Brit TV Fest Part I

So after my sloth-like Saturday, when I watched seven Stateside shows off my DVR (L&O:LA, you’re officially banned from my TV), I decided on Sunday that I’d get all cultured.  So, with a glass of red wine in hand, I hunkered down for a few hours of Anglo-cized TV viewing.  This isn’t a rare occurrence as I grew up watching Masterpiece Mystery with my dad (loved Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett and Hercule Poirot with Peter Ustinov) and I’ve totally gotten Henry (the hubster) into it, too.

I started with the Brit reboot of the recently canceled Law & Order (I’m still trying to get over it) first since that was also in the DVR. For those of you who don’t know, yes, they made a Law & Order: UK and it’s on BBC America every Friday night at 9pm EST. Now London is a fabulous choice for the franchise since the dark, gloomy and devoid of sun (at least on TV anyway) city really captures the grittiness of the original series.

Click through to the full post for the rundown of L&O:UK, Wallander and Stringer Bell on Luther.

Plus it has all the L&O staples: Jamie Bamber (who I wasn’t so into as Apollo on the new Battlestar Galactica, but I just wasn’t that into BSG) as the hot young detective in the same vein as Mike Logan/Rey Curtis/Ed Green, crusty experienced older detective partner, was-probably-a-model-in-a-previous-career female ADA and maternal, yet kick ass female sergeant. I’m still trying to figure out if their version of the DA is the Adam Schiff of the bunch though. The only problem (well, sort of) is that all the storylines are Anglo-cized versions of original storylines.  So, if you’re like me and have basically seen every single episode since the beginning (what else was 13 months of grad school for, if not to catch up on a decade of L&O reruns on A&E?), then the mysteries and outcomes aren’t much of a surprise. But it’s still awesome to watch and almost makes up for the waste of DVR space that is Law & Order: Los Angeles.

Since it was Masterpiece Mystery day, aka, Sunday, I followed through and watched the season finale of “Swedish Detective Series” Wallander with Kenneth Branagh.  I really don’t know why I kept watching that show. First off, I still can’t really get over that it’s based on a Swedish book series and it’s set in Sweden, yet everyone on the show is British and is speaking in their native British accent.  When I first started watching, I was like, did they reset the show in England? But the police cars and signage are all in Swedish, plus it’s sunny….  And secondly, I think Kenneth Branagh is an amazing actor, but the character is so one-note and ridiculously incompetent. I liken him to Inspector Gadget—he doesn’t just not get really obvious clues, he totally hinders the investigation process.  The entire first season was him messing up and somehow stumbling onto the killer, duh!

I started the second season because I was on a plane to Buenos Aires and I didn’t feel like watching a movie.  Wallander didn’t mess up quite as much in that first episode and the season is only four episodes so I gave it a go. But I found myself screaming at the TV numerous times.  *SPOILER ALERT!* I don’t know if that’s just how they roll in Sweden, but honestly. Why is he bringing a civilian into a crime scene? Why aren’t they wearing gloves? Why doesn’t he have backup? Why is another civilian walking through a crime scene and contaminating it?! Don’t even get me started on the end. So the Swedish police can carry guns (unlike the Brits), so there’s a gun stand-off at the end with like five cops and the perp.  The perp then shoots Wallander (it’s OK, he lives and seems remarkably agile for someone shot in the chest, mind you) and everyone just stands there, guns drawn, doing nothing while the perp takes him hostage.  The murderer could have gone for a sandwich and come back and Magnus and crew would have still been standing there.  Now if this was an American cop show, the perp would have been taken down in a hail of bullets, dammit.

Even worse, this show delayed my start time to watch the premiere of Stringer Bell as Luther on BBC America. Now this show features three of my favorite things: Idris Elba, England and cops.  I watched about 20 minutes of it, so I’ll be back with Part II after I view the rest of the episode. Cheers!

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