All big series start with an upheaval. In the first episode of Breaking Bad, Walter finds out he has cancer and decides to make methadone to earn some fast cash. On a different note, Friends starts with a failed marriage, that of Rachel, who decides to move into what would become the most famous flat-share in the world. For Sopranos, the pilot (aired on HBO more than twenty years ago) begins with a shot of the main character, gangster Tony, determined to fix his anxiety attacks with the help of a psychiatrist. And how could anyone forget the plane crash that opened Lost, the beheading of Ned Starck in Game of Thrones, or even the death of the Fisher family patriarch in the first episode of Six Feet Under... Like all these shows that have entered the small screen pantheon, Unorthodox begins with a moment of chaos: this time it’s a character running away.
Produced by Netflix, this new series looks set to be a deeply moving. It starts with a close-up of a woman who looks like a girl, Etsy (Shira Haas), 19-years old, scarf on her head and wedding ring firmly in place. The girl with big eyes and a delicate features, hastily gathers her things together – passport, backpack, wig – and escapes the gaze of her neighbours dressed in long skirts, and their husbands wearing shtreimels (the traditional fur hats of orthodox Jews) and payots. She clambers into a taxi leaving her native Brooklyn for JFK Airport. Unorthodox has only just begun but we already get what’s going on: its shabbat and Etsy flies to Berlin, finally liberating herself of the ultra-Orthodox community that’s been oppressing her.