ewx: (penguin)
The Killing. Lengthy subtitled Danish police procedural, in which Copenhagen detective Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) becomes obsessed with solving the horrific murder of Nanna Birk Larsen.

There are some fairly engaging characters here. Lund’s self-destructive obsession is very well portrayed, and Troels Hartmann (Lars Mikkelsen) political machinations under fire are enjoyable.

I guessed fairly early on who was the most likely killer although of course I wasn’t sure until late whether this was the kind of story where you see the perpetrator from the start or the police eventually track them down while they’re mostly off-screen.

The biggest problem, and it’s a recurring one, is characters who spend much too long being stupid, for instance inexplicably preferring to get tangled up in a murder investigation instead of than tell the police what they were really up to (which rarely turns out to be anything that the police would be very likely to care much about). In general, failure to communicate is an ever-present theme. I think they were aiming at with all this is “no-one is what they seem” but, to be effective, that needs a bit more than just clamming up for unconvincing reasons.

The series would also have benefitted from being a bit shorter, for instance by ditching one of the false leads, either completely or by having someone given the perfectly reasonable explanation for their superficially mysterious behavior up-front rather than taking a few episodes over it.

Top of the Lake. A more compact story set in a remote part of New Zealand. 12YO Tui Mitcham turns out to be unexpectedly pregnant and then ups and disappears. Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) investigates.

Griffin is not as self-destructive as Lund, but instead mostly struggles with her own history. Tui’s monstrous but complex father Matt (Peter Mullan) dominates every scene he’s in and is the most interesting character here, producing several surprises over the course of the series.

The final episode packs rather a lot of resolution into a small space, satisfyingly tying together a lot of threads but leading to a bit of a change of pace from its fairly relaxed predecessors.
ewx: (edna)

We watched City Beneath the Waves: Pavlopetri. Pavlopetri is an ancient Greek city that was inundated, probably as a result of earthquakes, three millennia or so ago; various modern techniques are being used to map it and attempt (necessarily speculative!) reconstructions. There’s some evidence for trade with Minoan Crete, which given its location - you don’t get much closer to Crete on mainland Greece - is not very surprising.

One thing I don’t recall being mentioned is the reason given for the name of the city; it looks like it might be “Paul’s rocks” or perhaps “Paul Peter”. However (although I don’t actually speak Greek, and therefore going by a combination of Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Google Translate) the morphology doesn’t look quite for either.

I also watched Kissinger, which was excellent. The program consists largely of old footage, Kissinger’s remarks in more recent interview and extracts from the Nixon Tapes, with only the most occasional question from Niall Ferguson. (Surprisingly it had previously not occurred to me just what a treasure trove those tapes must be for historians.) As I may have remarked before a lot of modern documentaries waste a lot of time getting between the viewer and whatever subject material and genuine expertise they may have to hand, and this program did a good job of avoiding that error.

It must be said that there is not much independent analysis here. Ferguson is supposed to be producing a “warts and all” biography of Kissinger, which hopefully will rectify this. Still, as an insight into Kissinger’s own experience it is remarkable. Nixon’s goals, as articulated here, and the horrendous destruction incurred in achieving them, seem entirely relevant to America’s wars today.


Aug. 4th, 2010 02:20 pm
ewx: (edna)
This looks interesting: BBC2 three-parter on the Normans. If you like that kind of thing.

Dr Who

Nov. 15th, 2009 08:06 pm
ewx: (edna)
I think someone has been watching Silent Running.
ewx: (edna)

If the worst should happen, and ITV were dismantled or taken over by an overseas company with less of an obligation to create British programmes, it would leave a huge hole. That really is thinking the unthinkable.

Would it? Frankly I'm not sure I'd notice. The last thing I watched on ITV was Law And Order UK which they stopped showing half way through the series without any announcement as to when or whether the rest will appear. (You might think it would be a better fit on C5 anyway given that's where the US versions show.) I can't remember what would have been the previous thing, and I mostly watch C5 and (to a lesser extent) the BBC.

It would of course help if they didn't, apparently uniquely among TV stations, try to stop you finding out what they were showing.

ewx: (edna)
CSI Miami ) CSI New York ) Rome )

A couple of people have mentioned Heroes to me now; the first I somehow ended up thinking that they were referring to something that had already started, but in fact it starts tomorrow, and looks worth a go.

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