government, TV

Borgen – Season 1 (2010)

Lists of BEST NATIONS typically include Denmark close to the top.

But their government seems as chaotic as any.

Borgen is a Danish political drama television series. 

In DanishBorgen, lit. ’The Castle’, is the informal name of Christiansborg Palace where all three branches of Danish government reside: the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court, and is often used as a figure of speech for the Danish government. …

… against all the odds, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen)—a minor centrist politician—becomes the first female prime minister of Denmark. …

On Netflix the English voice over and captions are hilariously bad. BUT I did enjoy the characters and story lines. It gets great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Newsweek called Borgen “the best TV show you have never seen”.

NY Times:  “bleaker, Nordic version of The West Wing

A U.S. remake of the series is planned.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, TV

Shadow and Bone – season 1

It’s no Game of Thrones, but I’m impressed by many things in this new TV show.

Good cast.

It is cheesy. But I will try the books.

Shadow and Bone is an American fantasy … series based on the Grisha trilogy, the first of which is Shadow and Bone, and the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.

… orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov discovers she has an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free from the darkness plaguing it …

There are treacherous forces at play, including a charismatic crew of criminals called the Crows, and it will take more than her new powers to survive it. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch some BEHIND THE SCENES on YouTube.

humour, TV

Flowers – season 1

The Guardian praised the series and called it “a gloriously dark sitcom about depression and rage“.

It’s DARK. Very dark.

With very smart and original dialogue. Funny.

Intense.

Sometimes hard to watch.

Flowers is a British black comedydrama sitcom

… the Flowers family, consisting of depressed father and children’s author Maurice (Barratt); music teacher wife Deborah (Colman), their 25-year-old twin children: inventor son Donald (Daniel Rigby) and musician daughter Amy (Sophia Di Martino); Maurice’s senile mother Hattie (Leila Hoffman); and Maurice’s Japanese illustrator Shun (Sharpe). …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Here’s a review with spoilers.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, TV

The White Lioness by Henning Mankell

The White Lioness is the 3rd book in the Inspector Wallander series.

Easily the best, so far.

An intricate and interesting plot.

1992.

… The plot follows two parallel patterns, one during late apartheid South Africa where incumbent president F.W. de Klerk, leader of the Afrikaner minority which is on the brink of losing power to the African majority under the leadership of the ANC, about to end 44 years of suppression by the Broederbond rule.

Simultaneously, Detective Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander is investigating a case of a missing female Methodist real-estate agent …

How could those two things possibly be linked?

human rights, TV

Good Girls Revolt – season 1

Good Girls Revolt is an American period drama streaming television series.

It only lasted 1 season. Too bad. I found it far more entertaining than Mad Men.

The series follows a group of young female researchers at News of the Week magazine in the revolutionary times of 1969. Women in the newsroom are relegated to low-level positions. Many researchers are more talented and better educated …

Based on true stories, News of the Week is Newsweek. In 1970, 46 women researchers, reporters and the magazine’s one woman writer staged a revolt. They complained to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Finally, in 1972, Newsweek promised that by the end of 1974, one-third of the magazine’s writers would be women.

I like Chris Diamantopoulos as Finn. And Erin Darke as Cindy Reston.

Actually, all the cast is good.

Jim Belushi is cast against his usual character as pro-Vietnam war, Wick.

Grace Gummer (daughter of Meryl Streep) as Nora Ephron is a glimpse into the future. She went on to write Silkwood (1983), When Harry Met Sally… (1989), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993).

Here are just 6 reasons why Amazon’s “Good Girls Revolt” should not be cancelled

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, movies, TV

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

The second book of the Kurt Wallander series.

Wallander continues as the most troubled and unlucky hero in any detective series.

For example, at the critical moment of the book — Wallander has to take a dump in a waste paper basket.

I actually liked the book. But the plot is totally unbelievable.

It was made into a Swedish film. And was adapted for season 3 of the of the British production of Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, TV

Dickinson – seasons 1 & 2

Dickinson is an American historical comedy-drama streaming television series about Emily Dickinson … produced for Apple TV+.

Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Dickinson, the first season was released on November 1, 2019, when Apple TV+ debuted.

Two more seasons are in the works.

Dickinson takes place “during Emily Dickinson‘s era with a modern sensibility and tone.

It takes viewers into the world of Emily, audaciously exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time …

It’s weird and somehow compelling. Modern dialogue. Modern music.

All the characters are great. My favourite is Darlene Hunt as Maggie, their hilarious maid.

74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A bit gimmicky, I thought the novelty might wear off. BUT season 2 was even better. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I hadn’t known that Emily Dickinson’s legendary poetry was not acclaimed until after her death in 1886. Her sister discovered the cache of  1,800 poems and finally had them published. That’s not what’s happening in the TV series.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, TV

Young Wallander – season 1

Quite good.

Young Wallander is a young, edgy, and modern series that sees Henning Mankell’s iconic detective Kurt Wallander investigate his gripping first case. The story focuses on the formative experiences – professional and personal – faced by Kurt as a recently graduated police officer in his early twenties.

It’s set in Sweden but the cast is mostly British.

I was impressed with Adam Pålsson as Young Wallander.

Most of the criticism I’ve read comes from fans of earlier adaptations of an older Kurt Wallander played by actors Rolf LassgårdKrister Henriksson, and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

I’d never seen any of those, so Young Wallander worked for me.

In fact, I’ve started reading the Wallander books. Very good.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, ethics, government, human rights, TV

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Faceless Killers is a 1991 crime novel by the Swedish writer Henning Mankell, and the first in his acclaimed Wallander series.

Happily, the audio book is read by one of my favourites — Dick Hill — of the excellent Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch series. Hill has 542 audio books, last time I checked.

Inspector Kurt Wallander is called out to a seemingly senseless and brutal murder on a Swedish farm.

Wallander is forty-two-years-old. His wife left him unexpectedly 3 months earlier. He’s constantly worried about his estranged daughter. And unsure whether his own elderly father can continue living alone out on another farm.

Also, he’s gaining weight.

Uncoordinated. Accident prone.

Near broke.

Troubled, to say the least.

Author Henning Mankell was a left-wing social critic and activist. 

But the themes of the book include Sweden’s liberal attitude regarding immigrationracism and national identity. The character Wallander is conflicted.

Kenneth Branagh is one of the actors who’s played Wallander in adaptations.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.