Category: MDP On TV

veronica_mars_season_3_posterA long time ago, we used to be friends, but I haven’t heard from you lately at all – come on now, sugah, bring it on, bring it on. Just remember me when … ~The Dandy Warhols

My friends have been raving about this series for years, and I finally paid attention to them. I won’t give the whole story summary here; most of you who will read this, will already know what the series is about. Instead, I’ll talk about why I fell so instantly in love. Girl detective–well that part is a no brainer! But, as well, Veronica is just so damn super smart. How wonderful to find a TV series celebrating that a young girl is the smartest person in the room! Veronica is everything I love in female hero.

Watching Veronica think her way through her problems is an immensely empowering experience, and not one that normally ever happens in TV fiction. Kristen Bell was absolutely born for the role of Veronica and she’s been quoted as saying as much. Her supporting cast were perfect, none more so than Enrico Colantoni who plays her father, Keith Mars. (It’s been almost impossible to watch him any role since.) Jason Dohring is equally perfect as the smouldering and dysfunctional Logan Echolls, who never fails to drag Veronica into his dramas. And then there’re Weevil and Wallace and Mac–all wonderful characters who could’ve so easily been stereotypes, but weren’t. (Cream on the cake was having Charisma Carpenter in the cast–one of my favourite Hollywood people.)

I wish I’d come to this series earlier so I could have contributed to the Kick-starter campaign that raised around 6 million dollars to produce a movie (sadly it looks like they’ve only made a percentage of that back). And what a great movie it was…a delightfully satisfying full circle for Veronica, who comes to terms with who she really is, and what that means. Also, I found that the discussion about addiction was a very powerful way to end the story.

Oh, and as theme music goes… this is my all time number 1! (Which makes me think of another topic for a blog post.)

The Dandy Warhols – We Used to be Friends

The Series

The Pilot for Series 4

The Movie

Having recently feasted upon modern day cowboy series Justified (I’m up to season 4), I was interested to see whether Longmire could steal my affections. However, Walt Longmire is definitely not Ralen Givens.

He’s older, (occasionally) wiser, even more set in his ways, and twice as prickly. Walt is Ralen in ten or fifteen years time when life has kicked him around a bit more.

Longmire opens with some fairly standard country cop storylines and warms us into the characters slowly.

Right out of the gate though, the bolshy, displaced city cop role, fits Katee Sackoff like a glove. Bailey Chase (Saving Grace) gives deputy Branch Conolly’s character some brooding depths, and Louanne Stephens (Friday Night Lights) as Ruby the dispatcher, is outstanding in whichever role she plays.

Lou Diamond Phillips portrays the character of Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s best friend, and a man constantly trying to bridge the divide between the local townsfolk and the Native American community. Less interested in conciliation is (Zahn McClarnon) Chief Mathias of the Tribal Police on the Cheyene Reservation.

Because of the quality of these actors, I stayed through the first few episodes though I didn’t feel that the stories matched their acting potential. With three episodes left to go in series one, Longmire felt like it hit a rhythm. The over-arcing storyline that explores the tensions between the Cheyenne reservation and the rest of Absaroka county is the most interesting aspect of the series so far.

Walt’s grief after losing his wife and his battle against Branch to retain his position as Sheriff, also provides some inter-office conflict. And though Walt’s friendship with Henry Standing Bear is the lynchpin relationship in the series, the real prize is the land.

Even on the small screen, the countryside (sadly not Wyoming, but California and New Mexico) dominates the series in the same way that Texas pervaded Friday Night Lights. I’m looking forward to season 2 to see where the writers and Aussie actor, Robert Taylor, takes Walt Longmire. The trailer (below) tells us there’s a storm coming.  

Season 2

First thing I have to say is, that The Bridge has the most exceptional theme song.

Hollow Talk by The Choir of Young Believers is a moody, delicate, depressing song. Perfect for a series, which is all of the above.

The Bridge snuck up on me. I had it in the bookcase for a fair while, and for some reason, thought it was over ten years old. I realised, when I finally loaded it into my computer to watch, that in fact, it was only fairly new and being touted as the new The Killing.

Here’s some of the wiki synopsis: What appears to be the body of a female Swedish politician is discovered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge, which connects Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmö in Sweden. The body, cut in half at the waist, has been placed precisely on the border between the countries, thus falling under the jurisdiction of both the Danish and Swedish police agencies. After further examination, it turns out that the body is that of two separate corpses, with one half belonging to a Danish prostitute. Saga Norén, from the Swedish side, and Martin Rohde, from the Danish, lead the investigation to catch the murderer … And so it goes.

Sonia Helin plays the socially awkward, dogged and forthright Swedish detective Saga Noren. Her counterpoint is Kim Bodnia as Martin Rodhe. Rodhe is a family man with an easy manner and a wandering eye. While on the case, the pair develop an uneasy friendship which develops into something deeper as the story takes a very personal turn.

The acting and the suspense are as good as any of the best Scandinavian television series. I found the mood to be even bleaker than The Killing, as the story is played out through the chill of a Swedish/Danish winter. I don’t recall  seeing the sun shine once. Coupled with the outstanding theme music, The Bridge, had me hooked before a word is ever spoken.

Interestingly though, Saga is a little harder to connect with than our beloved Sarah Lund from The Killing. I felt sympathy for Saga, and admired her dedication and police instincts. She truly interested me, but I couldn’t see myself in her shoes. This is an observation rather than a criticism. With Lund, I felt totally connected, with Saga, I was fascinated. The character of Martin Rodhe is portrayed as loving and charming on one hand, and selfish and vain, on the other. Having Saga playing against him, and seeing their fledgling friendship develop, is his saving grace. Otherwise, I might have been inclined to throw my remote control at him.

The Bridge creates a believable dynamic between its lead detectives, who are caught in a suspenseful and twisted tale of revenge. I can see why Clive James thought he might die from despair when series two finished! Hooray for Nordic Noir!

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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