Occasionally a show comes along, and there is genuinely nothing to compare it to in terms of plot. A case in point is Drops of God on Apple TV+, a multilingual drama about wine.
Directed by Quoc Dang Tran, the series is loosly based on the Japanese manga series written by Tadashi Agi and illustrated by Shu Okimoto.
Widely successful, the series was first published in November 2004 in Weekly Morning magazine in Japan and ran for ten years until June 2014.
There are some significant character differences between the two but the story remains the same and, like a beautifully poured glass of wine, is multilingual drama is so wonderfully told that you'll never want it to end.
But other than wine, what is Drops of God about and, more importantly, is it worth watching?
What Is Drops of God About?
This Apple TV+ series carries us into the world of two key individuals: Camille Léger (played by Fleur Geffrier) and Issei Tomine (played by Tomohisa Yamashita).
When world renowned sommelier Alexandre Léger, Camille's estranged father and Issei's mentor, passes away, the two find themselves pitted against each other in a competition to inherit Alexandre's legacy, including a $7 million house in Tokyo and a $148 million wine collection.
Neither Camille nor Issei know or have ever heard of each other. However, the two must now go head-to-head to essentially prove they are worthy of the inheritance.
Alexandre Léger has set three tests. Each will produce a winner, and the person who has the most points takes everything.
The problem is that Issei is a prodigy and Camille has never drank a drop of wine in her life.
The first is a blind taste test. Both are then given a month to figure out exactly which wine, from any year, or any vineyard in the world, they have tasted.
The second test is to find the link between a painting and a wine. And the third is set over a series of three rounds, taking the duo back to France where it all began.
However, these tests are only the catalyst for the drama which centres around both Camille and Issei and their ever-intertwining lives.
Eventually come to realise that they have more in common than they first thought, especially when they discover that their families met 30 years earlier.
Drops of God Official Trailer
Is Drops of God Worth Watching?
This is such a well-conceived show, due largely in part to the source material, that it becomes far more than just about fermented grape juice!
And neither is it just about an inheritance; it isn't Succession. It's a story of family secrets, the pursuit of one's passion, and the bonds of brotherhood.
We are essentially presented with two broken people, both of whom have a connection to the wine culture through the eccentric Alexandre Léger, one of the foremost experts in his field and author of the Léger wine guide.
It's their stories that make the show such a high-stakes drama. Because nothing really is as it seems on the face of it.
There are vested interests, cruel twists of fate, family dynamics, romantic entanglements and secrets that could ruin their lives.
But in order to work through all of that, they must complete the tests, learning more about their lives and who they really are as people.
Drops of God really is one of the best shows on Apple TV+. Its major problem, somewhat like Pachinko, is that while it is impeccably created and uses multiple languages, its appeal seems to be limited.
I'm not sure why that is. Maybe people want something flashier, and for all its drama, Drops of God is definitely not flashy. It is understated and subtle, but equally compelling and engaging as you root for the two protagonists throughout the eight episodes.
Is Drops of God worth watching? 100% absolutely, positively YES. It is one of the best-told dramas on tv, and you may even get a crash course in wine for free!
Drops of God TV Series Cast
Tomohisa Yamashita as Issei Tomine, young Japanese man who was the protege and spiritual son of Alexandre Léger in Tokyo
Fleur Geffrier as Camille Léger, the estranged daughter of Alexandre Léger who must compete for her inheritance
Tom Wozniczka as Thomas Chassangre, childhood friend of Camille's who helps her during the contest
Stanley Weber as Alexandre Léger, Camille's father who hadn't seen to her for years before she died
Luca Terracciano as Lorenzo, a sommelier at Luca's restaurant
Diego Ribon as Luca Inglese, Alexandre's best friend
Azusa Okamoto as Yurika Katase, reporter who becomes Issei's love interest
Gustave Kervern as Philippe Chassangre, a French vineyards owner who has been a lifelong friend of Alexandre's
Cécile Bois as Marianne Léger, Camille's mother
Makiko Watanabe as Honoka Tomine, Issei's mother
Satoshi Nikaido as Hirokazu Tomine, Issei's father
Antoine Chappey as Talion, the lawyer who is in charge of distributing the inheritance
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