Travelers. A Canadian Science Fiction drama series. My Final Review. Minor spoilers only. On Netflix in the United Kingdom.

Travelers.  
A Canadian Science Fiction drama  series.
Netflix.

 

Final Review.

So I really was over the whole Marcy thing by the end of Travelers. Much like the FBI Agent’s wife. They were just a bit sappy. As story-lines.

We seemed to spend an unholy amount of time staring at Marcy’s face. For some reason Often-as she stared at herself in the mirror.

Likewise the saintly and equally officially feisty-FBI Agent’s wife. Although Marcy had the extra ability to stare down people menacingly but upwards, through or with her chin.

I liked the officially un-likeable Cop, yes I know he was meant to be boo-hiss bad. But I did. Because he was an interesting character.

Some other excellently played parts I felt were the character Phillip and Trevor. Both were intensely convincing in their roles.

The FBI Agent, who we are introduced to in the very beginning: is an enigmatic yet heroic figure. Throughout. If a little stony in countenance.

There are some madcap moments and some almost if not quite downright horror. In this drama. Not quite in that I wasn’t always buying into the most obviously horrific scenes.

Yet I found a more subtle horror in a quietly understated boardroom scene..I can say no more.

I’m not sure all of Travelers is always entirely successful as a fully fledged dystopian Sci-fi drama. However it is successful in being so for enough of the time.  For me.   Often punchy in pace, snappy in dialogue and original in ideas: as in some enjoyable and interesting inventions.

 

Some dialogue.

David to Marcie:
“So you’re….Batgirl?”!

 

 

Postscript.

At one point one of the travellers superiorly and smugly advises a present day person that a particular “phobia” and “sexism” well they: “no longer exist in the future..”
Yawn. Yeah but you lived in a basement and had truly terrible jumpers.

 

 

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Travelers. Netflix. A Canadian Science fiction series. My First Review. Minor spoilers only. On Netflix in the United Kingdom.

Travelers. 
Netflix.
A Canadian Science Fiction series.




My First Review.

So Travelers is reminding me of The Intruders. And Continuum. A lot. Plus quite a few other similar series with the same sort of revenant/ returned thing. Going on. If that’s not a spoiler to say. Hope not.

Now Intruders was a rather madly wonderful series on BBC two a while back. Which I lovingly reviewed at the time. I only happened upon it by chance.

I don’t remember reading or hearing anything about Intruders . But it was good. And had the wonderful John Sims as the hero. That was some seriously beautiful drama to view. But I digress.

Point is, I was getting flashback so to speak, them wise and story-wise to both Continuum and Intruders: whilst watching Travelers. I really liked Continuum too.

As apart from observing that the Travelers is not hugely original itself in it’s premise of time travelers returning back to fix that timeline: I still like the set-up. The story.

I am already predisposed towards this series. On account of the drama reminding me of two series I really liked.

I was however wavering for a while over Travelers in the beginning. However by episode four the series really got into its stride I felt.

I was originally not sure if the drama, or rather the characters and the story-line and their evocation of that story: was entirely successful. and I’m still not sure.

But once the characters shall we say settled into their roles: they became more believable.

Well except for the wife. In my opinion. And officially she doesn’t count. She was in her role already lets say. So has no excuse. for being a bit woefully unengaging. As a character.

But then I might just be over the whole saintly long suffering spiritual being persona of the FBI Agent and or either Detective’s wife: in drama.

It’s like you get either kick-ass babes: or Mother Theresa. Now of course the practically halo-wearing wife of a hero can go all kick-ass babe.

But kick ass babes never go all Mother Theresa. Do they. Except possibly with small children and troubled teens. Because you see, the kick ass babe had been in trouble too. Back in the day.. But I digress.

Yes, I may be down on the wife mainly because she was responsible for the fairly slushy romantic stuff. Which interfered with the really rather good and excellently building story-line, multiple plots and escalating tension. Throughout.

As the drama hits halfway and snowballs towards the end.

I am at episode ten now. I pretty much binge-watched after episode four.

 

To be continued..

 

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This work or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

 

Quick note to my readers Part Two. 14th of January 2017. A mention of Christmas Eastenders on BBC One and a preview of The Break. La Trêve.

Quick note to my readers Part Two.

