No Man’s Land season 1 review – a gritty war thriller that could easily be Hulu’s staple series A dangerous trek to Syria.

November 17, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Hulu, TV Reviews
4

Summary

No Man’s Land could very well be a staple of Hulu — it has a slight thriller aspect of Homeland while maintaining the grit and emotions of war.

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4

Summary

No Man’s Land could very well be a staple of Hulu — it has a slight thriller aspect of Homeland while maintaining the grit and emotions of war.

This review of Hulu’s No Man’s Land season 1 contains no spoilers. The drama series will be released on the streaming service on November 18, 2020. 

We have recapped every episode — check out the archive.


One of the strangest things about No Man’s Land is how absurd the story feels, despite it reflecting our very reality; schlepping off to the Middle East to join an army faction or secure an allegiance with a terrorist organization is real, but seeing it in narrative form takes a long time to sink in. The story follows Antoine, a seemingly happy Parisian man, who after planning a pregnancy with his wife has a strong hunch that his sister Anna is alive after seeing news footage of the YPJ in Syria, and he decides to follow-up on his hunch and embark on a dangerous journey.

To give context, the YPJ is an all-female militia involved in the Syrian civil war mostly made up of Kurdish women but also holds other ethnic groups as well. Antoine’s hunch is based on seeing one of the women in the background scrunching up her hair; he strongly believes she was doing it in the same style as his sister. No Man’s Land is highly representative of the brave women soldiers who have taken it upon themselves to create their own faction in the YPJ and fight for their civilization. It’s fascinating to watch purely for that reason; we are so used to witnessing war stories that involve groups of men, that this story is a sober reminder that modern wars impact all genders with violence.

Antoine’s hunch spurs an arc of events that are emotional, violent, and reflective of the conflict in Syria. On the flip side of the story, No Man’s Land follows three best friends (Iyad, Nasser, and Paul) who are indoctrinated, and leave London to join ISIS forces in Syria. Both sides of this story follow linear events that are uniquely matched up by a single commonality that becomes clearer as the plot progresses.

No Man’s Land does not try to be an expert on the Syrian civil war; instead, it relies on the emotional and physical aspects of what the characters are going through. The Hulu series embellishes itself in terrorism ideology and the threat it has. It does not hide away from the brutalities and the impending danger that the characters face. Instead, it brings a cold reality of what revolutionary terrorism can lead to; a complete and utter disregard for human life. Amongst all this is a sorry French man desperately trying to find his sister, with who he has a murky past, and ends up in the depths of the YPJ himself. This story feels far-fetched in many ways, but that’s only because we are unable to imagine these circumstances ourselves.

In terms of production, Hulu’s No Man’s Land portrays the settings rather well; the war scenes encourage the viewer to feel the obstacles that are faced in Syrian battle zones, with the heat and dust becoming a factor. The series takes its time with the environment, with the creators markedly thinking about each scene and what it represents.

The cast is strong in No Man’s Land season 1. Special mention has to go to the female leads played by Mélanie Thierry (who plays missing sister Anna) and Souheila Yacoub (who plays YPJ soldier Sarya). While Antoine’s determination to find his sister is an influential plot point for the audience, it’s the conflicted minds of both these female characters that find an emotional engagement.

No Man’s Land could very well be a staple of Hulu — it has a slight thriller aspect of Homeland while maintaining the grit and emotions of war. The first season ends with a strong hint of a second season, so let’s hope the streaming service can muster up enough viewers to produce a deserved successor.


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