TV Review: 'The Gift' ('Atiye') Season 1 Premiere On Netflix

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An artist, a mystery, and an unearthed archeological finding. Those are the main ingredients that comprise “The Gift.” A recently released Netflix original that already hints at a sprawling mythos in its Season 1 premiere. Atiye (Beren Saat) is a painter and part-time teacher working on her latest gallery exhibition in Istanbul when her life is changed.

The mysterious symbol that she has drawn since childhood and is the centerpiece of her artwork matches a carving found in the temple, Gรถbekli Tepe. Atiye’s curiosity is instantaneously piqued as strange happenings around her begin to escalate. “The Gift” makes one thing clear. She is somehow connected to something significant and life-altering.

For fans of fellow Turkish-language Netflix series, “The Protector,” “The Gift,” will hit with similar fervor. Albeit, Atiye is far more sympathetic than Hakan. She is a young woman perplexed by a lingering life-long mystery, and her journey gets off to a pretty riveting start that calls to mind the first season of “The OA.”

In a refreshing turn of events, “The Gift” sets up an intriguing love triangle right off the top. Atiye has a long-time boyfriend who seems devoted to her. Cue archeologist, Erhan (Mehmet Gรผnsรผr), with whom Atiye shares a tense first encounter and you have a recipe for something electric. Are they destined to be together?

Instinct says that it is highly likely. An adaptation of ลžengรผl BoybaลŸ's novel “Dรผnyanฤฑn UyanฤฑลŸฤฑ,” “The Gift” has a road map from which to draw its arc. Unlike some heavily mythological series, “The Gift” does present the sense that it is headed somewhere in its Season 1 premiere. A promising sign for whether to continue watching.

It takes time to build, but “The Gift” is clearly moving towards something. A slow burn, the Season 1 premiere ignites in its final moments as the seeds sown throughout the first episode start to take deep root. There is a story here that is both intimately down to earth and larger than life. This viewer approves.

Eight episodes comprise the first season. I am not entirely clear if “The Gift” will entirely wrap up the story by the end. From what the Season 1 premiere demonstrates, it is worth continuing to dive into. It has a compelling lead character, and the central cast is alluring in their roles.

To its credit, Atiye’s destiny, her connection to the symbol, and what it actually signifies remains truly nebulous, and a genuine mystery as the Season 1 premiere ends. You cannot often say that for the fantasy genre. Hence, “The Gift” provides Netflix viewers with quite the present to unwrap.

Rating: 7.5/10

Season 1 of “The Gift” (“Atiye”) is currently streaming on Netflix along with other great shows.