Stream it or skip it?

One of the things we love about reviewing international TV series is that we discover neighborhoods we’ve never heard of. We went to Mexico City, for example, but we didn’t know a neighborhood like La Condesa existed. So it’s fun to see a series about it, with two artists trying to make things work together and with each other. Oh, and there’s a cute dog too.

AMSTERDAM: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening shot: A “REC” button on the screen. A mouse pointer clicks on it and a tattooed hand starts playing a riff on a keyboard.

The essential: Nadia (Naian González Norvind), an actress, and Martín (Sebastián Buitrón), a musician, live together in the trendy neighborhood of La Condesa in Mexico City. They’ve been together for a while, which can be seen in their often tense interactions. When Martín inadvertently wakes Nadia while recording riffs, the two have a bitter exchange that leads Martín to go to a bar to hang out with friends.

As he walks towards the bar, a scruffy dog ​​starts following him and waits for him until he comes out at closing time. Then the puppy follows him to his apartment. Saw the WhatsApp messages with Nadia, they decide to take him home, feed him and take him to the vet the next day. Hope it belongs to someone.

But the presence of the dog lightens the mood between the two. And the as-yet-unnamed dog becomes the center of their day. Nadia passes an audition at the cinema, encouraging her friend Violeta (Danae Reynaud), who passes the same role. She also goes through a publicity audition, where she has to kiss three different possible co-stars. One of them, Andy (Sebastián Aguirre), directs an independent film, knows his work, and offers him a role.

Martín, who works as a sound engineer, meets Marina (Ximena Romo), an old friend, and there is an obvious attraction. He also finds himself drawn to Laura (María Evoli), the vet he takes the dog to, especially when she answers the door to his store at closing time, looking ready for a night out.

But when Martín and Nadia bring the dog home, they have a moment together that they haven’t had in a long time. They call it Amsterdam, after the name of the street where Martín found it.

amsterdam
Picture: HBO Max

What shows will this remind you of? The slow atmosphere and slice of life of amsterdam certainly gives us the same feeling as shows like master of nothing.

Our opinion : It seems that the initial plot of amsterdam, written and directed by Gustavo Taretto, has to do with the dog that seems to bring Nadia and Martín closer together after a period when the couple simply didn’t connect. But it’s about something bigger than that. It’s about a couple of artists who try to understand their life apart and together in this trendy and historic district. It clearly shows what life is like in a section of Mexico City that few people outside of Mexico know about, including lots of great visuals.

We’re a bit concerned about the pacing. Shows like this sometimes tend to forget that they need some narrative momentum to keep people watching, even if the writing is solid and the performances naturalistic and engaging. Certainly, amsterdam has both. We believe Norvind and Buitrón as a couple who love each other but are fed up with each other. At some point, Nadia tells Violeta that she has no intention of breaking up with Martín, and we believe her. Just because there’s tension doesn’t mean both ends of a couple don’t want things to work out. And that vibe is more than evident in the first episode.

There are hints that there will be this narrative momentum in the first season, even if it happens at a leisurely pace. Martín meeting Marina will be explored, as will his attraction to Laura. From Nadia’s side, it looks like she will definitely get involved professionally with Andy and his film. Whether or not this gets personal remains to be seen, but it will certainly have an impact on Martín and Nadia.

But Amsterdam too. Sometimes having someone to care for, whether it’s a child or a furry baby, takes people’s attention away from themselves and others and eases tension. As the pooch becomes more integrated into the couple’s life, we will see how their interactions will change. We just hope not to quit the boredom before it happens.

Sex and skin: Nadia is naked in the shower when the dog surprises her, but you can’t really see anything.

Farewell shot: The pair sing a song that Martín wrote and they have more fun together than they have in some time.

Sleeping Star: Three different dogs are credited with Amsterdam, and they’re all adorable. Can you say we’ve been wanting to get a dog lately?

The most pilot line: Martín puts Nutella on bread for breakfast, then eats a little in Amsterdam. Doesn’t he know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs? And how does Amsterdam not get sick?

Our call: SPREAD IT. Despite its slow pace and somewhat heavy hipster vibe, amsterdam is a sweet story about a longtime couple just trying to make it in one of Mexico City’s most creative neighborhoods.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s not fooling himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.

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