Monday, December 5, 2016

Merlí Season 1 Netflix Series Review

Merlí (2015-)
Season 1 - 13 episodes (2015 TV3/ 2016 Netflix)
Merli Season 1
Watch Merlí on Netflix
Created by: Héctor Lozano
Starring: Francesc Orella, David Solans, Pere Ponce
Rating: TV-14/PG-13

Plot
In this Catalan language series, Merlí is a high school philosophy teacher who encourages students to think outside the box. His unorthodox methods causes concerns from parents and teachers.

Verdict
I've only watched the first five episodes. I like the premise with an unorthodox teacher, but as the season continued, I realized Merlí is selfish and petty, using philosophy as an excuse or explanation depending on the situation.
This becomes very soap opera with tangled relationships, and while Merlí is helping students, that feels like a coincidence rather than the focus.
Due to time constraints, I'm reviewing what I've see, but I would like to continue watching this and update this review. Based on what I've seen, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. I have legitimate concerns that this will just focus more on drama instead of a teacher that helps students. With each episode Merlí seems to care less about students and more about furthering his own machinations. In five episodes it's heading that way, and my verdict is on the verge of being a 'Skip it.' With just one more episode, it easily could swing that way.
It depends.

Review
The premise feels a lot like Dead Poet's Society (1989), with the added twist that his son is in his class. Each episode is named after a philosopher.
As this continued it was less about an inspiring teacher and more about a selfish man that uses his knowledge to justify his actions. This calls into question why he's even teaching. It doesn't seem like it's for the student.

This is Merlí.
When Merlí's wife is going to take custody of their son, he gets a job as a substitute teacher so the family won't split. He's a passionate philosophy teacher that talks to children like they're adults. He's fresh and the students respond to that, but you have to wonder about his motives.

He tells another teacher how beautiful she is, commenting that he wants nothing more he is just sharing his thoughts. I wondered if this was going to try to break social standards that telling a woman that means you're flirting with her. I was about to applaud the show for that before I realized Merlí is a liar. He does like this woman that's half his age and devises a plan to win her over. I don't fault that he likes her, but his plan works and they end up together despite the fact she already has a boyfriend. I was with the show until this happened, in the first episode no less. It just seems silly. I get that attitude can overcome looks, but this happens way too fast without any buildup.

Merlí is also petty. he starts a feud with an English teacher Eugeni because Merlí doesn't approve of his methods. Merlí is arrogant. He's going to have his son cheat on the English teacher's exam just to get back at him.
In episode two it turns more into a soap opera. Merlí's student Pol's girlfriend lies about a pregnancy to stop a breakup. This is on top of Merlí and Laia the teacher half his age who just can't quit Merlí. That's the biggest mystery of this show. He claims it's not his problem if she cheats. He's despicable, using rhetoric to weasel out of responsibility. Everything he's done has been selfish.
The soap opera continues as Pol is told by Merlí's son Bruno that his girlfriend isn't pregnant. Merlí's son spills the information about Laia to her boyfriend the gym teacher.

Laia is upset that everyone knows about her and Merlí, but he doesn't care. He got what he wanted. Bruno is getting picked on by the Eugeni because of Merlí, having failed a test he should have passed. Eugeni tries to turn the other teachers against Merlí, while Merlí lets one of his students, Joan, take the fall for him. This isn't quite what I thought it would be. It seems he's inspiring the students, but only by accident. Joan's father thinks Merlí is brainwashing his son, and he might be right. While Merlí is helping an agoraphobic student, I have a suspicion he's doing that to negotiate a full time position.

With each episode I liked Merlí less. I thought he was going to be an inspiring teacher, but his whole persona could quickly turn into a facade. He's taking advantage of everyone. He's started a feud with another teacher, that I'm willing to bet he'll use that for sympathy. A student has already lied to protect Merlí, with Merlí not concerned whatsoever. All of his actions are selfish. This just feels more wrong when he's potentially cheating kids and you know he'll try to turn that into a philosophy lesson as to why it was right he threw them under the bus to save himself.

26 comments :

  1. The show is not in Spanish. It is in Catalan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've updated my review for accuracy.

      Delete
    2. You can change the audio to Spanish. I really enjoyed it.

