Ever since the mid-1970s, Stephen King’s work has been adapted for cinema screen and TV with regularity. That says a lot about the author’s incredibly prolific output, and King continues to bash out novels like they’re going out of fashion. In recent years, King has turned his skilled hand to the crime novel, but to my knowledge none have been adapted yet (although you could argue that last year’s Netflix hit, Stranger Things, was so Stephen King you could have been forgiven for thinking that King had actually written it). Now we have news that one of the 69-year-old’s recent works is about to be given the TV treatment, and that a decent-sounding cast has signed up for the project. Let’s hope it reaches these shores, but until then here’s the juice…
Crime drama is super, mega-busy at the moment and we’re trying our best to cover as much stuff as we can here at The Killing Times. One US series that slipped under the radar was Search Party, which, I was reliably informed was an entertaining mix of comedy and thriller. I was told this by a friend and work colleague, who very kindly offered to write a little bit about the show and why he got so into it. Over to you Ben…
After having just watched the first five episodes of the thought-provoking, raw and hard-going Case, coming back to Endeavour was like settling back into a favourite armchair with a glass of red and shuffling your feet into a pair of fleece-lined slippers. That’s not to say that Endeavour is meagre or weak, but this Morse prequel does have a comforting quality to it, which, in these troubled times, is most welcome. Alas, it was time for the final episode of the series, a series I’ve enjoyed greatly.
With so much on at the moment it’s difficult to keep up with everything, but after watching the first episode of 10-part Icelandic crime drama, Case, on Channel 4 last week, I wanted to make time for the nine remaining episodes, now being shown in their entirety on Walter Presents. Why? It had something about it – the characters were intriguing, the crime (a young teenage girl was found hanged at the theatre she practised ballet at) had tragic and desperate overtones and the suspects were already being lined up. So this weekend – a wet, miserable weekend, no less – I snuggled up with four more episodes of Case. I soon found that it was hardly snuggling-up material.
It’s pretty much as you were this week with both Apple Tree Yard and Unforgotten approaching its climaxes, and Fortitude shivering on. There’s also something I forgot to mention last week – celebrated crime author John Harvey’s dramatisation of the Qiu Xiaolong Inspector Chen stories, continuing on Radio 4 this week. Enjoy!
What is it about Fortitude that makes it so chilling? It’s not just the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic Norwegian setting, though you feel you could freeze just watching the befurred characters slogging through the snow; it’s more that a sense of dread permeates the whole series. Because while the town of Fortitude should be a chilly paradise, where everyone’s equal and happy and there’s no crime, in fact there is Something Lurking Under the Ice.
It says much for the crafting of Unforgotten – Chris Lang’s writing and Andy Wilson’s direction – that we want to spend quality time with these characters. Over the past year there have been several series during which we itched to fast-forward through the kind of perfunctory and clunky ‘Basil Exposition moments’ that film critic Mark Kermode would rail at. Not here. As with the first series, we want to live every minute with these suspects – not for blood sport, but because we’d kind of like them as neighbours under normal circumstances (well, perhaps not Nurse Marion (Rosie Cavaliero).