Kurt Seyit and Sura, A Turkish Television Delight
For those familiar with this blog, you'll know that I'm no stranger to foreign television. Actually, one of the most common ways people found this site in the past was through my articles about kdramas. (Do you want to read about kdramas? Look here!) Netflix and other streaming platforms are adding more and more foreign content every day, which is why I wasn't too surprised when Netflix suggested I watch a Turkish TV show. After all, I watch a lot of subtitled content, and I've rated a good amount of the kdramas in their catalog. The synopsis for Kurt Seyit & Sura (Turkish: Kurt Seyit ve Şura) on Netflix, plus the photo they used (which is actually from a dream sequence) screamed "right up my alley," so I added Kurt Seyit and Sura to my watchlist. (I've included both the synopsis and image below)
"Born into different worlds. Driven apart by family and war. But these lovers will do anything to defy the odds."
One day when I had some time to kill and had no idea what to watch, I saw Kurt Seyit and Sura again, patiently waiting in my watchlist (which, and I can only speak for myself here, is really more of a graveyard of good intentions). I remembered that a seemingly random Netflix recommendation of Boys Over Flowers was what sparked my kdrama obsession, and I decided to give Kurt Seyit and Sura a shot. I was immediately hooked.
Kurt Seyit and Sura is an epic love story of Sura, a Russian noblewoman from a wealthy family, and Seyit, a Crimean who's a lieutenant in the last Russian Tsar's army. Their story begins in St. Petersburg, where the two meet at a ball and immediately fall in love at first sight. Of course there are immediate obstacles to their happy ending. There's a war on, after all. Plus, Seyit's father will only give his blessing if Seyit marries a Turkish girl, and Sura's family wants her to marry a nobleman. Nevertheless, these two crazy kids will do anything to be together. (Spoiler Alert: If you look up this show on the Internet like, at all, you will find out how it ends re: Seyit and Sura's love affair. I won't tell you here. But it's OUT THERE.)
At one point, Sura is being swept away by her family on a train and she jumps off the moving train to be with Seyit instead. The two of them travel to Seyit's family home in Crimea and, well, poor Russian Sura isn't exactly welcomed with open arms. I've been making my way slowly through the 46 episodes of Kurt Seyit and Sura that are on Netflix, and one night after going out with friends I came home and decided to unwind with an episode. I was expecting forbidden love, drama, and period costumes. Instead, I got Seyit's family home being invaded by Bolsheviks and everyone dying. You barely get over one tragic death and BAM! Another one smacks you in the face. Then Seyit and Sura have to flee yet again.
They make their way to Istanbul and we get a new group of characters, and a new setting. At this point, in Istanbul, I started to develop a lot of religion-based questions that I doubt I will ever get answers to. However, I did find a good resource for some of my fashion questions, so at least there's that. I also found it very handy to have my phone and Wikipedia app at the ready while watching, because man, Kurt Seyit and Sura expected me to know a lot that I just... didn't. My personal favorite shameful moment was when Seyit and Sura were in Crimea, in danger (of course) and Seyit says, "We'll have to go to the other side." And I whispered, "... of what?" Answer: The Black Sea. They had to cross The Black Sea and go to Turkey. Not what I would have guessed if you gave me, oh, 40 guesses and a $100 reward.
Kurt Seyit and Sura is an amazing, epic drama, but it gets even more incredible when you find out the story behind it. Kurt Seyit and Sura is based on just one book in a series of novels by Nermin Bezmen, who wrote the books about her own family. That's right, this is based on a true story. This show is like War & Peace, 100 years later, and it's TRUE. Nermin Bezmen is actually a character in the television series, but not from the beginning. Strangely, all of a sudden there is voiceover from an omniscient narrator in some episodes. Then, you see that narrator interviewing an old woman, who you later find out is Valentina, Sura's sister. The narrator you heard before is Bezmen, and she has found Valentina and is gathering research for her novel about Seyit and Sura. BUT WAIT! Now that we've established this new angle to the series oh, 20 or so episodes in, one day Bezmen shows up at the nursing home, hoping to get more info out of Valentina, but she can't, because Valentina is DEAD. I'm on episode 33 now, and we haven't had any more voiceovers or writing-process scenes, but who knows what will happen next. Kurt Seyit and Sura will try literally anything.
If you love period dramas, heartache, betrayal, epic love affairs, extremely beautiful people, and don't mind reading your television shows, I cannot recommend Kurt Seyit and Sura enough. It's got it all, and then some.