      Delete
    3. How can I watch Merli in Canada?I ve tried netflix, I couldnt fint it, thanks

      Delete
  2. Finished the whole first season on Netflix. You should continue watching it if you haven't already. It gets better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know it gets better!
      I want to get back to it, but Netflix is release a LOT of content this week!

      Delete
  3. We watched the whole series and we are hoping for season 2. The mix of philosophy and real life issues of the students is amazing. We found ourselves laughing, crying, champions and cheerleaders of this collection of characters come together. Yes Merli is arrogant, self serving, careless however i found myself wishing I had this good of a teacher in high school. The show was fabulous we want more

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. This is a fantastic series!

      Delete
    2. I am really hoping Netflix will broadcast Season 2 as it has been completed with 13 episodes. I loved this series.

      Delete
  4. This is a great series and I hope there will be a Season 2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there is a season 2, it's just not up on Netflix yet :(

      Delete
    2. there is a season 2, it's just not up on Netflix yet :(

      Delete
  5. I've already seen season 2 but I just wanted to ask, are there like English subtitles or voiceover?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Netflix has English subtitles, no English voice over or dub.

      Delete
  6. I believe this reviewer missed the whole point of the series and the very human touch the unreliable protagonist brings to the lives of his students. Yes, he can be annoyingly self-absorbed, but that's a large part of the entertainment value of this clever new series. Anchoring each episode to a philosopher or school of philosophy and then playing it out in the classroom and everyday life brings new life to even the dullest thinkers. I'm hoping for a second season.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I appreciate and respect the opinion of this reviewer BUT I too think he misses the point. Merli is indeed a selfish, opportunistic, promiscuous bastard, but he is ALSO a special teacher. I don't know why people insist that stories about teachers only should feature inspiring saints. Sinners can also be positive inspirations. It is clear that, with all his flaws, Merli IS an innovative, inspirational teacher. His obnoxious, often unappealing humanness only makes the story more real, more true. Complaining about Merli's being "despicable" is like the critic who once objected to "All in the Family" because it wasn't "Father Knows Best," thereby entirely missing the point. I LOVE this series because, for all its overly dramatic soap operatic elements, it rings true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt... Indeed!

      I especially appreciate the positive, wholesome & often idealistic values & perspectives underlying the series while still creating something realistic and believable- as opposed to giving us "perfect" characters dealing with irrelevant & contrived nonsense!

      Delete
  8. This is an excellent series! Love the cast and very smart writing! Glad to hear there is a season 2.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I loved the series! Where can I see season 2?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can watch the entire second season on the website of the network that produces the show (www.ccma.cat). Just Google: "Merlí TV3" and you'll find it. Second season begins with 'capítol 14'... (This first season is no longer available for viewing there).

      Delete
    2. Can you translate it at the web page? I need the English!

      Delete
  10. @ Cross the Netflix Stream: Thank you for sharing your review of Merlí and bringing it more exposure! I also am of the opinion that your judgement of Merlí (character & series) is rather harsh and premature, and ultimately not a very good or accurate assessment- you did at least clearly state that your exposure was limited and your verdict not final.

    I lived in Catalunya (with some foreign-exchange classmates) for a while not long after high school and it has always held a special place in my heart since. Watching Merlí has been a delightful & nostalgic reminder of that special land!

    I think this series is fantastic! The writer(s) handle a broad range of relevant, 'hot' topics in a very unique, realistic, clever and entertaining way. The acting is top-notch- they really make you feel what they are feeling!
    I certainly do NOT like or agree with many of the choices and behaviors of lots of the characters- but that's life! ..not fair, quite often not fun, frustrating- but also full of surprise, beauty, wonder & joy!
    That is basically what this show is about... LIVING! with a focus on learning to think in new, different ways, and understanding other perspectives- expanding ones horizons!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Incredible series. As a teacher I can attest that this is about as true to life as it gets.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The initial reviewer sadly doesnt get it. This serious is amazing. We binged it and NEED more, currently scouring the net to find season two. Will actually pay! Haha. Once you accept Merli's unorthodox behavior, and shakes up everything, you get to appreciate this series. One of the best on any network or carrier. Take a deep inhale and enjoy life!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Loved it, loved it!!!!!! It is the best, inspiring, funny, touching series I have seen in a long time. Refreshing and enojable in every way. Great acting, great story.

    ReplyDelete

Blogger Widget