I know some of you who visit don’t check back for the comments, so here’s something you missed yesterday:
That’s Beartooth Pass,
Montana Wyoming, four days ago. I’ve gone through snow in the mountains in June before, but not that much of it. I’m sure it’s lovely, and I’m sure the views are grand, but photos like this remind me how much I’m a flatlander. Once the ground gets high enough that you can fall from it and die, I have to fight the urge to lay face-down and hang on for dear life. Although then you miss all the pretty scenery.
I think that picture was MarkH’s. I hope it was. If not, I’m breaking someone’s copyright.
So. I made time for “Game of Thrones” and “The Killing” finales, finally, and I really don’t have much to add to the chorus. By way of comparison, I think these few paragraphs from Gawker sum it up pretty well. Essentially, one show played by the rules and one didn’t, and if you read any further, know here be spoilers, but let’s get to it:
I’m always interested in shows like “The Killing,” which arise out of a different TV culture. The original was Danish, called “Forbrydelsen,” and if I cared to, I could probably dig up the statistics, but let me retrieve them from memory instead: It was so popular the entire country ground to a halt for an hour every week, for an estimated economic impact of nine trillion kroner. For the finale, you could have walked naked down the main street in Copenhagen, and no one would have noticed. Even the mermaid statue was watching. And so on. All of which should bode well for the American remake, and for a while, it did. The series started out great, and for a few weeks, I totally got it. I loved it, in fact. It was “Prime Suspect,” another crime-story import, with more rain. Lots more rain, in fact. We’ve discussed the rain before, haven’t we? Too much rain.
Here’s something I — we — should have considered, however: There’s nothing on TV in Denmark. Oh, sure, Danes have satellite and cable and all the rest of it, but I bet most of their programming is imported. You just don’t think of Denmark when you think of groundbreaking entertainment, and while it’s western Europe and presumably their culture would be recognizable to us, it’s also one of those places where I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that “Dallas” is still popular. Or “Baywatch.” Or that their “(Insert name of country)’s Got Talent” franchise just crowned an operatic soprano, or a viola player, or a contortionist. Like us, but not. Skewed.
I’ve never been to Denmark, so I can’t say with any authority what their national character is like, but reaching into my big bag of national-character stereotypes, I come up with Gloom, and Individual Industry, and Self-Effacement. Probably they’re so pathetically grateful to get their very own competently produced murder-mystery series, produced in their native language, that they didn’t care that it strung them along for the entire series and then didn’t reveal the killer in the final episode. They don’t mind tuning in next season. It’s a national duty.
Because that’s what happened, if you didn’t hear. After however-many episodes of teasing and misleading and enough red herrings to make lunch for all of Scandinavia, the series ended with…more uncertainty! Another switcheroo! It might have been Billy Campbell, but it probably wasn’t!
You’ll have to wait another year to find out who the real killer was, in other words. Well, you will. And maybe you. But I’m so far out of this show, I might as well have moved to Denmark.
Here’s something Veena Sud (Danish for “fucks with your head”),
the creator of the original series and executive producer of the American remake, didn’t consider: We eat murder for breakfast here. Every day in the United States of America, people die on TV, a whole army of them. We peek through their windows and watch them enjoying life, not knowing there’s a killer outside waiting to end it all. We watch them bound and tortured, begging for their lives. Once they’re dead, we tunnel into their wounds to watch their spleens explode. If we’re going to invest a whole series in just one murder, it better pay off. Because we don’t have time for this shit, otherwise.
Fun fact to know and tell: Copenhagen’s murder rate is roughly four per 100,000 population. It’s a city of 2 million, give or take, which means 80 homicides a year. Eighty! There were 361 murders in Detroit, year before last, a city of 800,000. As American as apple pie.
Which is not to say we’re callous about it (although we are). Just that you promised something you didn’t deliver. The show’s tag line, after all, was: Who killed Rosie Larsen? And you didn’t answer the question.
So the hell with Rosie. Bad things happen to prostitutes. Which “CSI” teaches us, three times a week.
“Game of Thrones,” now, that was a series with a payoff. OMG DRAGONS, and not just any dragons, but wee baby dragons! This show changed my mind about fantasy fiction, the whole damn genre. I’ve never been able to get into it, for a number of reasons, but the main one is magic. What’s the point of following a story if the writer’s hole card is magic? Write yourself into a corner? Have your character cast a spell and enchant his way out of it. I’m also not fond of dwarves, or swords, or krakens, or British accents as the all-purpose go-to tongue of the realm. But “Game of Thrones” gave me all of that, and wisely kept the magic at bay until the final moments, and then: Whoa.
(I will say, they kind of wimped out. In the book, Daenerys emerges from the ashes of her husband’s funeral pyre with the baby dragons actually nursing at her breasts. I suspect it would have been too hard/expensive to render with CGI, though.)
The “Game of Thrones” finale settled all the extant story lines and set up the second season with several strong new ones. I’m totally hooked. Now I need to decide whether I want to read the books, or let the show reveal the story to me. My sister’s on the final one, and I asked her, “So, has winter arrived yet?” And no, it hasn’t. The dragons aren’t even full-grown yet. I don’t know if I have the patience for all those pages of exposition. We’ll see.
The hour is drawing late, so let’s go blogging:
I’ve been reading about David Mamet’s conversion to the right wing, but I obviously haven’t read enough details, or at least not the ones revealed in Christopher Hitchens’ review of his new book. The man hasn’t had a political conversion, he’s gone mad:
Part of the left’s savage animus against Sarah Palin is attributable to her status not as a woman, neither as a Conservative, but as a Worker.
What? Life’s too short to waste on this one. I’d rather watch “The Killing” spin out the Larsen case for another 25 episodes or so.
And as we’re running long today, I think that’s it. We just had a thunderstorm, followed by sunshine. Which means, boys and girls? Yes, humidity! Nothing like having a bad hair day to look forward to.