REVIEW: ‘New Heights’ Doesn’t Soar But It Does Suffice

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New Heights - But Why Tho

New Heights (Neumatt) is a Swiss German-language Netflix Original series created by Marianne Wendt and chronicling the Wyss family as its three siblings and their progenitors decide the fate of their family farm and their lives as a whole.

It’s a classic tale of family feud. The three siblings couldn’t be more different. Michi (Julian Koechlin) is a high-end consultant, Sarah (Sophie Hutter) is a single mother who owns a gym, and Lorenz (Jérôme Humm) is the only one who wants to carry on the family’s farming tradition as he studies to pass his licensing exams. The two things that bond them, though, are their attachment to Neumatt, their family farm, and of course, their being siblings in the end. It’s easy to find things to love about them and just as easy to find things infuriating about them, like any sibling, really.

Of course, they’re all hiding things from each other. Not dark and dangerous secrets, just personal things that put this series squarely into the category of plots that could be resolved in one episode if everyone just went to therapy. It keeps things interesting as the plot carries on, though it does get to feel like the constant miscommunication among them is a bit tiresome by the end. It’s a bit of padding to draw out the episode count when the same story could have been told just as effectively in perhaps six episodes instead.

The underlying plot, the family’s decision around the farm, has me of two minds. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the duality portrayed through Michi of the farming world and the business world. Both rely on dairy for their livelihoods, but neither could be more different from the other. So it was enjoyable to see Michi straddle both worlds and struggle to understand his place in them. However, on the other hand, the dialogue got much too technical at times. I couldn’t care much less about hearing business jargon over and over in Michi’s consulting world. Even in Lorenz’s agricultural classes, the same effect led me to zone out and feel like I wasn’t meant to understand what was happening. Sure, this exemplifies exactly what the characters were going through too, but it doesn’t mean I want to have to feel it along with them.

Rachel Braunschweig is also rather good as the siblings’ mother. She’s entirely unlikable and irredeemable. She tries to court sympathy, and I can’t tell whether the show wants you to see her as a character worthy of empathy, but it certainly did not work on me. Having a common enemy suites the Wyss children well, given how much of the series is dedicated to watching them fight with each other only to make up very quickly. In this way, the episodes became a bit repetitive, which, again, may have been resolved by having fewer episodes and less twisting and turning with the characters’ secrets. It seems like the show may be poised to offer a second season, which I’d be glad for, given where many of the threads are left dangling by the end. Some of the extraneous points in this season could have been saved for later rather than throwing them just one after the other. Despite the repetition, everyone does really grow over the season, especially Sarah and Michi, which gives New Heights a satisfying feeling in the end, regardless.

New Heights is not a soaring new drama, but it certainly suffices. It has a great family dynamic to follow and a captivating set of personal and collective choices the family has to make. While some of its repetitive plot devices may grow tired, it still comes together to make for an entertaining series.

New Heights is streaming now on Netflix.


New Heights
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

New Heights is not a soaring new drama, but it certainly suffices. It has a great family dynamic to follow and a captivating set of personal and collective choices the family has to make. While some of its repetitive plot devices may grow tired, it still comes together to make for an entertaining series.