Katla is an Icelandic mystery sci-fi series created by Sigurjón Kjartansson and Baltasar Kormákur, and starring Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð, Íris Tanja Flygenring, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Aliette Opheim, and Þorsteinn Bachmann, alongside other cast members. The series has eight episodes, each around 40 – 50 minutes long.
Netflix’s new series Katla gets its name from an actual volcano named Katla situated in southern Iceland. The volcano, apparently, is pretty active and although it hasn’t caused widespread devastation for the past 103 years, it’s still active on a small scale.
However, for the sake of our story, Katla erupted a year ago and it changed the course of the residents of Vik – they are still reeling from the continuous eruption. There are still tests going on regarding the volcano to understand more about it and the geologists are concerned about something. Close to the volcano, some scientists are shocked to find an ash-covered woman walking towards them… she’s in shock and completely covered in ash and clay.
Soon after, it becomes apparent that there’s something more going on than just a volcanic eruption.
First and foremost, if you’re not a fan of slow-burns and don’t have the patience of a saint, I don’t think you will be able to enjoy Katla much. The series is slow to a disadvantage. Sure, it peppers in interesting mysteries here and there and keeps you guessing for a better part of the eight episodes, it still has the power to get on your nerves. The story is interesting but borders on boring as there are just so many things that it juggles with but not at an equal pace.
It’s not inherently a bad thing per se. It does sometimes benefit from the immense amount of different things that you think might be the cause for Vik’s problems. That being said though, after a point, it might just get too much. Katla, for me, is a mixed bag. Interesting things and information come to the forefront and enchants you with what might be the cause of it, but the series does not answer half of the questions that it poses.
It gets frustrating after a point because you really want to know what’s going on, but you are forced to stew on it until the series finds it necessary to give you an answer. Honestly speaking, Katla delivers a devastating answer and twist sometimes, but a large chunk of the runtime is very slow and mostly without much going on.
I have to give it though, the atmosphere and the premise are very dark and haunting throughout. Even though the story does not deliver too much, the atmosphere remains tense and you sit there and wonder when there’s going to be a devastating blow. It usually comes at the end of every episode when some random person turns up covered in ash. The creators really wanted to use these as cliffhangers after every episode to push you to go deeper. I am unsure whether they were successful in their efforts.
Anyway, Katla Netflix is just so slow that nothing else really matters after a while. It drones on and on, sometimes providing new information or revelations and hinting at things that are more bizarre than the others. There are some emotional moments in the series that I quite liked though, especially when people confront the feelings of finding a loved one that was once thought to have been dead.
These scenes are made better due to the strong cast who does a phenomenal job at bringing these characters to life. Katla would’ve really suffered had it not been for these people. Is it enough to make you watch the series though? Honestly, I don’t know. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this.
Summing up: Katla
Rarely has a series ever made me feel so conflicted regarding what I feel about it. Katla is a mixed bag that borders on boring. If not for certain moments and situations, the stunning location and cinematography and for the talented cast, I would’ve advised you to skip it altogether. However, where it stands now, there are some redeemable qualities, so if you’re into Nordic slow-burn shows that are cold, dreary and serious, then give this one a watch.
Katla is streaming on Netflix.