When it comes to TV viewing, lots of people live and die by genre. Maybe they’re a ‘soaps’ fan or a ‘comedy’ fan. Maybe they like historical dramas or sit in front of Alibi all day watching murder-mysteries and crime shows. Maybe they like action shows.
Not everyone’s like this, but many are. The question is: how important is genre to you, if you’re one of those people?
The reason I’m asking is because of Fortitude, Sky Atlantic/Pivot’s new TV show. Now, when it started on its 10-episode run, it seemed to be a perfectly ordinary Nordic Noir-style murder mystery. Then, with the arrival of Stanley Tucci, it started to look a bit Twin Peaks-ish. So far, so ordinary, and I imagine that Twin Peaks is still sufficiently close in style to The Killing et al that anyone tuning in for the latter might not have been turned off by the arrival of the former.
However, the latest couple of episodes have pretty much taken the show (as far as can I see) into territory a bit closer to horror movies and even (spoiler alert) The Strain/Helix. Which are very different genres again. Bold and daring on the one hand – the show has been very unusually ‘shaped’, revealing to everyone, not just the viewer, the identity of the killer midway through the series, for example.
But, on the other, is it too much for the genre addict? If something is a hybrid genre (action-romance, dramedy, horror-comedy from the outset, that’s one thing and fans of both genres can appreciate that show for what it is. But what if something changes genre midway through? Is that going to ostracise existing viewers, while failing to bring in fans of the new genre at this late stage? Or doesn’t it matter? Is genre completely unimportant?
How do you feel?