A Preview of The Break.  La Trêve.

Netflix.
La Trêve.  The Break.
A Belgian series. In French with English subtitles.

So I’m on episode eight, or nine now.  Lost track.

Decided to stop because I was binge watching it. To nearly the end. And then I’d have nothing to watch. But for the new episode of Frequency.

It was bad enough after Braquo.

After my post-Braquo mourning period only possibly worsened by the dreadful dirge of Eastender’s Christmas episodes filled with over artistically created demise. Well over artistically for Eastenders.

Eastenders is not meant to be that good. It breaks all the soap opera rules. Stop making it so good-it’s too intense! We want it half rubbish. We love it that way.

(We just want something to watch with dinner without any gore- although the bodies could be said to have literally piled up over the years- on those cold hard slabs of the morgue).

Let’s not even mention the Chapel Of Rest.  Inside the funeral parlour.

Yes after Braquo I eventually settled on Travellers after trying Expanse and 3%/ Three percent. Which were pants. Unfortunately.

Travellers was passable enough. Even a bit fun. (see review to come)

Then I discovered, by accessing some inner subconscious memory of adding this series to my list (ages ago) The Break.

All I could remember was that it was about a Detective, returning home to his childhood home after a tragedy.  And becoming caught up in a dark and disturbing case..

 

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Quick note to my readers Part One on 12th January 2016 and three mini-potted Reviews: Thirty Degrees In February Series Two, Expanse and 3%. Three Percent.

 

Quick note to my readers Part One.

So I don’t know what I’m going to do now I’m down to one last episode of Braquo. Oh woe is me. Everything is shit.

(well-compared to Braquo that is)

I know that’s not poetically descriptive. But it is. Drama-wise.

 

Thirty Degrees In February.  30° i Fevruari Series Two.
A mini-potted review of the first twenty minutes.

There is a series two of Thirty Degrees In February on at the moment on Sky Arts Channel. But I couldn’t get into it. The second series is even more disturbing than the first one.

Series two is both darkly disturbing and annoyingly stereotyped. In it’s depictions of the different characters in each country.

Glenn seems to be experiencing a case of cultural sexual relativism (or extreme politeness). As far as I can see. Will he snap out of it when he returns to Sweden? We shall see.

The Swedes appear to have a delusional view of paradise when in fact the local inhabitants appear to (mostly) hate them. Really. And only see them as a source of money. Just sayin.

For example one character is offered a place to stay- since it is empty. Perhaps to look after that place in return, we think. How nice. Until the lady’s husband scoffs to his wife:

“She’s too old!”. Too old to look after a place? Surely not. Too old for some other activity being considered as payment for the place to stay? I wonder..

You are silently urging the character to refuse, hoping they will pick up the whole bad vibe. About the offer. Because that couple are proper creepy..

 

Expanse.

Netflix.

A mini-potted review of the first twenty minutes.

So I tried Expanse. which was admittedly artistic a creation to look at: but cold and soul-less overall. Plus a bit boring really.

I am reliably informed that Expanse is considered to be a “Space Opera”. Which I kind of like as a term.

It means something more prosaic than I was imagining however: which is a soap opera in space.

Shame because the premise for the story line was promising I felt. And I like Sci-fi.

The rest of the definition of the term space opera is that there are no new inventions in the series. As I was told.

Hence the different classification than science fiction. To sci-fi fans. That makes sense to me.

I do like inventions in Science Fiction so i guess I would have to agree on that definition and distinction. Between two different drama genres.

I like my Sci-fi and I like human interest too but probably I prefer it not to overshadow the story line. Too much.

Plus I do like my Science Fiction with a slightly zany somehow cheerful air. Along with the dark. Continuum and The 4400 would be examples of such series.

I would add the insanely wonderful and strange: The Intruders.

However The Intruders is it’s own classification. Being unique as a series.

 

3 %.  Three Percent.
Netflix.

A mini-potted review of the first twenty minutes.

So three percent was a bit daft. And plastic. As in two-dimensional in artistic construction and characters. Somehow.

Shame. Because it was an interesting idea for a story. Albeit not hugely original. Other than being set in the future.
To signify it’s the future a character has one arm of his top sleeveless and one arm of it whole. Hilarious. When he is a bit stressed out we discover, he is prone to doing something very odd indeed. In a sink..

