Katla (2021) is an eight-part Netflix drama set in Vik, a coastal settlement near Katla, one of Iceland’s largest volcanoes. I assumed that Katla and Vik were invented for the series, but they’re very real and look well worth a visit.
In the show the fictional version of Vik is semi-deserted. The air is hard to breathe because the volcano has been spewing black ash over its surroundings for a year. Despite the tough life, a few residents and volcanologists stay on. One day an ash-covered stranger appears on the glacier. Who is she? And how does she know local man Thor (Þór)?
Katla is genuinely satisfying television drama. Three things kept me hooked: the mystery surrounding the ash-covered woman, the realness of the characters, and the dramatic beauty of the locations.
If you watch Katla, look out for the nighttime scenes on the black-sand beach. They are absolutely otherworldly, like something out of a poem. The journeys over the plains and down into the volcano are spectacular too.
Katla is an Icelandic production with dialogue in Icelandic and English. Netflix provides optional dubbing in English, French, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese. There is also audio description in Icelandic.