Get ready to binge-watch The Restaurant: 1951, aka Season 4 of the hit Swedish drama The Restaurant, which is set for its US premiere. But first, check out the exclusive trailer.
Fans of The Restaurant (Vår tid är nu), rejoice! By this time tomorrow, your wait for the award-winning Swedish drama’s fourth season — a special mini-season called The Restaurant: 1951 — will be over.
For folks who may not be familiar with The Restaurant, it’s a fabulous Swedish period drama, one of my favorite Euro TV premieres of 2018, that follows the lives of the Löwander family and the staff of their restaurant in Stockholm. The show has been likened to Downton Abbey, given its family dramas, a forbidden relationship, and a formidable matriarch who rules the roost (albeit without hilarious zingers).
If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching The Restaurant yet, allow me to recommend that, after you finish Season 1 (which opens in 1945), you jump to Season 4, that is The Restaurant: 1951, before moving on to Seasons 2 and 3 (which open in 1955 and 1968, respectively).
Note: Spoilers follow for anyone who hasn’t seen Season 1 yet.
The Restaurant: 1951 opens in November 1950, showing what happened directly after the scene that closes Season 1. The action then picks up in early summer 1951, when Peter Löwander (Adam Lundgren, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves) and several members of the family restaurant’s staff — including head chef “Stickan,” Deputy Head Chef Calle, kitchen manager Ethel, server “Maggan,” and maître d’ “Bellan” — go the the island of Gällnö in the Stockholm archipelago to open what we now call a pop-up restaurant for the summer.
Peter’s mother Helga (Suzanne Reuter, Agent Hamilton) and sister Nina (Hedda Stiernstedt, Norskov) also take the steamboat to Gällnö, so the latter can continue her recuperation at the family’s summer house before moving to Skåne to be with her husband Erik and their daughter Christina.
As it happens, Hilding Rundström, the shyster who leased the building to Peter for the island restaurant, hasn’t had any of the repairs done as he’d promised. So it’s all hands on deck to get the place fixed up before opening day in three weeks — which leads to a heart-aflutter but still awkward reunion between former lovebirds Nina and Calle.
Moving into midsummer, the annual celebration is a festive occasion at the restaurant, and one that brings Calle and Nina closer than they have been in several years — prompting gossip, meddling, and Nina’s departure from the island. By high summer, she is with Erik and Christina at his family’s posh estate in Skåne, although being here leaves a lot to be desired. And Calle gets unexpected time off to spend with his wife Sonja and their son Björn.
As summer draws to an end, so too does their marriage, as Sonja suffers from the same maladies as Erik: jealousy and fear. Meanwhile, in Skåne, Nina is in the throes of depression again and ghosting her mother. Helga, unaccustomed as she is to not getting her way, forces the issue and gets more than she bargained for in the process — causing her to do what previously would have been the unthinkable: bringing Nina and Calle back together.
My goodness, writer Ulf Kvensler sure has packed a ton of juicy drama into four 45-minute episodes. Seeing how Nina and Calle came back together makes a big difference in following their story between Seasons 1 and 2 — which is why The Restaurant: 1951 was created. This fourth season, mini though it is, is as brilliant and binge-worthy as the first three, with its engaging (and repulsive) characters, storylines involving personal conflicts and business problems, an exploration of Swedish social mores, and more. I adore this series and this season, and hope you check out both.
The cast includes Charlie Gustafsson (Double Life) as Calle, Peter Dalle (Miss Friman’s War) as Stickan, Anna Bjelkerud (Spring Tide) as Ethel, Josefin Neldén (Ängelby) as Maggan, Rasmus Troedsson (Gentlemen & Gangsters) as Bellan, Hannes Fohlin (The Head) as Erik, Malin Persson (Midnight Sun) as Sonja, Mattias Fransson (Jordskott) as Rundström, Saga Samuelsson (The Sandhamn Murders) as server Eivor, and Tomas Norström (We Got This) as Bengtsson the fisherman.
The Restaurant: 1951 premieres in the US in its entirety tomorrow, Thursday, March 25, exclusively on Sundance Now and its digital channels, including Sundance Now on Amazon and the AMC+ streaming bundle, both of which are available on Prime Video Channels.
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