Loved abroad but criticized at home in Norway, state broadcaster NRK’s TV series Atlantic Crossing’s international Emmy award last week has been ridiculed just like the series was. Norwegian critics and historians blasted it for falsifying history and exaggerating the late Crown Princess Martha’s influence over US President Franklin D Roosevelt.
“We should congratulate NRK and the series’ producers over an Emmy,” wrote critic Reidar Spigseth in newspaper Dagsavisen, “but when this series wins the TV branch’s top prize, it doesn’t bode well for Norwegian drama.”
He and others, including historian and royal biographer Tor Bomann-Larsen, called the series “tame, lifeless and boring” in addition to falsifying history. The crown princess was glorified as wielding much more influence while in exile in Washington DC than she really had, while her husband, then-Crown Prince Olav, was depicted as depressed, frustrated and often drunk while in exile with his father, King Haakon, in London.
“An Emmy jury doesn’t need to take into account that Atlantic Crossing is the most debated drama series in memory,” Spigseth wrote, “or that it got generally neutral historians (like Bomann-Larsen) to criticize NRK for pure falsification of Norwegian history.”
The series’ director and producers, meanwhile, were thrilled by their prize, claiming it was “like Christmas Eve, your birthday and winning the Olympics all at once.” They have defended the series as only being “inspired” by historical events, not portraying them as factual.