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October 25, 2013

Review: Anno 1790 (season 1)

Posted on October 25, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Anno 1790

Anno 1790 DVD coverStarring: Peter Eggers, Joel Spira and Linda Zilliacus
Amazon price: £16.92
Released: October 28th 2013
Original network: SVT

'Nordic noir' is a fairly flexible concept, but largely, most people think of it as dark crimes being solved by the police in Scandinavian countries: think of The Killing, The Bridge, Those Who Kill et al. That’s certainly what you’ll be able to see on BBC4.

But as with any genre, there’s more to nordic noir than the acquisitions staff at TV networks decide to spend their money on. Anno 1790, a 2011 Swedish show, demonstrates this pretty clearly. As the name suggests, it’s set in Sweden in AD1790. It’s just after the French Revolution and anti-monarchy sentiment is catching like wildfire across in Europe. In Sweden, the king is making himself even less popular with a war against the Russians that’s killing many for little purpose but is thankfully coming to an end.

A doctor in the Swedish army, Johan Gustav Dåådh (Peter Eggers), finds his life changed forever when his compatriot Simon Freund (Joel Spira) is nearly killed in the war and asks Dåådh to take him home. Freund is the tutor of the children of Carl Fredrik Wahlstedt, the commissioner of Stockholm’s constabulary, and it’s not long before Dåådh is using his keen deductive skills, scientific knowledge and sense of justice to investigate crimes at Wahlstedt’s behest.

The only trouble? Not only is Dåådh a republican, a friend to some really quite violent anti-monarchists, and Wahlstedt nobility employed directly by the king, but Dåådh is falling in love with Wahlstedt’s wife, Magdalena (Linda Zilliacus) - and she with him.

It’s like CSI crossed with Whitechapel and Barry Lyndon, but all in Swedish. Here’s a trailer and an exclusive video to give you a taster. I’ll talk more about the show after the jump.


Continue reading "Review: Anno 1790 (season 1)"

October 11, 2013

Review: The Tomorrow People 1x1 (US: The CW; UK: E4)

Posted on October 11, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The New Tomorrow People

In the US: Wednesdays, 9pm/8c, The CW
In the UK: Acquired by E4

As we all know, US TV is prone to remaking other countries' TV shows, but if you'd asked me a year what the most likely remake of a UK TV show would be this season, never in my wildest dreams would I have suggested 1970s sci-fi gay metaphor and excuse for borderline S&M paedophilia The Tomorrow People. Yet here it is. Do they have no shame?

Amazingly, although I tend to prefer remakes that are faithful to the original, in this case, the lack of fidelity is an improvement. The original show was dreadful. Just dreadful. Although possessed of one of the best and most disturbing title sequences in TV history, it had numerous faults, most of which I've spelt out over here. Or you could watch this brief clip, which should show you what you've been missing all these years.

Yet here, although we don't have something that's much above "not bad", we don't have something outrageously terrible. What we do have is, however, is also a bit more mundane. Following on from the original, the story posits that all over the world, a new race of human beings called Homo Superior or The Tomorrow People is 'comingbreaking out'. Able to teleport, read minds and move objects with their thoughts, unlike the nasty new humans of Prey, these genetic mutations can't kill and just want to be left alone to lead normal lives like anyone else.

Unlike the 1970s Tomorrow People, there are some complete TP spanners ruining for it everyone by breaking into bank vaults and the like, so a government scientist called Jedekiah who definitely isn't a fierce, shapechanging, alien robot is out to stop these new Tomorrow People and give them genetic therapy to make them normal 'saps' (Home Sapiens) - assuming he can't get them to join his team of black-suited TPs.

With new and super-powerful mutation Stephen (Robbie Amell - cousin of Arrow's Stephen Amell) just breaking out and teleporting into people's bedrooms while he's asleep, both sides in the war are looking to recruit. Which side will he join? Well, that would be telling, so maybe you'll just have to read my mind to find out. Or watch it.

Here's a trailer. Spoilers after the jump.

Continue reading "Review: The Tomorrow People 1x1 (US: The CW; UK: E4)"

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October 11, 2013

Preview: The Tunnel (Tunnel) (UK: Sky Atlantic; France: Canal+)

Posted on October 11, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Tunnel

In the UK: Wednesdays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic. Starts 16th October
In France: Canal+. Starts in November

Well, here we are again, on a border, two dead women's bodies cut in half and stuck together, two different police forces from two different countries having to investigate the crimes, and resolve their personal and cultural differences. 

The Swedish-Danish co-production Bron/Broen - known in the UK as The Bridge - was a big success in both countries, one of BBC4's biggest successes of 2012 and has taken the rest of the world by storm, too. Given the story involved co-operation between two countries' police forces, it was always a natural for remakes, too.

We've already seen one example of such a remake in the US: The Bridge, which sees a US and a Mexican investigator pairing come together to solve a crime on the exact border of the US and Mexico. In some ways an almost exact duplicate, in others an improvement, but overall a blander dilution of the original, it's been renewed for a second season.

Chances are, we probably won't see it in the UK for a while, though, because the rights have already been acquired by the makers of a new Sky Atlantic/Canal+ co-production, The Tunnel. Yes, this time there's been a murder but because there's no bridge to France, it's all happening underground in the Channel Tunnel.

Starring Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones, Hunted, The One Game) and Clemence Poésy (Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire), The Tunnel is once against an almost exact replica of that original show, but surprisingly enough, there are still a few things the format can offer that we haven't seen before. Here are some trailers.

Continue reading "Preview: The Tunnel (Tunnel) (UK: Sky Atlantic; France: Canal+)"

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