As a first for Turkish entertainment, Cagatay Ulusoy starrer Netflix original The Protector dropped its first season on the platform, available in all territories at the same time. With 10 episodes ranging from ~30 - 45 minutes, the series successfully breaks away from the typical genre we expect from Turkish diziland.
A superhero series that is better aligned with a hero's journey that we expect to see in a Marvel series, The Protector tells the story of Hakan Demir, played by Cagatay, who is an ordinary boy suddenly thrust into an extraordinary world due to his unknown heritage of being bestowed with the powers, and the responsibility, to defend Istanbul from the malicious intent of the Immortals. Requiring three talismanic items for his mission - an Ottomanic shirt, a knife and a ring, Hakan is assisted by his army of the Loyal Ones, headed by Professor Kemal and his daughter, Zeynep.
Inspired by the book trilogy Karakalem by N. Ipek Gokdel, a Turkish female producer and author, the series deviates significantly from the characters and plots in the book, but one thing is constant. Both follow the journey of an ordinary young man who must learn to triumph over the unknown, utilizing his own cleverness and inner strengths.
Cagatay's new avatar as Hakan paints him well as a precious young man, who finds himself in a new world without any warning, grappling with losses and trying to understand how to live up to his destiny. As a new kind of production by Turkish filmmakers, the series does a good job of showcasing the grandeur of Istanbul while following the many action-packed adventures of Hakan and his followers.
The Protector does not even attempt to emulate the traditionally slow pace of storytelling that unfolds an epic love story, which is the hallmark of dizi stories. The show targets and delivers to a younger audience and, for what it is, the story imbibes a very Turkish way of storytelling in how family love and loyalty is shown. It is an entertaining watch, the story moves quickly, and it is great fun to see Cagatay be a completely different persona than the self-assured Sarp Yilmaz the fans remember from his last dizi stint in Icerde.
If you are still wondering if you should give it a try, watch the official trailer for Season 1 below (released on November 14, 2018). We can only hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!
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