As a mixture of family drama and mystery, the series “Another Monday” on ZDF tells a time loop story à la “And daily greets the marmot”.
Frankfurt – Tomorrow is today yesterday. But what if tomorrow was today again? Time loops have been a popular film theme since the modern classic Groundhog Day (1993); the spectrum ranges from science fiction (“Edge of Tomorrow”, 2014) to black humorous horror comedy (“Happy Deathday”, 2017). In any case, the subject is often used for tragi-comic stories, also on German television (“Annas nightmare shortly after 6”, 2007).
However, the screenwriting duo Maximilian Baumgartner and Oliwia Strazewski have expanded the genre concept to include a significant variant: as a rule, only one person knows about the time warp; the rest of humanity has no idea that the world is going in circles. At first, Freya Hüller (Susanne Bormann) thinks so too; until she finds out she’s not alone in her knowledge. And something else distinguishes “Another Monday” (ZDF Neo) from other productions of this type: Baumgartner and Strazewski take the challenge seriously.
ZDF-Neo: Temporal Hamster Wheel – “Another Monday”
Although the main characters of the other stories are also looking for a way out of their temporal rat race, the approach is often comic or romantic or both. The six-part Neo series is not one of them, as the introduction makes clear: a man takes a can of beer from the fridge, opens it and then throws himself over the balcony railing. Then comes the cut to Freya and her husband Malte (Ulrich Brandhoff). It’s 2:13 a.m. Henceforth, the series will regularly return to this moment. No matter what happened before and no matter how much the couple had just argued to the point of brute force: every damn Monday starts with sex.
Of course, music also plays an important role in “Another Monday”. In Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) woke up every morning to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” In the series, it’s Fats Domino who says “Blue Monday” every morning. The radio presenter asks about the country of birth of Sigmund Freud, Malte, who has a doctorate in psychology, says Austria, daughter Charlie (Emilie Neumeister) has a mishap; and so forth. This Monday is not a day like any other, because Freya wants to leave her husband.
ZDF-Neo series: “Another Monday” – in advance on the media library
While driving, her phone falls in the footwell, and when that happens in the film, an accident happens immediately; in fact, her car is almost rammed by a truck. Later, this moment becomes important again, because Freya discovers that the policeman Moritz Becker (Ben Münchow), a patient of her husband, also knows about the time warp. A parallel between the two is the fear of death that Freya discovers with the help of a cruel experiment on the family dog Daphne. But their fate could also be a punishment, because both carry a heavy burden of guilt.
Airtime “Another Monday” (ZDF Neo)
October 11 and 12, at 8:15 p.m., or in advance in the ZDF media library
Becker, who was released from service, has therefore tried to kill himself several times, but the vortex of time always spits him back into existence; no wonder he thinks he’s in some kind of hell. Malte, on the other hand, thinks Freya’s condition is a reaction to a traumatic experience she had some time ago; since then she has lost touch with her daughter. Something similar happened to the heavily pregnant nurse Sophie (Alina Stiegler), who saves the life of a patient (Vedat Erincin) every day before he suffers a pulmonary embolism.
Series on ZDF-Neo: “Another Monday” – time loop as a result of a chain reaction?
She catches the eye of the other two when they are looking for people whose daily routine differs from yesterday, such as the radio presenter who deviates from his music list one Monday morning: he was late because his bike was stolen. Becker therefore develops a domino theory: If the time loop is the result of a chain reaction, the cycle could perhaps be stopped if they traced it back to its starting point.
This idea alone indicates how the complexity of the story develops; In the meantime, Becker seems like someone who is looking for the stone that started the avalanche after an avalanche. In the otherwise largely superfluous episode five, the trio ponder the “Matrix” question (red or blue pill, freedom or illusion): Should they “awaken” those around them? Or isn’t ignorance also a blessing? Baumgartner and Strazewski started writing the screenplay in 2017, and it’s easy to imagine how they kept coming up with and discarding new ideas.
ZDF-Neo: “Another Monday” – mixture of family drama and mystery series
The result of many years of work is a mixture of family drama and mystery series, which is often thought to be outside the box and is correspondingly attractive; the implementation by Esther Bialas and Nathan Nill is consistent down to the smallest detail. But above all, thanks to the naturalistic narrative style, “Another Monday” is far more than just a pastime.
Last but not least, the different ways in which those affected deal with the phenomenon are fascinating: some feel the time warp like a Sisyphus curse, while others try to make the best of it according to the motto “enjoyment without regret”. This is also the depressing message of the somewhat abrupt dystopian ending: if there is no tomorrow, every action has no consequences; die now, pay later. Neo is showing the series today and tomorrow. (Tilman P. Gangloff)
ZDF also recently showed the debut drama “Kids Run” to kick off this year’s “Shooting Stars” series – an intense, dirty debut drama with Jannis Niewöhner as a former amateur boxer fighting for his children.