 

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Modus. Series One. A Swedish television Detective crime drama series. Episodes One, Two, Three and Four, notes and dialogue with a Review at the end. Minor spoilers only. In Swedish with English subtitles. Was on Television in the UK on BBC Four.

Modus.

Episode One.

Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

“Based on a roman by Anne Holt” A book by Anne Holt-I’ve read some of those.

The beginning. Long roads. snow. And a caravan in the forest.

So all quite mysterious then.

We are introduced to the heroine. who has two children. One of whom has Aspergers.

The mother is at a wedding in the hotel. And leaves the children upstairs.

Later. We are introduced to the Police Detective. Who we are pretty sure by now has a fairly tragic past.

Ah ha. So the in-house Psychologist at the battered Detective’s station has left..

So. Getting more mysterious. And much as I predicted.

And quite dark.

Hey! It’s Krister Henriksson!  He’s called Eric and wears a tie.

A stunning shot. In the ice.
And frozen forest.
All a little bit Van Damme.
Wonderful singing ensues.

Then we meet a pale faced little boy and his family.

So it’s all very good. Moody and mysterious.

I’m hoping for another episode. We don’t know what the hell is going on.

Great. My prayers are answered. Well metaphorically. There is another episode..Right after this. Great stuff.

***

Episode Two.

Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

No. We don’t know what’s going on.
But we do now..

“There are four more weeks of double episodes to look forward”..
The TV announcer excitedly tells us.

Yep, we get the gist now. Of what is going on.

The city is so beautiful at night. In the snow. Not that we know what city is it is.

Did I mention that Krister Henriksson was in it. Hurray.

So Eric (Krister Henriksson) meets Detective Ingmar Nyman.

Nyman just stands and looks at people at one point. Gazing balefully and red-eyed, across the road.

So a lot has been going down. all good. In the hood.

Now we have Krister Henrikssson. Acting everybody else off the screen. At the time. As per usual.

***

Episode Three.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

The re-cap. Bla Bla.

The episode start with Eric.   Krister Henriksson. wonderful.

Then something weird happens. In the middle of nowhere. And Henrik smiles.

(wind chimes in distance).

What a lovely house.

Oh dear. I completely forgot who the heroine was then.

The opening scenes are stunning.

Loving the scene with Ingmar, Eric and Eric’s son.

Artist at art gallery:
“I love marble statues, unplastically surreal..”
I zoned out there.

Not exactly sure what was going on there.

I do like the businessman guy’s tartan waistcoat though.

Why does there always have to be an eponymously weepy and feminine sort of guy in this kind of relationship in drama?

Is it really always this way? Isn’t there ever any two just butch guys: or just regular guys (as in non-sterotypical) I mean I don’t even know any women as girly as that.

***

Episode Four.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

I love the way they say dead in Swedish.

“Slowly, slowly, with violent scenes, the murderous links ..start to emerge”..
announces the Television announcer.

Of course Ingmar Nyman has an impossibly cool flat.

The businessman guy has a penchant for tartan.

Ah yes there’s always a cauldron. For people to burn things in.

It’s good to see the excellent actor from Never Wipe Away Tears Without Gloves.

So the heroine is doing a whole scene whispering things. Which all seems a bit over the top.
Her:
“Conspiracy theories are common (or summat) from a persecution”!
Yawn.
I lost interest there for a while.

But Krister Henriksson is crying! Noooo!
Having to eat that horrible looking tomato soup-maybe that made him cry. Ha ha.

Modus is unintentionally silly sometimes.
The business guy for example. The business guy is funny.

The heroine (Erica) spouts her stuff:
“It could be a man with a despotic attitude towards women”..

Oh God. A meaningful remembrance ceremony.

O Mi God..

Have the Detectives not figured out that all the victims have one thing in common yet?! I mean hello?
OK finally..

Later. I couldn’t look.
Now what.
***

Notes.

So it’s only going to be about one type of crime, this drama.  And (my) now what- was when the drama made it look like just everybody was at it. Manipulatively so. I felt.

The teachy-preachy quotient is rocketing.

Mind you they have been intoning dutifully the nature of the crime too. Just in case we don’t get it.

