Tag Archives: Mystery

Tea & Review: Wallander

In this column, I want to provide short descriptions of a particular genre of television series, the foreign detective series available on Netflix. The series I watch are both in English and in English-speaking places, and in foreign languages with subtitles. I watch foreign detective series for the pleasure of seeing a crime solved, the intellectual, emotional, and sometimes, personal toll the process demands of the detective.   But, foreign series offer a glimpse, albeit fictional, into the lives of people in different cultures and geographies, for while the stories are fictional, the locations are, in the main, real.   There are some programs that are set in fictional places, of course, and a few that are set in the past.

Wallander

First of all, there are two Wallander series on Netflix. There is the one called “Wallander” with Kenneth Branagh as a producer, director, and lead character. This is in English and is a BBC production. In the United States, we saw it first on Masterpiece Theatre. The other one is called “Henning Mankell’s Wallander”, and this is in Swedish with subtitles. The two series are based on Henning Manskell’s character Kurt Wallander, a detective in the southern city of Malmö. The portrayals are different, but a great deal is recognizable between the two. The Branagh production tends to portray Sweden as a windswept barren land, but the Swedish production shows a vibrant European country with plenty of the old and new.

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Tea & Review: Sherlock’s ‘Problem’ is Aptly Named

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 3, “The Final Problem”
Written by Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Benjamin Caron
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

So, in my last review of series 4 of Sherlock, I wrote that the television show was one of the rare pieces of media where I process my own thoughts through reading other reactions. This rings true so much more in this, what is framed as the last episode of the show. Not only the reviews from Indiewire, Vox, the Nerdist (which I apparently remembered the title from), The Guardian, The AV Club, The Mary Sue, and Just Add Color, but the plethora of responses from other fans as we all digested this last piece in the world of Sherlock. It made me reevaluate my place as a fan, and think about the show as a whole. Needless to say, this has major spoilers.

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Tea & Review: This ‘Detective’ Isn’t the Only Liar

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 2, “The Lying Detective”
Written by Steven Moffat
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Nick Hurran
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have almost made a career out of outright admitting they are lying whenever they are interviewed with regards to plot points in Sherlock. Interview after interview, they state one thing, to only state in the next interview the exact opposite. Their argument, which does have a point, is that no one really wants to be spoiled as to the plot of the show or where it’s going. But rather than outright just stating ‘spoilers’ ala River Song in Doctor Who (or a variation of ‘no comment’), they gleefully troll the fans of the show with their deception, thinking it’s all in great fun.

So, when they said that this series of Sherlock would be wrapping up most (if not all) of the major plot points so far (which is another clue that this is most likely the last series), I took it with a grain of salt.

And in “The Lying Detective”, we definitely didn’t see much resolution. As usual, there are spoilers and speculations ahead, so turn away now if you haven’t seen the episode.

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Looking Back at ‘Leverage’ – Let’s Go Steal Us a TV Show

{All photos from the Leverage Wiki.}

Leverage is a television show that – like the schemes used by our lead characters themselves – doesn’t seem like it should be anything special but ends up being so much more than meets the eye.

Premiering on TNT in December of 2008, the basic idea wasn’t anything new: a group of criminals (a thief, a hacker, a grifter, and the muscle) all join forces under a man who is good but wants to help others who can’t get help through normal means. Pretty much The A-Team, Mission Impossible, and so on, it’s the ‘bad guys make the best good guys’ trope for the 2000s. Created by John Rogers and Chris Downey, the show ran five seasons and continues on in tie-in novels. And while there’s the occasional ‘not great’ episode, every single one of them is a joy to watch.

I had originally started watching in the second season when I had heard that Wil Wheaton would be making a guest appearance. If I remember right, this was one of his first appearances on television since he had taken a break post-Star Trek and was the first in a line of ‘evil’ characters he was cast in. I had also been seeing the show pop up a lot in my perusal of TV Tropes, and it sounded interesting enough to give it a try.

I fell hard.

Nathan Ford helps a man in season 1’s “The Snow Job”.

It’s one of those shows you watch more for the characters than the actual plots, and it’s filled with geek references and clever quips that make the tropey premise work. (I literally squeed the first time they made a reference to Doctor Who.)  There are also a number of shout outs and crossovers from other shows I liked, from one of the main characters being Christian Kane from Angel to a recurring part for Mark Sheppard (from Firefly and before he popped up on Supernatural and Doctor Who) to shows being directed by Jonathan Frakes and Frank Oz.

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The Phone Call

The Phone Call

by Rosie Gonce

“Hello, is this Samantha Harvey?”

Sam sighed and reluctantly said “Yes, it is.” emphasizing the annoyance in her tone. No one ever called her Samantha. It was an immediate sign that it was someone she did not want to talk to.

Telemarketer or bill collector? she wondered, trying to remember if there was a bill she had forgotten about.

Why are they calling so early?! The clock on her wall read 6:10 am.

“It says here that you are the ‘In case of emergency’ contact person for Nathaniel McDouglas.”

Sam’s heart sank. It sank the way it always did when someone mentioned Nathaniel.

“Well…Um…” Sam gulped.

This was awkward, she thought.

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Tea & Review: ‘Six Thatchers’ Needs a Deeper Look

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 1, “The Six Thatchers”
Written by Mark Gatiss
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

And we’re back to Baker Street. Finally.

As I often state, being a Sherlock fan is one of immense patience. Three episodes a season (albeit episodes that are the same length of movies), with wait times between series that have entire shows start and canceled while we wait. And while technically it’s been only a year since we last saw Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman grace our screens as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as I noted in my review of “The Abominable Bride”, the Christmas special was almost completely character development for Sherlock, and very little actual plot.

So we have been left with the questions still unanswered at the end of series 3 over two years ago, including whether Moriarty was actually still alive somehow, Mary Watson’s background as an assassin, and what Sherlock and John were doing during those two years after Sherlock jumped at the end of series 2. As with my other reviews, there are spoilers in this review, although I try not to give away TOO much. So, if you haven’t seen it, I’d turn away now.

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