story, and her book is referenced a lot during the episodes and it is obvious that she wanted something else in life before she (too young?) met her husband and he talked her into going to business school instead of doing anything with her creative side. He is also the one that constantly tells her she’s crazy and is belittling her book in front of others. She evolves a lot during the show, by breaking free from (especially her husbands’) norms and doing things that make her happy instead of just being his “trophy wife” (as he calls her before they go to that party). Also, there are scenes with her daughter and her father, that adds to the whole “follow your heart to be happy and not let others tell you how you should live your life”-theme. So sorry that you missed the whole point.

  3. Love and Anarchy.
    Wooden acting, stilted dialogue, clumsy directing and camera work, childish and simplistic plotting.
    The gist of it all is laid on so thick I was wondering if it really could be that obvious.
    I need something to watch with some depth and intelligence and nuance.

  4. Hey there, thanks for commenting Winstonian!

    Really appreciate the kind words and of course, happy to talk about the review process and how we tend to watch things here. For me personally, I tend to have a mixture between shows watched weekly and those binged in one go – for other reviewers they’re usually skewed toward the weekly variety. Generally the streaming services release in one go so I tend to watch most of these when they release or – in the event that we’re granted early access – split that across 3 or 4 days.

    As we mostly write a full season review to accompany episode recaps, this generally tends to come later on – anywhere between a few hours and a few days/weeks after release helping to collect our thoughts and final score.

    Any of the “random” reviews you may see (ie. ones that are 2-10 years old for example) are generally watched over a long period of time during moments away from “work” content. Generally most of the episodes are watched over the space of a few days though. If you’re interested to know, the episode reviews at the end of each recap are written “in the moment”. By that I mean after each episode we write what we thought of that specific episode and any predictions for the show ahead, kind of like a watch-party of sorts.

    Hopefully that explains the process we take a bit more but we also have this page: https://www.thereviewgeek.com/thereviewgeek-review-scoring/ which explains a bit more about the scoring process in general.

    Thank you for commenting and reading the review, really appreciate it!

    -Greg W

  5. I enjoyed your review! I’m wondering did you watch everything in 1 binge, or intermittently? Are most of the reviews here done from a 1-day binge of the entire season? I think binge vs. intermittent viewing sometimes affects how we feel about characters & onscreen chemistry. Not to say one way is better, because I like doing both depending on the circumstances, but there is at least a little difference in the viewing experience when you binge vs not.

    I feel some series may be significantly ‘better’ when binged, while others are better when watched on a weekly episode schedule. It probably doesn’t make that much of a difference one way or the other for most series. I don’t know. So anyway I was curious about that.

  6. Hey Robert,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, it’s always good to hear feedback whether it’s good or bad. In terms of the different components of the review, camera angles can usually tell you quite a lot about the make-up of a series and set the tone, along with music and the story itself of course. Our reviews tend to be a little different to how others write their full season write-ups, as we look at the technicality of shots and how something is made along with narrative consistency. Hopefully this clarifies our review process but thank you for reading all the same Robert, really appreciate the feedback!

    Let’s hope Love & Anarchy is renewed for a second season!

    -Greg W

  7. There are tons of forgettable mediocre series and films on Netflix but this is not one of them. Your shallow article, missed entirely the main premise of the series, focuses on odd things like the camera angles and the underutilized lesbian? What? Well, if it is renewed maybe we’ll learn more. Thx.

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