I know I’m in the minority, but it’s great news (to me at least) that Peter Flannery’s Inspector George Gently is starting to film its eighth series. I like the dourness of it, I like the dynamic between Gently and Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) and I like the way it incorporates the changing social and cultural landscape of the 1960s into its storylines. For some this meshing together of social change and bleak, battered industrial vistas of northeast England is just too much drudgery, but I find the period and the way Britain was changing at the time a fascinating backdrop to what is a decent procedural. Here are all the details…
The current re-emergence of Twin Peaks into our consciousness highlights the fact that David Lynch’s surreal, scary procedural was as influential as they come. And while a few series have benefitted from Twin Peaks’ trailblazing, a new series – from M. Night Shyamalan – seems to get as wilfully close to Lynch’s masterpiece as possible.
Ironically, although the trendy BBC overlords would dearly love to drive a stake though the heart of this hoary old ratings titan, New Tricks sometimes trumps their contention that it is deeply unsexy TV by ingratiating itself with a plotline that’s bang up to date. And this week’s episode of the warhorse of police procedurals also snaffled what will be the best line uttered in any TV show this week, nay, the whole month.
We had to wait a little while, but our next Scandinavian crime drama fix comes via Sweden. But Crimes Of Passion is not a modern, contemporary story, like The Killing or The Bridge. No, it’s a fairly quaint Swedish whodunnit, with a trio of 1950s-set characters. Crimes Of Passion is a Swedish crime series based upon the novels by Maria Lang, and follows three crime-busting friends who investigate whodunnits in and around idyllic Bergslagen in 1950s Sweden.
Minority Report was one of my favourite films of the Noughties. Not because it had Tom Cruise in it, and not because it was directed by Steven Spielberg. I enjoyed it because it provided an interesting look into the near future, and even though it has only been 12 years since its cinema release, some of the things it showed – personalised adverts etc – have already begun to seep into our every-day existence. That’s the trick of sci-fi, and Phillip K Dick, whose story the movie was based on, did a fantastic job of creating a near future dystopia (some would call the capitalist paradise a utopia) where the technology was believable. But let’s not forget – Minority Report was a futuristic crime drama at its heart. And now Steven Spielberg is revisiting the story to develop a TV series from it.
Since it shamefully ditched the superb Thorne (based on the Mark Billingham’s excellent fictional detective series) Sky1 has been a bit quiet in the crime drama genre. Yes, we’ve had Charlie Brooker’s often laugh-out-loud piss take of procedurals in Touch Of Cloth, but now the channel is giving us something a little more serious and substantial, this time focusing on the amateur sleuth sub-genre with a new one-off to air at Christmas. What’s more, Ashley Jensen has been announced to star.
Absolutely typical. You take a bit of a break from things and you think you’ve chosen your time away from the keyboard wisely because there isn’t much on, and then there’s a glut of new stuff bombing in while you’re on your mini-hiatus. That’ll learn me.
Let’s get to it. BBC4, who has made a name for itself as finest purveyor of foreign language drama, has announced the transmission date for its latest import. And it’s not any old import – it’s a Swedish drama, featuring an amateur sleuth. We’ve not had a Scandinavian drama since The Bridge, and there has been a huge hole ever since for fans of Scandi murder and mayhem. While Crimes Of Passion may not have the darkness of a Killing or a Bridge, it does look like a worthy addition to the Nordic canon. Find out more after the jump.