This really is a golden age of television. At the push of a button or the click of a mouse I can watch the best TV the world has to offer, whether it is a new, complex American cable series (Game of Thrones — made in Europe but with American money), tight-and-light BBC-fare (Sherlock), and Scandinavian cool (The Killing).
Here at the Kulturblog I’m going to offer regular, brief highlights of new European shows that our American readers might find on Netflix or PBS or the torrents of bit.
Two shows this time, one British, the other French.
The Fall is a BBC crime drama that recently ran for five episodes with a second season planned. Starring Gillian Anderson (Scully, with impeccable British accent), The Fall follows a serial killer as he prowls the streets of Belfast by night but plays loving father by day. It’s nasty stuff — the killer does some unspeakable things to women — but filmed with a certain mundane style, the lingering image of the killer making his kids’ school lunches being one example. Anderson is the English cop drafted in to track him down, but its Northern Irish setting means there’s more going on than just murder. Sectarian thuggery abounds and the PSNI cops have a harder edge than their mainland counterparts. Anderson’s portrayal of female sexuality also offers interest, especially given the warped male sexuality her target smears across Belfast. Not for the faint of heart.
To France, for more chills. In the beginning of The Returned (or Les Revenants if you prefer), a school bus crashes in the French Alps and all on-board are killed. Several years later the children reappear with no memory of the crash, French Zombies without the shuffling walk.
Soundtrack from Mogwai. Amazing.
My theory on why these foreign language shows do so well (Danish and Swedish stuff is mad popular in the UK) is that because we have to read the screen we put down our digital devices and just watch.
More Brit: Broadchurch. New Luther coming soon.
More Euro: Borgen (Danish).