Ah, obvious careerism. It’s a subject that television writers love to cover in their shows. A new series from Turkey shows that such careers in entertainment and news are not limited to the US

opening shot: A bird house in a tree. Then we go into the well-appointed house and see a pencil skirt on the bed. A cat crawls around.

The essentials: Panning around, we see evidence of a struggle: broken glass, blood spatter. It is the home of Lale Kiran (Birce Akalay), one of Turkey’s most famous TV news personalities. As the cat roams, we get flashes of the fight that caused this chaos. Then we see a woman’s body on the ground; the cat licks her ankle.

Looking back, Lale gives a guest lecture in a journalism class. One of the students, Asli Tuna (Miray Daner), makes her way into the bathroom as Lale walks in, and tells her effusively that she has admired Lale since she was a child. Lale is dismissive, saying, “Follow the news, not the people.” That one exchange solidifies Asli’s determination to get Lale’s job off the ground.

She uses her ability to manipulate social media to fake an invitation to an internal job interview for the network Lale works on. She then grabs some tidbits from Instagram to “meet” editor-in-chief Müge Türkmen (İrem Sak) and claims she’s the new intern.

Meanwhile on Lale’s show The other side, she and Kenan (İbrahim Çelikkol), the show’s producer and an ex from early in her career, must deal with a disgruntled factory worker who is brought into the studio for an interview and ends up holding Lale at gunpoint on live TV . Lale’s husband Selim (Burak Yamantürk) blames Kenan for leaving the cameras on in a desperate bid for ratings. But Kenan also knows that while Gen Xers like him and Lale are calling the shots, the Millennials and Zoomers who know how to manipulate social media need to use as many tricks as possible to stay relevant.

After witnessing the hostage drama unfold in front of her, Asli uses fake Twitter accounts to drum up a backlash, saying it was all staged.

How the crow flies
Photo: Netflix

What shows will it remind you of? How the crow flies feels like a Turkish take on the recent Roku Channel reboot Swimming with Sharks. In fact, the first episodes of both feel like they’re hitting the same beats.

Our opinion: Written by Meric Acemi and produced by Ay Yapım, How the crow flies (original title: Kus Uçusu) intends to be clever, but turns out to be eye-rollingly melodramatic, from the intrusive narrative that filters through the first installment to the ridiculous machinations of both generations of characters.

The show’s logline is that Gen X is being usurped by the next generation, which is using whatever shortcuts it has learned to advance. But this feels more like a stalker story than anything. Danner is able to reveal that Asli has both a misplaced obsession with Lale and a desire to take her place. But their approach goes far beyond blatant careerism and borders on sociopathic methods.

She has fake social media accounts, which she uses to comment on IG selfies and stir up a backlash against Lale. She appears to be able to outwit not only the older folks on the network, but her fellow interns as well. She lies herself into the internship and will likely lie herself into Lale’s orbit. And it seems that her lies will become physically dangerous for Lale and others. To present it as a matter of generations seems disingenuous; We don’t know of any millennial or zoomer who has “finstas” for reasons other than to avoid detection by parents or other family members.

If you take the generation question out of the game, then the insane hostage situation that Asli experienced would not have been necessary. It occupies way too much of the first episode and feels like it’s more straight out of a telenovela writer’s script. Then you have the intrusive narrative mentioned above, in which the narrator keeps talking about how the bird can trick the lion, and you have a show that pushes viewers away instead of pulling them in.

gender and skin: None in the first episode.

farewell shot: Asli has a smug smile after seeing #scam top Twitter’s trending list.

sleeping star: To be honest, nobody really stands out in the first episode.

Most pilot line: The employee who gives the new interns a briefing advises them never to go into Lale’s office, “Even if someone sets you on fire and your only chance of survival is in there.” Hey.

Our appeal: SKIP IT. How the crow flies has a sledgehammer level of subtlety when it comes to examining what people of different generations do to get ahead. And it refuses to acknowledge that it really is a stalker story more than anything else.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he doesn’t fool 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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