‘Midsummer Night’ 2024 Review: A Short & Strange Norwegian Family Drama Series


The little bit I know about Midsummer is from the Ari Aster film Midsommar. I guess that says more about me than the festival itself; however, I don’t think I’m any more educated after seeing the TV show Midsummer Night. Okay, to be fair, I did learn that there’s a fire that wards off evil and a lot of drinking songs for special occasions. I suppose at the heart of it, Midsummer Night is about the succor of old age. However, in all honesty, as the show progressed, I was a little bit lost about the purpose of it. Midsummer Night is a five-part limited series about a family (and fellow friends) that meets on the special occasion of Midsummer to celebrate; however, the parental units have a little secret they’re meant to reveal on this day. For the most part, the show is set on the day of the event, but each character present has some sort of incident that has them stressed.

I suppose there’s an inevitable sorrow that looms over the first episode, but as we go through the series, you almost forget that there is a reason for this gathering other than celebration. In all honesty, when I think of “family drama,” nothing really comes to mind. As I write this, all I can remember are some Bollywood movies, such as Dil Dhadakne Do, which fit the criteria perfectly. There’s a predictable quality to Midsummer Night, but it’s not in a way that’ll make you want to turn it off. It’s a quick show to binge through, with each episode being about 25–30 minutes long. It plays out kind of theatrically, and sometimes things escalate quite randomly. I suppose what makes the show worth watching is the fact that, despite lacking the high-stakes theatrics often seen in other family dramas, its authenticity lies in its portrayal of ordinary people facing ordinary struggles, making it a relatable watch. I guess it’s a Scandinavian equivalent to the many Asian family dramas that are taking over global TV. 

I guess if this were a longer show, there’d be time to understand the characters, find favorites, and support them in their finest glory, but with five episodes, there isn’t really any emotional impact. Though the show does attempt to bring to the forefront the idiosyncrasies of each member present, it kind of leaves you a little bit unsatisfied. However, I will admit that the cast is fantastic, and each member brings nuanced performances and stands out individually. Still, it’s a formulaic drama that has your betrayals, guilt, and misunderstandings to make it entertaining rather than feeling like you’re watching a boring old family gathering. In one instance, one of the characters is presented with the dilemma of a cheating (to-be) spouse. When said character confides in their parents about the same, it becomes a conversation about moral superiority. This really threw me off because it seems the intention is to be non-judgmental, yet it’s forcing a certain idea that leads to a strange ending for the whole thing.

Can love trump all? Personally, I’m not quite sure, but I guess that’s the real message of Midsummer Night. Love yourself, love your family, and love those around you. It’s an important time to celebrate all those you care for and a time for forgiveness. Each character is on a journey of self-discovery, and I suppose we must be reminded that there’s no age for this particular kind of discovery. You can be 5 or 50 when you realize you want to learn how to swim. Still, there’s nothing trailblazing about Midsummer Night. I’ll still have forgotten it by the end of the coming week. The show suggests that we focus on ourselves even if it means it’ll hurt those we love because, at the end of the day, they’ll probably get over it and give you their support. It is quite an optimistic show. 

Visually, the five-part series has a very Scandinavian feel to it. The flower crowns for Midsummer add a special touch to the whole thing. There’s a cantankerous, brooding old man and a sweet old woman in a white dress with braids in her hair like a milkmaid. There’s a 60-year-old with a girlfriend in her late 20s, and the youngest of the lot is quite confused about being an adult. We’ve seen it all before; maybe it’s just the amalgamation that is slightly different. The scenery is beautiful and thorough. I’m not the biggest fan of strawberries, but I wanted to get my hands on that strawberry cake. 

Given that we’re stuffed with saturated OTT platforms with shows from all over the place that all mostly give us the same thing packaged in different outfits, I’d say Midsummer Night does feel like a breath of fresh air (though it’s reminiscent of a Hallmark film). The way it’s shot, occasionally you feel like something terrible’s about to happen, but don’t worry, it’s a plain old drama, so there’s no need to fear any strange unravelings. Overall, there’s a sense of belonging in Midsummer Night. As I mentioned earlier, there’s always a feeling of relatability with some or the other character, which makes it an easy, breezy watch. If you’re looking for something calming yet dramatic, something with a sense of hope and no judgment, then you can give Midsummer Night a go. For some, it may be too real, and that may make it less entertaining and more judgmental. The show is dramatic, yet there are no crazy plot twists as you would normally expect from a family drama, which feels both refreshing and a bit shocking. So, it offers a heartwarming and optimistic narrative with a positive ending, leaving you with an endearing feeling. It is, after all, a show about the endurance of family bonding and a message to keep the bond with yourself intact as well. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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