A new Turkish series which combines familial drama with symbolic mystery to mixed effect.
True to form, Netflix aren’t shy about releasing a tricky international series when their English-language heavy hitters (the second seasons of both Lost in Space and You) are still doing the rounds over the holiday season. The latest is The Gift, aka Atiye, a Turkish mystery adapted from the novel Dünyan?n Uyan??? by ?engül Boyba?. It isn’t a welcoming piece of work, blending familial drama with enigmatic, symbolic mystery, and boasting a sometimes glacial pace that keeps its eight forty-odd-minute episodes more of a chore to sit through than they otherwise might be.
The titular Atiye (Beren Saat) is a painter is Istanbul; the symbols she daubs in her apartment match those of an archaeological discovery. Drawn by the similarities, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery that’ll be the main pull for those looking to persevere with this series. It’s an intriguing one, frontloading many questions but few answers, though The Gift is better at laying this inscrutable breadcrumb trail than it is at developing its characters whenever the pace flags — which, unfortunately, is often.
Still, thanks to some handsome production design, a compelling core mystery and reliable snippets of narrative development even when the show is at its slowest, Atiye might well drag an audience through to its conclusion — providing they’re lenient with wonky pacing, the odd cliche, and a deliberately enigmatic style.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.