Krampus in Der Pass
Streaming TV

It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s the TMINE Top N programmes of 2019!

As usual at this time of year, TMINE is busily packing its bags to get ready for its annual Christmas break. We’re not there yet, though, as everything will continue until Thursday at least, although I have a Christmas party to go to on Friday so who knows what’ll happen then?

However, barring minor miracles, there’ll be no more shows that are both new and excellent for me to review this year, which means I can at last unveil TMINE’s Top N programmes of 2019, where N is a positive integer that you can guess, if you want. You haven’t got long. Just a few paragraphs in fact.

Here are previous years’ Top Ns:

I will say at this point, though, that despite the expansion in streaming services this year, N<14 for 2019. And for about the first half of the year, it looked like it wouldn’t be more than a handful. However, things have perked up since.

That’s all the clues you’re getting, mind.

There are other TV shows

As always, the caveat:

I’ve not watched every TV programme broadcast or acquired in the UK this year and I barely watched any live TV, so there are almost certainly some good shows that that I’ve left off the list. And, of course, there are a few shows that started well but I’ve not finished yet, so aren’t eligible for the list.

So best not to think of this as the definitive “Best new TV shows from all the shows that have aired around the world of 2019”, so much as just the “Top TV shows I would recommend to a friend of the ones I’ve reviewed in 2019”.

Old stuff is good

I should also point out that this is all the new shows that have hit TMINE’s TV-viewing radar this year, and it’s worth remembering that sometimes the best TV can come from people who have already been making great TV.

So honourable mentions for the following ineligible shows that have continued to provide me with considerable viewing pleasure this year:

  • Le bureau des légendes (The Bureau) (France: Canal+; UK: Sundance TV) – seasons three and four
  • Dark (Netflix) – season two
  • Engrenages (Spiral) (France: Canal+; UK: BBC Four) – season eight
  • Impulse (YouTube) – season two
  • Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK) – season three

Drum roll, please

But now, to the Top N of 2019. As always, feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments, on your own blog or on the TMINE Facebook page.

Continue reading “It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s the TMINE Top N programmes of 2019!”
Der Pass

And the winners of the Der Pass (Pagan Peak) competition are…

For the past week, TMINE has been running a competition to win one of two boxsets of Der Pass (Pagan Peak) on DVD.

All you had to do to enter was ‘Like’ the TMINE Facebook page and leave a comment on either the competition entry post or the matching Facebook post.

Entry closed last night and the following people all managed to follow those instructions:

Look how GDPR-protected their names are (George did his own GDPR protection).

Now, using the mighty power of the Internet Random Number Generator, I’ve picked two of these seven wise people at random from the entries to receive the DVDs. And they are…

Continue reading “And the winners of the Der Pass (Pagan Peak) competition are…”

Competition time: win a copy of Der Pass (Pagan Peak) on DVD

Autumn’s here. The darkness is approaching. Nights are getting longer. Surely it’s time for something scary but high quality? And another TMINE German TV competition?

You’re right. It is. Because I’ve got two copies of top Bron/Broen remake Der Pass (Pagan Peak) up for grabs.

Krampus in Der Pass
Krampus in Der Pass

Der Pass (Pagan Peak)

Season one of Der Pass (Pagan Peak) was last week’s Boxset Tuesday – spoiler alert: I loved it – so I’m quite delighted to be able to give it away on DVD, since I suspect not as many people would have seen it as would have liked to have seen it, given it aired here on Sky Atlantic.

Here’s the blurb, to explain it:

TV phenomenon The Bridge has inspired numerous remakes across the globe and heralded a new dawn of television. Now from the award-winning makers of hit drama The Dark comes a thrilling new German-Austrian spin that takes the initial premise to the brand-new gripping heights of Der Pass.

This Sky Original garnered exceptional viewing figures when it premiered in Germany, earning critical acclaim and now it’s set to take the UK by storm as it arrives on DVD and digital from Acorn Media International following its premiere on Sky Atlantic this summer.

When a gruesomely staged, dead body is found in a mountain pass in the Alps near the German-Austrian border, two detectives from either side are brought in to investigate.

Not only are they from two different countries, they are worlds apart in their careers… German detective Ellie (Julia Jentsch) embraces the case as the first real challenge of her profession, while her Austrian counterpart Gedeon (Nicholas Ofczarek) is jaded and seems to have lost any ambition.

