The dangers of a long-running TV series

By acquiring the broadcasting rights from the wonderful friend, Club illico was a real success.

The readers and especially the readers of Elena Ferrante’s tetralogy were too numerous for the series not to be a listening success. I didn’t know enough Italian to see it in its original version, but illico’s French version is impeccable.

My wife Maryse had read the four volumes of The wonderful friend. I had given up for the same reason I didn’t read Harry Potter and so many other books that exceed 700 or 800 pages. This is my ultimate limit. This is also why I did not read the new translation of the Bible, kindly sent to me by my fellow scholar Léo Laberge, an Oblate who contributed to the 3,186 pages!

The wonderful friend is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym), an author who surrounds herself with secrets and who has never been able to interview on television. It is said that she is 79 years old, was born in Naples and has children. It is also said that it is not her, but her husband, the writer Domenico Starnone! Anyway, the series is based on unbreakable friendship, but oh so tormented! about two little girls who grow up in a slum of Naples in the 1950s and whose lives ultimately take very different paths.


To be honest, the 16 episodes of the first two seasons blew me away. I even watched the first season three times in a couple of weeks – which is extremely rare – and the second twice in the same week. I rediscovered the images of Naples that I had visited in the late 1950s and, above all, I discovered a way of writing screens that no series had accustomed me to. Long, emotionally charged sequences interspersed with scenes of incredible violence, heartbreaking music and an almost loving relationship between the two girls, characterized by mood swings that are as violent as they are unpredictable. The first two seasons didn’t borrow from any series I knew. It was a discovery.

I just watched the third season. She disappointed me a little. The two female stars Elena (played by Margherita Mazucco) and Lila (played by Gaia Girace) are still fascinating, but things get a little confusing and drag on. Far fewer scenes take place outdoors, causing us to lose the fabulous landscapes of the Neapolitan coast and Tuscany.


In order to stick to current topics, we deal with sexism and violence against women. The two protagonists try to escape the patriarchy that still prevails in the working-class milieu to which Lila belongs and among the bourgeois that make up Elena’s new world. In the background, the screenwriters paint a summary picture of the 1970s, when Italian communists and fascists engage in skirmishes that leave dead people on the sidewalk.

When I watch a long series, I always end up getting bored. That’s why Luc Dionne remains my hero. I managed to maintain my interest for 720 episodes. Even when I noticed certain strings and processes that were repeated, Dionne always managed to grab my attention. district 31 remains an exception for me. Maybe I should refrain from series with more than 20 episodes, since I have refrained from novels with 800 pages!

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