In recent years, my home country has experienced a surge in Turkish soap operas. Turkish soap operas have accumulated a high level of viewership, leading them to being the most aired on some TV channels. In the afternoon, families usually watch one or two Turkish soap operas. The topics vary from impossible love stories, old traditions/customs that stop couples from being together, betrayal, a man being part of a criminal group, and a family tragedy shifting the story. Don’t get me wrong—some of these soap operas can be really enjoyable, but after watching a few of them, I could start predicting what was going to happen—at least that is what I thought. But I was so wrong! My perception completely changed when I started watching Bir Başkadır (Ethos) on Netflix. This short Turkish series took me by surprise with its complex characters, mesmerizing cinematography, and beautiful soundtrack.
Bir Başkadır (Ethos) 2020
“A slow-burn, dialogue-heavy drama from Turkey, Ethos is nonetheless an excellent and artful series well-suited to Netflix.” — this is how entertainment site Ready Steady Cut summarizes the show. Through different characters from different backgrounds and with different outlooks in life, the story slowly unfolds and we get to know each of them and understand how their lives are connected.
The story starts with Meryem going to psychologist Peri because she is experiencing some fainting episodes. Meryem comes from the village, she wears a hijab, is employed as a cleaner and lives with her brother, his wife, and their children. Peri is meticulously dressed, well-educated and seems to look down on Maryem for her beliefs. Every character in Ethos appears to represent a certain issue and the audience can easily resonate with more than one of them. Without trying to spoil how the lives of the characters intertwine with each other, I will just say that there are so many connections between them and it was very enjoyable to see these relationships unfold.
The acting is more than professional: it feels real. Some characters are clumsy, some scared, some authoritarian, or great believers. Everything they do feels genuine and as you get to know the characters one by one, you also slowly understand why they act the way they do and can’t help but sympathize.
What makes this series even more beautiful is the stunning cinematography. Everything from the shots, colors, cuts, as well as the music selection, all together make Ethos a unique series.
Bir Başkadır (Ethos) 2020
The series only had one season, but as Ready Steady Cut writes “For as long as it lasts, Ethos stylishly and excellently accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.”
I hardly ever rewatch a movie or a series, but Ethos was special and its story is worth reliving many more times.