They soon discover more crime scenes with symbolically posed victims, which appear reminiscent of pagan rituals. Are they all part of a much bigger, sinister plan?

Ellie puts herself under increasing pressure to try and understand the deranged murderer’s motives so she can stop them killing again, and as the hunt goes on the detectives are drawn deeper into the dark valleys and archaic Alpine customs – and the paranoid world of the killer.

Set against a majestic backdrop, the eight-part series is produced by the Academy Award-winning Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg (The Lives of Others) and won the award for Best TV series at Austria’s ROMY TV Awards. It arrives on DVD and digital on 23 September 2019.

Make the darkly enthralling Der Pass your new favourite ritual.

Continue reading “Competition time: win a copy of Der Pass (Pagan Peak) on DVD”
Krampus in Der Pass
European TV

Boxset Tuesday: Der Pass (Pagan Peak) (season one) (Germany: Sky 1; UK: Sky Atlantic)

In Germany: Aired on Sky Deutschland in January
In the UK: Wednesdays, 8pm, Sky Atlantic

It’s always fascinating to see what countries make of a killer format such as The Bridge – not just to see whether they can do it better, but because it can tell you something about the original, as well as themselves.

The original Bron/Broen was a Swedish-Danish co-production that saw two police officers, one from Sweden, one from Denmark, investigating a dead body found on the bridge between the two countries at the exact border.

It set the world on fire, largely thanks to the performance of Sofia Helin as top Swedish autist detective Saga Norin, but also because of its clever use of Danish and Swedish culture. Both detectives were respective stereotypes of one another’s countries, Norin the icy, rich, unbending Swede of Danish minds, Martin the personable, maybe slightly too greyly shaded, slightly righter wing, over-emotional Dane of Swedish minds.

The show then went on to add nuance to those stereotypes and show how these exaggerated versions weren’t actually representatives of the two countries, but people with their own quirks causing them to be the way they are.

Since then we’ve had lots of different versions lined up around the world, with versions still to come in Africa and Asia.

The first version, set on the US/Mexican border, revealed lots of unconscious biases in the US adaptors’ minds. Norin’s female equivalent might have been autistic, too, but she was clearly a defective detective, unable to match Demián Bichir’s manly Mexican and neuro-typical might – or maintain the writers’ interest. There wasn’t much the show had to say good about Mexico (it’s corrupt and dangerous) or bad about the US (it’s understaffed and overly liberal), either. That maybe tells you a little about the US’s attitudes towards itself, Mexico, the disabled and/or women.

But the French-British The Tunnel proved a much better affair. While largely faithful to the original plot, beyond locating the original body in an, erm, tunnel, it chose to undermine the stereotypes while maintaining the same roles, giving us a much more personable Brit than his icy, computing French counterpart. Quelle surprise, but it was amusing, to be fair.

With a heap of very good British writers on staff, the show had lots to say about Britain, particularly Kent. But it had almost nothing to say about the French or France that couldn’t have been culled from a Daily Mail headline, exposing British self-centredness, ego and unfamiliarity within anything even 30 miles away.

Ellie and Winter

Der Pass (Pagan Peak)

And now we have the next The Bridge in line: the German-Austrian co-production Der Pass (Pagan Peak). And it’s possibly the best – perhaps even better than the original Bron/Broen. It also has a few things to say about Germans and Austrians.

This new version, the third original drama for Sky Deutschland following its superb Babylon Berlin and Das Boot (The Boat), is also the adaptation that diverges most from Bron/Broen. Set in the mountains between Germany and Austria, once again, it sees a body found on the exact border between two countries. As a result, the two nations send their own detectives to investigate: the German Ellie Stocker (Julia Jentsch) and the Austrian Gedeon Winter (Nicholas Ofczarek).

Here, though, storylines diverge quickly as we learn that the murder evokes concepts in ancient pagan rituals, such as the Green Man and the Celtic wood god Cernunnos, as well as the Austro-German Christmas tradition of the Krampus. Who is this Krampus Killer and what does he want?

The answer my friends will involve the phrase ‘liminal boundaries’ and an exploration of the double meaning of the German word ‘Grenze’. It will also be discussed – in only slightly spoilery fashion – after the trailer and the jump. See you in a mo.

Continue reading “Boxset Tuesday: Der Pass (Pagan Peak) (season one) (Germany: Sky 1; UK: Sky Atlantic)”