(Watch the teaser at your own discretion as it does give away some of the story.)
I had never heard of "Beartown" until a week or so ago on Twitter. A couple of followers suggested it so I looked into it. Based on a 2016 novel, "Beartown" is about a former NHL player who returns to his Swedish hometown to coach the local junior team and all that entails. But it's about much more than a hockey team. The series also shows the many ripple effects of having a team of kids that the locals put on a pedestal and how it effects the community as a whole.
I watched the first episode and was hooked. It opens with a striking scene in a gorgeous, snow-covered forest of a person being hunted down by somebody with a rifle before the title card comes up. I'm not usually crazy about potentially spoilerish beginings but this one intrigued me. Then we jump back a bit to see the coach and his family arriving in town for his new gig. Ulf Stenberg does a phenomenal job portraying the surly, demanding coach Peter Andersson, who seems to have some bitterness about his pro career. He's coaching his asshole neighbor's talented kid (the two men have a history) while navigating the pain-in-the-ass politics of being the head coach. He also stepped into a job with a ton of pressure as the team has been in decline for awhile and in danger of closing up shop.
Episode Two just dropped last night and has a pretty brutal scene that the series pivots on and puts the rest of the season into motion. Hockey will still be a part of the show. But we also have asshole hockey parents, locker room bullies, a dash of WHIPLASH, deranged & entitled kids, and other assorted aspects of sports and small-town culture that the series will shine a light on. Not to mention the hunting scene that opens the series. And we're only two episodes in with three to go.
Though set in Sweden, I'm guessing there will be some Canadian towns pulling on their collar watching this. THE MIGHTY DUCKS this aint. If you're looking for a new show, HBO Europe got you.