It seems I did this all wrong. I found myself browsing Netflix and came across a series called “Berlin.” Well, obviously, I was intrigued. My love of any and all things Berlin (the German city)-related led me to push play on the first episode and I quickly realized that it has nothing at all to do with Berlin, the city. But, by then, I was already hooked. It turns out Berlin the series is a prequel spin-off of a massively popular Spanish series called Money Heist, which aired from 2017 to 2021. Funnily enough, Money Heist has been sitting on my list of shows I’ve been meaning to get to, as I remember hearing a lot of buzz about it a few years ago. I had no idea, as I found myself getting sucked into this charming and addictive little Spanish series Berlin, that it had ties to that massive Money Heist franchise. For me, it was simply a clever and well-made show, appealing enough all on its own.
There were good and bad things about not knowing anything before I started watching Berlin. The bad thing is that I missed all the easter eggs and inside jokes that are obviously littered throughout. There were some key moments that felt like the audience was being winked at and character reveals that are done in overly dramatic ways, so I know the effectiveness of those were lost on me. However, the good part of watching this series before seeing any of the original first was I was able to enjoy it as a blank slate, with no preconceptions, no expectations. I compare it to, say, watching the Breaking Bad movie, El Camino, as a stand-alone experience. How would that movie play to someone who had never seen a single episode of Breaking Bad? Could it stand on its own? Would the audience care? Isn’t that the test of any movie or television series—it’s not about what it is, but how good it is.