Thieves of the Wood Season 1 Review: The Flemish Bandits

By Daniel Hart
Published: January 2, 2020 (Last updated: December 4, 2023)
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Netflix Series Thieves of the Wood Season 1


Thieves of the Wood Season 1 is a rich versus poor story of Flemish bandits, highlight a grim, depressing and violent world where the oppressed fight back.

Netflix Series Thieves of the Wood Season 1 immerses itself in the Flemish region of Aalst in 1747. It’s clear from the first chapter that the population is stricken by poverty and illnesses. The village looks worn and shrouded by military objectives rather than focusing on the wellbeing of the people. There is talk of an increase of tax to build new roads and a Mayor barely understanding the mechanics of their dwindling finances. Thieves of the Wood sets the scene of a depressed world where the poor are encouraged to steal from each other rather than question the rich who are keeping everything for themselves.

Thieves of the Wood is murky-looking. Its grey overlay displays a bitter reality of the time and the desperation of the villagers. The poor and the sick have been exiled; banished and forced to live in the woods nearby. The Belgian Netflix series is a fine example of what happens when you push the disadvantaged into a corner — they rightfully plot, plan, and revolt.

Thieves of the Wood does introduce us to a couple of lead characters, one of them being Jan, who manages to blag his way through the village and find his half-brother in a forest who is leading a gang of robbers. Jan is intriguing — he has a grim appearance but has visions of an ideal world. There is also Baru, who lives amongst the rich authority, attempting to find a way to reform the town.

Thieves of the Wood Season 1 is a war story between the rich and the poor, with the poor finding ways to reverse their fortunes while the rich attempt to continue with their plans at the expense of their villagers. The Netflix series manages to truly capture the time, with escalating violence and a terrible sense of reality for those at the bitter end of abusive power. It’s worth adding to your list.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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