This is like a carbon copy of a Beck episode from back in 2010. Roughly.

***

REVIEW.

So Modus, Modus, Modus. You could have been so good and you nearly were. More so certainly towards the end. In my opinion.

For the life of me I realise, I don’t know what happened to Krister Henriksson. Other than he got crossed off the list of suspects. Not that we really had any. Since we knew who the murderer was right from the start. As far as I can remember.

It’s all bit of a stylish Scandi-Noir blur really.

Yes, Krister Henriksson made Modus wonderful for a while there. Albeit unwittingly comical at times. In a sort of dark and disturbing way.

Modus was sometimes unintentionally funny. For me anyway.
For example Marcus as a character frequently verged into a tragi-comic figure. He was just so sweet. Wasn’t he.

Likewise Eric. Or perhaps it was the tomato soup scene. That did it for me. I know I was supposed to be taking it all so seriously. Maybe that was part of the problem.

Funny too, was the anticlimactic utterance by the officially mad murderer, who doesn’t speak until the very end. And then just kills all his murderer’s cool. With his corny sounding accent.

The twist at the end just felt kind of stoopid to me. As well as being fairly low on the credibility stakes for that character I felt. And within the drama as a whole.

This twist in the tale felt tacked on almost hastily and far too late in the story. For me anyway.

As for the rest of the drama, the several story-lines were unfortunately mostly disjointed until the end and a bit domestic heavy. For me.

But then this aspect of concentrating on the domestic life of Erica, the writer, is reflected in the books by Anne Holt. So in that sense the series fairly accurately I felt, represents the books.

Minute details of the protagonist’s home life are just not really my cup of tea. I’m more interested in the murder mystery.

Plus much of the interpersonal stuff between many of the civilian characters so to speak: were slushily saccharine.

As per usual now in drama, the woman Detective in this case psychology Professor and author: takes the lead.

The male Detective being relegated to a sort of satellite advisory role. Even when he is older and more senior to her in experience. Which always seems daft to me. But I digress.

Yes, the lumpen Detective will trail forlornly, seven steps behind. Taking orders. Whilst the female official heroine character, in this case part time Profiler: spouts suspiciously sounding dogma. Instead of clinical observations.

“He must have a despotic attitude towards women” For example.

Unless there really is such a condition I could be wrong. Yes, the clinical condition of despotism I guess. Or maybe even despotitis.
But I digress.

The only other thing about Modus is that basically we watch what felt to me, certainly in the young man’s scene, like a snuff film. And all for the sake of making a preachy-teachy (official issue laden) point.

I mean for a great deal of the series: it isn’t even a murder mystery.

Therefore I started to feel like the drama, or this form of drama, had just been co-opted as a device. For getting some deemed to be very important points, about the official issues at stake, across. Which is really rather tiresome.

But there is a lot of this about. In dramas.

Yes, the good guys, well mostly, are paragons of virtue.   Jesus on stilts.  The officially socially deviant, as in unacceptable social behaviour and speech: are hideous stereotypes. And that includes a Policeman.

Though quite how we are expected to believe a Swedish Detective using such verboten words (although that particular word might well have been reclaimed- it happens) would still be in his job: I don’t quite know.

But none of this matters Because that is his evil, pantomime stereotype. Along with the troll.
Postscript.

I found myself thinking about the concentration on life inside the interior such as the minute detail of the changing clothes area in Swedish houses: reflected the coldness of the country the characters lived in. I must have been a bit bored.

At one point I thought I was watching some archaic film footage of some arcane and sinister science experiment.

But nope. This footage is in the present day.

As the camera pans, slowly and deliberately over the faces I can only conclude that this is just their allotted, grotesque, subhuman subnormal stereotype. As depicted by the drama.

Stereotypes abound in Modus. In fact pretty much everybody is a stereotype.

Even the little girl. Except for being handily and oddly: clairvoyant to boot.

Beck. A Swedish television Detective crime drama series. Series Three-random episodes with Review and a Review of Series Six. Minor spoilers Only. In Swedish with English subtitles. These episodes were shown on BBC Four on UK television.

Beck-series Three-random episodes and one episode of series six
Series Three.

Episode Five.
The Japanese Painting”

So you can tell that the film is old.

Yey! it’s Martin’s neighbour. He is my favourite character.

