TV Review: Chernobyl

In its exploration of the human stories around the nuclear accident, Craig Mazin’s mini-series Chernobyl is simply superb

“You are dealing with something that has never happened on the planet before”

Yeesh! TV dramas surely don’t have the right to be as good as Chernobyl, particularly when they’re ostensibly about such grimly horrific a topic as this,  But as creator, writer, and executive producer Craig Mazin has adroitly identified, the 1986 nuclear disaster – and the human impact it had on those closest to it – is relatively under-explored, in mainstream Western culture at least. 

Chernobyl seeks to explain what happened on that fateful day, and its terrible aftermath, on two distinct levels. Focusing in on the microlevel, we follow stories such as those of the power station workers, the first responders, the people who watched the fire burn up close. But it also takes a strategic look at the Soviet system at large, tracing the institutional problems that allowed it to happen.

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TV Review: Trapped Series 2

Icelandic crime thriller Trapped returns for a heart-breakingly good second series

“Does this concern politics, or is this a family affair?”

It can seem like we’re swimming in acclaimed Nordic crime series but Baltasar Kormákur’s Ófærð (also known by its English title Trapped) was the one worth catching in 2016. Its first series had an ingenious concept which saw its cast literally trapped by the wintry weather in a remote Icelandic town and perhaps wisely, Series 2 opts for a different season and a different setting in which to reunite its crime-fighting team.

So we’re in the northern town of Siglufjörður and though he’s now based in Reykjavík, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson’s police chief Andri finds himself drawn to an unfolding case which has both professional and personal implications. And topically, writers Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley draw in a number of hot button topics – homophobia, Islamophobia folded into a general sense of the rise of the Far Right, plus a dose of environmental exploitation to amp up the relevance points. Continue reading “TV Review: Trapped Series 2”

DVD Review: Trapped

 “Something evil came with that storm
‘I think it was already here…'”

There must come a point when we run out of exceptional European dramas to import but thankfully, it doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon. This time, we’re looking to Iceland with Trapped, a 10 part crime mystery drama that simply reaffirms the extraordinary quality of Nordic Noir, whilst establishing its own niche therein. Created by Baltasar Kormákur (who directed last year’s Everest) and written by Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley, it has reportedly received the highest budget by far ever invested into an Icelandic series and well, it shows.

Set in Seyðisfjörður, a remote town on the coast of eastern Iceland, Trapped begins with the discovery of a dismembered torso in the water at the same time that the weekly ferry from Denmark has arrived. Starting the investigation is Chief of Police Andri with colleagues Hinrika and Ásgeir but their job is complicated by the arrival of an almighty blizzard which prevents the Reykavik police from flying in to take over. It also means that no-one can leave, by land or by sea, and so whoever committed the crime can’t have left town… Continue reading “DVD Review: Trapped”