HBO Europe, the European arm of the Time Warner service, is following on the success of its first season with Season Two of Hungarian TV series ‘Aranyelet’ (‘Golden Life’).
Part thriller, part-drama and part social commentary, ‘Golden Life’ follows the adventures of an upper crust family in Budapest during the 1990’s, an era dominated by so-called wild capitalism.
“In those times, everything seemed wonderful and great, we thought it was the Promised Land, but it wasn’t. That’s what we wanted to show through the characters in these mini-series, through the mistakes they made. I see it as a matter of reflection for Hungarian society as a whole,” says the series’ executive producer Gábor Krigler.
Szabolcs Thuróczy plays the lead character, the father, who wants to go straight. But his family refuse to give up their criminal activities and their way of life, and he has to pay the price: “If you build a good network of connections over the years, even your grandchildren will have a good life with a lot of money, so they won’t have to work, because you can earn so much money this way. In this story we see how these people rob their way up the social ladder. All they have to do is lie low for a while, and then they can steal incredibly large amounts of money,” he says.
Shot in Budapest, this new season tells viewers more about the family’s past and how the sudden change of regime in post-war Hungary affected people’s lives.
The opulent lifestyle has a negative influence on the family’s teenage son, who takes a very bad turn. But, as the young actor who plays him explains, it’s not a deliberate decision on his part.
“The guy is drifting. He never wanted to be bad. The direction he takes is very different to the one he might have chosen. He’s like an inexperienced captain trying to steer a ship through a massive storm. We see him suffering, falling, crying,” says Renátó Olasz.
Actress Eszter Ónodi plays the wife. She says it was a great adventure taking on the role of this woman, who is very different to the kind of characters she usually plays.
“After the family get their hands on the first million forint, they simply can’t stop anymore. If you get used to the good life, the money, you can’t give it up that easily. It’s especially difficult for the kind of woman Janka is,” she says.
HBO is hoping the second season will follow on the success of Season 1, which beat HBO staples such as ‘Game of Thrones’ in local ratings.
‘Golden Life 2’ will air in Hungary in November.