"To the lake", the Russian series which predicted the Covid ... and worse

To The Lake is a Russian series produced and broadcast in 2019. Netflix

Text by: Daniel Vallot Follow

4 min

It is a Russian television series which is a resounding success internationally, and its subject undoubtedly has something to do with it.

The characters are faced with a devastating pandemic and are forced to flee Moscow to escape the disease.

Any resemblance to the Covid-19 is completely fortuitous, since “To the lake” was produced and broadcast in 2019, before the virus went around the world.


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From our correspondent in Moscow


Daniel Vallot

In the game of resemblances, the first episode of

To the Lake has

 some surprises in store: a deadly virus circulates with lightning speed and disrupts the lives of Muscovites, forced to wear masks and to confine themselves.

Very quickly, however, fiction exceeds reality and the series goes far beyond what we are experiencing with Covid-19.

The authorities are totally overwhelmed, and chaos sets in in Moscow and throughout Russia.

A small group of Muscovites then tries to flee the city and reach a lake lost in the North, in Karelia.

They will take eight episodes to achieve this (or not).

Based on the plot of Vogonzero, a Russian book published in the early 2010s, the series was shot before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic - and the writers didn't imagine for a second that their narrative starting point would be. "Caught up" by reality from the broadcast of the first episodes in December 2019.

The series is a great success in Russia, but the international consecration does not come until this month of October 2020, with its broadcast on Netflix.

Because the success is as overwhelming as the mysterious virus which mows down the characters: according to the aggregator Flixpatrol.com, the series is already in the Top 5 of the most viewed programs by the American platform.

Second season

To broadcast "To the lake", Netflix would have spent $ 1.5 million according to the newspaper


, which is a record for a Russian series.

The American platform certainly wanted to enrich its offer on the occasion of the launch this fall of its Russian version.

But she also bet on a series of quality whose subject could not but intrigue.

Additional boost, the master of suspense Stephen King himself praised the series on Twitter.

It is true that “To the lake” presents all the qualities of a catchy, well paced series, with breathtaking landscapes and remarkable Russian actors (some will recognize the formidable Maryana Spivak, seen in

Lack of love,

by Andreï Zviaguintsev and in the French series

Le Bureau des Légendes


TO THE LAKE, a pretty darn good Russian series on Netflix.

Four things to know:

1. There's a plague.

2. There's lots of snow and cold (Russia, stupid).

3. Everybody drinks vodka.

4. Weak-ass spoiler alert: the little kid is a pain in the ass.

  Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 11, 2020

With the success of

To the Lake

, unprecedented for a Russian program, the sequel will obviously be eagerly awaited.

Questioned by the Meduza site, the authors admit to having been obliged to take into account their own experience and what they themselves had experienced during the confinement, for the writing of this second season.


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