Midnight At The Pera Palace Netflix Review
Midnight at the Pera Palace is a recent Turkish original series on Netflix – and it is absolutely addictive to watch. I’m always on the lookout for underrated, hidden gems, and this is, without a doubt, one you won’t want to miss – especially if you’re a fan of the time travel romance genre.
With a mix of drama, murder mystery, comedy, romance, and conspiracies, there is never a dull moment in this frothy and fun foreign drama. It’s perfect for fans of Timeless, Grand Hotel, and Lost in Austen.
OFFICIAL NETFLIX DESCRIPTION
At a historic Istanbul hotel, a journalist is thrust into the past and must stop a plot that could change the fate of modern Turkey.
Episode 1 “Journey” Official Description:
While researching for an article on the Pera Palace, Esra stumbles into the year 1919, meets a doppelganger and finds herself amid political intrigue.
CAST OF MIDNIGHT AT THE PERA PALACE
Hazal Kaya Plays Esra and Perida
Hazal Kaya is a talented Turkish actress most known for her memorable roles in Aşk-ı Memnu, Bizim Hikaye, and Adını Feriha Koydum.
In Midnight at the Pera Palace, Kaya portrays the lead role of Esra (and her doppelganger/ancestor Perida), a young journalist in her 20s assigned to write a story about the 130th anniversary of the legendary Pera Palace Hotel.
When she accidentally travels in time to 1919, she must stop an assassination attempt that could change the course of history. In this dangerous place, she also begins to fall in love for the first time with an enigmatic “bad boy” who may or may not be on her side.
Tansu Biçer Plays Ahmet
The Turkish actor is known for numerous film and television roles, including performances in Küf and the docudrama Rise of Empires: Ottoman.
Biçer portrays Ahmet, the quirky hotel manager of the Pera Palace, with secrets connected to time travel and the hotel. He becomes Esra’s closest friend and companion as they fight to protect history and unlock historical secrets.
Selahattin Paşalı Plays Halit
Selahattin Pasali is a new and upcoming actor most known for his performance in the Turkish Netflix series Love 101.
He portrays the smoldering and enigmatic nightclub owner, Halit, who develops feelings for Esra. Is he good? Bad? Dangerous to know? Well, you’ll have to watch to find out!
Other Cast Members
The rest of the recurring cast of the series includes Engin Hepileri as Resat, a policeman with feelings for Esra’s doppelganger Perida; Hakan Dinçkol as the famous historical figure Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (founder of modern Turkey and the first president); James Chalmers as George, a villainous British soldier; Yasemin Szawlowski as Sonia, a young woman working at the hotel; Clare Louise Frost as Agatha Christie; Ahmet Varli, Nergis Öztürk, Osman Albayrak, Ergün Metin, and more.
THE STORY OF MIDNIGHT AT THE PERA PALACE
Loosely inspired by the award-winning non-fiction book, Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul by Charles King, the story from Elif Usman and Emre Sahin follows Esra, an orphaned and troubled journalist working in Istanbul.
While writing an article about the 130th anniversary of the famous Pera Palace Hotel and its rich history, Esra accidentally time travels to 1919 – and quickly finds herself in the middle of a political conspiracy when she discovers a plot that could change the future of Turkey.
When she discovers she has a doppelganger, things become even more complicated! Soon, she works with Ahmet (the time-traveling manager of the famous hotel) while crossing paths with the potentially dangerous nightclub owner, Halit – whom she develops a strong attraction.
Will she be able to save Turkey’s future, make it back to her time, and can she avoid falling in love with the smoldering Halit? It’s quite like a sensation novel unfolding on the screen in the best ways.
MIDNIGHT AT THE PERA PALACE REVIEW
I’m always looking for good romances or time travel stories with commercial appeal – and Midnight at the Pera Palace has it in spades!
It’s full of adventure, a swoony romance, clever twists and turns, likable but flawed characters, mysteries to solve, conspiracies to uncover, and lots of time travel fun.
Sure, the Turkish period drama will not win any awards (nor is it trying to), but it is the type of show you can binge-watch over a weekend and be entertained from start to finish.
Watching the story play out, one can’t help but think of the classic love story, Somewhere in Time, primarily due to the hotel aspect. However, this series is much less serious and more quippy and fun, like NBC’s Timeless.
There are only eight episodes, so you can breeze through the series quickly.
TIME TRAVEL MYTHOLOGY
If you love time travel shows, Midnight at the Pera Palace puts a unique spin on the genre. On the one hand, it’s a portal fantasy, on the other, it’s an epic impossible love story spanning across time. And the mythology is quite rich with the potential to expand in further seasons.
The connection to the Pera Palace Hotel and its literary history (including Ernest Hemingway, who set one of his stories there) is fascinating – making it an attractive setting for the story. The writers even include a cameo appearance from a young Agatha Christie (said to have written Murder on the Orient Express in the actual hotel).
Beyond the perfectly chosen setting, adding mysterious keys, rooms that can send you to various time periods, and the fact that history can change with every decision you make, makes time traveling in this TV show quite dangerous and even more suspenseful for viewers. The uncertain future offers numerous possibilities.
THE LOVE STORY
The time travel rules also make the love story between Esra and Halit seemingly impossible and simultaneously mesmerizing because of it.
I can’t get enough of impossible romance stories, from the unrequited to the star-crossed to dire circumstances and even to the paranormal. I love it all. That way, if the couple does find a way to end up together – it’s ultimately more enjoyable and satisfying.
But romance fans should devour this series – especially if they like redeemable bad boys and lots of swoony moments (seen mainly in the second half). Selahattin Paşalı as Halit expertly smolders onscreen like Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton – and it’s difficult not to get swept up in the potential of their romance.
While the season’s end doesn’t resolve the love story, the next season (crossing my fingers it happens) should give some resolution.
Midnight at the Pera Palace is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it is undeniably fun to watch. While the show is technically a drama, it has numerous comedic moments to lighten the atmosphere – including a hilarious scene where Esra performs in a nightclub singing her version of Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.”
Overall, the actors do a fine job in the roles, and the costumes are pretty – although imperfect, the production quality is high (but not the highest), the romance appealing, and the writing clever.
If you don’t let the romanticization of Turkish history or the lack of artistic scripts bother you, you’ll appreciate this show for what it is: A fun time-travel romance with an enjoyable mythology.
The 8-episode series is an underrated feel-good gem for fans of foreign dramas, romance, period dramas like Grand Hotel, and time travel shows like Timeless. Midnight at the Pera Palace is a nice escape, and I look forward to the second season.
Content Note: TV-14 for mild sensuality/nudity, language, and violence. Nothing too graphic.
MIDNIGHT AT THE PERA PALACE SEASON 2
The period drama series ends on quite a cliffhanger (although not without wrapping up season one’s stories), so be prepared! Thankfully, there will be a Season 2. However, it’s unclear when it will be filmed or released – and Netflix hasn’t officially announced anything.
The leading actress also recently had a baby – so it could be some time before any news releases about the second series are announced.
So, unless Netflix and Karga Seven Pictures backtrack the rumored renewal, it’s looking good for Season 2.
Have you seen Midnight at the Pera Palace? What do you think of the Netflix show? Let me know in the comments!
Featured image credit: Netflix/Karga Seven Pictures