Sweet mysteries of the UK

Posted on October 28, 2010 by

Sherlock has begun airing on PBS and, like practically everyone else whose opinion I’ve heard, I loved it. I thought Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch were brilliant, I liked the script, and everything else I could squee about would be so very spoilery. I cannot wait for the next one.

Before SHERLOCK, Masterpiece aired S2 of Wallander, featuring little Kenny Branagh in the title role–remember when he was just that Henry Five guy?–as a deeply emo Swedish detective. These mysteries may not have the crackling struck-by-lightning appeal of Sherlock, but they’re good stories, well directed, with intrusive-but-nifty camera work and a stunning color palette. They offer a bit of a peek into another society (as filtered through British TV) and have good casts and solid enough mysteries.

There are many inappropriate humor moments to be had on this show, though. Wallander himself is precisely the sort of basket case that brings out a certain heartlessness in me. There’s been lots of Pause and Heckle: “Dude, if you’re so busy being upset that you don’t pay your bills, don’t go crying to me, in the dark, when the power company cuts off your juice. And, man, could you have said something dumber and more hurtful to your daughter? Hey, bummed out guy, why the uber-peppy ringtone?”

Seriously, the guy needs a nanny.

Wallander’s excuse might be that he appears to be the only competent cop in his particular unit: the others, as far as I can tell, have taken a full course of Useless Pills and a precautionary run of Huh? Boosters. They don’t help when he’s in danger, they barely blink when he goes all “Hey! People are dying, OMG, I’m so upset!” No, they shrug, dump unwanted boxes in his office and order pizza. No wonder he’s stressed out!

(Wallander’s obvious slash interest, as played by Richard McCabe, is Competent and Cares, but he’s a forensics guy, and thus his reach is limited.)

Humor aside, I definitely want to see the first season of this.

Comments are closed