Note to my Readers of a new Series: Intruders-First two episodes and a review at the end. Some spoilers. On in the UK on BBC Two or channel number 102 on Virgin Media TV. Mondays @ 9 pm catch-up on BBC i-player-First aired 29th October2014

Intruders

BBC Two

Nb. Intruders is based on the book The Intruders by Michael Marshall Smith.

Source:
www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2014/intruders:
“BBC Two announces new drama series Intruders, an original 8 x 45 minute paranormal mystery thriller co-produced with BBC America, produced by BBC Worldwide Prodductions and distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide”

TV Preview:
“Ex-Cop Jack Whelan worries about his lawyer wife Amy’s behaviour”
TV warning:
“contains some violent and upsetting scenes”
( you have to be 16 years or older to watch Intruders on i-player)

John Sims is Jack Whelan.
Mira Sorovino is in it. (Jack’s wife?)

Episode one:
“She was provisional.”

“Barstow, California 1990”
Intruders opens on a Happy Birthday scene.  A teenager blows out her candles.

There is no sound.  This makes it more sinister.  Two men, dressed in black, silently come up the steps to where the teenage girl is sleeping..

Man:
“Donna, can you keep a secret?”
“Its a secret you gave to us..”
“We’re here to give it back to you..”
“Just like you asked all those years ago..”
(Holds up a stencil face)
“We’re here to shepherd you..”

In retrospect it is not entirely clear in the initial and superficially happy birthday scene, who the girl’s
family were.  (think there were only women at the birthday party)

Plus the teenage girl appears to lock a back door.
It is not clear whether she is on a family house/ home or a college dorm.  There seems to be nobody else around in the house.

Donna wakes up.
She writes:
“I am not Donna..”
“Because in the beginning, there is death..”

Dreadful droplets fall on a letter to Gary Fisher.

Then:
“Seattle, Washington, the present day”
A lady hears banging on the door whilst at home.
Her:
“It’s late, may I see identification?”
“Special Agent Shepherd..”
(he puts an F.B.I Badge up against the windowpane)

So the drama is pretty violent.
(liquid pours)
That’s a novel description of blood.
(flames rasp)
Also original.

Sirens in distance..


Then:
“Birch Crossing, Washington”
Seagulls caw.  A kind of lake.  John Sims as Jack Whelan stands at a bookshop window.
“The After-life-Crime Essays and Stories”.
A picture of him in the shop, in this Police Uniform, smiling.  So Jack has written a book.  This opening is very Stephen King.

So Jack Whelan’s wife is acting seriously creepy.

Then:
“Reno, Nevada”
A man in a truck: giving a pod-cast.
“I fear no-one, fear derives from the unknown..”
“When they come knocking, don’t be afraid to answer..”
“As I speak to you of them”..

So there is a recurrent theme of birthdays, candles and cakes.  Plus the number nine.

1920’s jazz plays.
Jack’s wife, Amy Whelan literally face-palms herself, then..

Professor Perdu (the man from the t ruck)
“They cannot silence us”
“this life is ours, not theirs!”
“Fear no-one!
Be-loud!”
“Professor Perdue-calling to you from nowhere and everywhere..
“Over and out”.

So there is a clue in the eye department that things may not be all as they seem.

Then:
“Finley Beach, Oregon.
Beauutiful.  The scenes are beautifully set and painted.  it is unlike me, I have barely noticed.  Because the drama is so sinister.  And it is only getting worse.

A bone white Anemone looking shell, saucer like is held up by a child.

Then:
Gary Fisher appears-yey!  Nice touch.  Gary is a hunk and a half.

Gary Fisher and Jack Whelan (with a questionable American accent) wonder in the shadowy green fir forest.

Man:
“Alpha Oscar-three-Charlie-Zulu”
Professor Perdew gets a call on his two way radio.

Oooo.  I am getting the heebie jeebies.

First.  Jack gets a phone call..
I canna tell it all.

Now we are back at the ghostly lit bone bleached out lake,  Full of stones all around.

And the handsome shepherd has an emotional moment.


