In 1864, Denmark launched what seems in retrospect an inexplicable war of national expansion. It ended in ignominious defeat at the hands of Bismark's Prussian army. '1864' attempts to tell the story of this war, and is both a personal tale centred on a number of its protagonists, and perhaps also, a story of the eventual birth of the Denmark we know today, the peaceful modern social democracy that eventually superseded the nationalist pretensions of the 19th century. There's been a lot of Danish drama released internationally in recent years, but it's a small country, and fans of other Danish series will recognise a huge proportion of the cast in this one. But sadly, '1864' does not live up to the standards of 'The Killing' or 'Borgen'. It's slow, ponderous, repetitive, obvious and the attempt to wrap up the 19th century story in a contemporary wrapping further reduces the immediacy of the drama. The budget for battle scenes, meanwhile, seems to have been spent entirely in episode 7, which is impressive in itself, but the rest of the episodes speak of war without actually showing it very much. And we never really understand just how the Danish politicians thought that the war could actually be won. Outside of Denmark, the war of 1864 is a little known quirk of European history; I'd be interested to know more, but in spite of its 8 hour duration, I finished this drama still frustratingly uninformed.