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Fortitude, Shetland and This Country

We watched season one of Fortitude recently, which was good. I’m not sure why Wikipedia calls it a “sci-fi psychological thriller” going by that season but, sci-fi or not, I liked it.

It starts off like a typical Scandi-noir whodunnit, only set in a Norwegian settlement in the Arctic circle, and ends up getting a bit more carried away than most. Possibly too carried away and silly. I can’t imagine how the governor will report the whole series of events back to the mainland, given they previously had no crime or excitement at all.

Anyway, a good watch. I liked Jessica Raine as “Liam’s mum” / “disturbed ex-soldier’s wife” and would like to see her in something being more… pro-active, I guess, rather than re-active. Michael Gambon was, as ever, wonderful to watch, and listen to, and there could never have been enough of his screen time.

Inevitably Fortitude reminded me of the actual Icelandic (as opposed to only being shot in Iceland) Scandi-noir Trapped, which was also good.

And, continuing the people-dying-in-remote-communities TV drama theme, we also watched season four of Shetland which is in a similar vein as Hinterland and Broadchurch. I haven’t seen any of the previous seasons but we gave it a go and it was pretty good. My favourite thing was Douglas Henshall’s detective inspector because he does so little, acting-wise. I’m not sure I’ve seen a lead in a high-stakes drama who remains so calm and quiet, and believably so. Very nice. (Yes, “good” and “nice” are the limits of my critical vocabulary of approval. It seems enough.)

Finally, on a different theme, I’m one season into This Country which I’m enjoying a lot. Enjoyably silly at times and while I occasionally feel I’m laughing at people left behind in rural communities, this doesn’t happen too often; I think there’s enough affection for the characters there. Also it’s nice to see a show set in an unremarkable English village, with not only its pretty Cotswolds-ness, but also its plain, modern houses, its boring, empty roads, and its fly-tipping. It’s on iPlayer, season one for only nine more days, season two for four months.

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