There are plenty of documentaries about the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) that talk about many heroic women that stand for their land against ISIS. Some women are recruiters while most of them have their own stories to share before joining the army forces. “No Man’s Land”, from HULU, created by Amit Cohen and Ron Leshem, takes a one of a kind approach by offering a deeply disturbing yet fascinating character study that is capable of turning 180 degrees quicker than you can realize.
A young couple in Paris uses fertility treatment as their last chance to have a child when Antoine, after seeing a short video on the news, is convinced that he has seen his presumably deceased sister. While what he saw might cause many questions, the young man, without any hesitation, leaves his family behind to go to the country where he believes his sister is – in Syria. Upon stepping on an unknown territory, everything changes for him.
“No Man’s Land” offers many richly described characters. Before we get a chance to meet them, we are in Paris. Antoine is successful at his construction work and is deeply in love. However, when accidentally, in the news, he sees a woman that resembles his sister, he becomes certain that it is indeed her, Anna. As the footages are taken from the war zone, the man stops at nothing to cross the border, reaching a country that is as dangerous as it could get. Before being sold to the ISIS, his car comes under attack from members of YPJ, who hold him hostage.
Another fascinating character is Sarya, a Kurdish YPJ soldier who, more or less, becomes Antoine’s translator and saviour at the same time. Also, the three childhood friends from London – Nasser, Iyad and Paul who join the ISIS. The series offers the past of each protagonist to explain why they end up where they are and why it couldn’t be otherwise. Each back story presented is intelligent and logical. Especially when we learn about Anna and what happened to her before her death brings us to Antoine, her brother, who unknowingly shared the same values as Anna, which he does not know about it yet.
“No Man’s Land” is a great show that will make happy anyone who loved “Fauda” or Showtimes’ “Homeland”. Each episode is not just action-packed but also organic, flawlessly executed, and brutally honest. Series like these can satisfy any viewer who loves the genre as it justifies every second of its screen time. That’s something you don’t often see on TV, and when you do, cherish it as the most valuable gift the small screen could ever give.