Jack’s Father-in-law lends him a car:
( Jack is going on a quest)
“One quirk about this car Jack, the engine mounts should have been replaced years ago..”

Shepherd and Professor Perdu.
Shepherd:
“I understand you need to keep your broadcasts oblique..”
Professor Perdue:
“Through sound, Mr. Segreto, there are other frequencies,..
“We have to teach others how to reach them..”

Number 9…

No, Professor Perdu!  Don’t do it!..

Shepherd on the ‘phone.
“It’s Marcus, you brought me back too early”
“And I know why”
“But, get this, what goes around comes around..”

***

End of Episode One

***



Episode Two:
“And here…you must listen…”

The number nine has a touch of The Prisoner about it.

The child Madison has a book with Number nine on it in gold, many hundreds of dollars and a set of keys.  She turns the page to the beginning: there it is written..
“In the beginning, there was death..”

Nb.  The opening credits are cool and unusual.  Beyond words!  I noted by the second episode that you can see a giant white anemone shell, embedded white and bone-like in a still.

In the second episode Jack goes to his wife’s office.  K & R Crane.  There is an odd futuristic kind of ‘phone.  Like the universe was inverted..

I’m gonna stop here I think.  Other than to say Intruders is looking really really good.

Uh oh.

You just see some hands come up, from the bed.  I never thought a pair of fore-arms could be quiet so scary..

The shepherd does some brass rubbing spy style in a book: (diary)
The words come up:
“What goes around comes around..”

Then we meet George.
George:
“George Brackett”
Jack:
“Jack Whelan”.

George:
“Jack, I remember your wife, she creeped me out..”
“Overheard her on the phone, she said she was from Russia”
“One of the Tsar’s Secret Police, that she had assassinated a Strike official, in 1883!”

Madison reads:
“This book begins at the point you began..”

Then Intruders goes off into some odd news clip laden video with words on top in deathly neon yellow.  The words are intoned, sonorously.

It is not entirely clear if the Shepherd is rogue or not.

I have to stop writing now or I will give it all away..

Arkada.
Chinese Lady:
“No, no, I am seventy one, my time is close!”
Shepherd:
“Closer than you think..”

“..the few, the very few..”

***

Review.

So I am thinking, so far, that Intruders is fairly blindingly good.  Add fresh and different.  Albeit with familiar touches of cult retro series such as: The Prisoner, Man From Uncle, The Avengers even.

Hell all of those series of that time in which usually governmental but deep rogue officially/ unofficially government cells, were dabbling in psychological experiments via brainwashing and psychological torture.  basically.  Lets add The Saint.

 There was always ludicrous, even then, computer panels of cut out orange dials and red flashing buttons or some such like.

On top of that we have old movies like the one where all the staff at a school started exhibiting a fondness for standing under the sprinklers.  More recently than that, or maybe quite a while ago now. there was that unusual and enjoyable series:Invasion.

Let’s throw into that mix, like it was cake mixture, a touch of Les Revenants, a sprinkle of Top Of The Lake and finish off with a topping of Mammon.  Maybe .

Elements, however slight, from all of these series and more.  Point is, I had a point somewhere and I knew it was going to end in cake.  As a metaphor.  But can you tell, now I’ve forgotten.

Still, I can say that Intruders is a great big cake, baked with several good helpings of old fashioned sinister with vintage retro-noir as thick as the delectable looking thick American chocolate icing on top.

**


Footnotes:

As told, the credits are unusual and stylishly different. Baked in barest ochre yellow sepia. statue head faces crack open like brick, inexplicably.

The opening still of a mysterious man, silhouetted by a lake is shocking and atmospheric in effect. Quite why is unknown.  The still shimmers with a strange muted light, like an old photograph catching mist, rising on the lake.

***
Certainly, with little fanfare, except a mention here and there, Intruders is a worthy contender for BBC4 fans of the Saturday night drama slot.  Since I see that Inspector Montalbano is being repeated again.

***
Oh yes, and I am liking the titles of the episodes.  Cool and unusual they be.

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