Martin:
“You have a beard?”
Martin’s neighbour: 
“Yes because I’m a real man”!

Loving Martin and his friend talking in German together.

The Gunavald Detective is a brilliant character.

I really thought Martin would give his new blue and white robe to his neighbour. But he didn’t.

Gunvald is looking much younger with mad hair. And a 1970’s suit.

It is so lovely to hear German. We need to hear more German.

Ha ha ha. Martin Beck and his German Detective friend plus Valdemor (the name of Martin’s neighbour) all sing Danny Boy!

Valdemor is pissed.

Wow amazing what we learnt about Chagall. And now he did those lithographs. Love Chagall.

I like the film’s colours and quality from 2007. Gunvald’s hair is slicked back now. His collar and tie ensemble is ultra cool.   His tie is about two to three inches wide.

Ahaha. I think Martin’s boss might like him. I might be wrong.

 
Martin Beck: (to his Boss-the Police Chief)  “Are you sure about this?”
German Detective:  “Are you sure about this?”
Martin’s Boss: “Are you sure about this?”
Woman Detective: “Are you sure about this?”
Martin: (to the German Detective-Sparling)
“No..are you sure about this?!”
Sparling:
“No..”
Me I’m starting to wonder about a certain character..

So you know that Martin will figure it out..

Gunavald has some mad Miami Vice style sunglasses on now-Oh I get it, he’s pretending to be the Chauffeur..
The elderly man: (to Martin Beck)
“You should know that I have a metal detector…”
“Because I had some damn madman slashing three holes in my Matisse!”

Now I’m getting worried about a certain character…

Gunavald gets into his alter ego:
“Yes, the wheel is my life”!

They talk in English as well in this episode.

Elderly man in the Castle:

“One of my dead wines!”

That sounds pretty creepy.

Gunavald, C’mon. He was looking like the Cadbury’s Milk Tray man for a while there.

Later.
Beck:
“Oh Danny Boy…”
“It’s you who must go and I..”
“But come you back in the summer..”
***
Review of the episodes: The Japanese Painting, The Weak Link,The Silent Scream & In The Name Of God.
So Beck is quite pleasant to watch. A sort of poor man’s Wallander. That may sound mean.   But as my readers know-I’m a huge Wallander fan.

Not that I’m huge. Just a huge fan. That still sounds like I’m huge. OK- a Wallander fan.

Maybe if I had never seen Wallander I would think Beck was brilliant. But I’m not so sure.

I have decided that I like the period of circa 200 film. I like the colours, the quality. They look fresh and different-somehow. Now.

It is certainly probably true that just watching random episodes of later series without having seen the series from the beginning: is detrimental.  To a fair review.

Since you haven’t as a reviewer, build up the story in terms of character progression and depth.

I dunno. Much as I like Beck, by the time I got to this episode the series was starting to feel a tiny bit tiresome.

I remember that the episodes did seem to be hours long at the beginning of watching this random set of episodes. From BBC Four/4.

The last two episodes started to feel a bit teachy-preachy to me. Like they were meant to be educational. That feeling.

Professional Detectives indulged in right-on rants. About the crime they were investigating for example. Boring.

Especially when it’s a crime against women and the woman Detective starts spouting. In the middle of the investigation. Most odd. Within the drama.

Hence my feeling of teachy preachiness. Which is tiresome to my mind. Since that’s not what drama is there for.

***

Series Six of Beck. 

Well the latest episode of Beck was a bit of a surprise: in that without warning about ten or so years had apparently passed. Since the last episode.

Now the last episode had been fairly engaging and minorly suspenseful. Albeit with an ending that was fairly obvious from the beginning. For one character.

It writes itself as I silently told myself. However this was probably the best episode overall: of the bunch.

The episode before that one ( In The Name Of God) was fairly dripping with a heinous message: that we are forced to endure. In order that we could be suitably shocked. Nay horrified. And suitably instructed.

Yes, Beck series three anyway (since I think that is the only series I have seen that is until the quantum leap into series six dated in 2016) had a few minorly enjoyable episodes as mentioned.

But as time and the episodes went on they mostly devolved into heinous depictions of and exhortations by officially evil Christians, the latest favourite bete noire of really right-on drama: the mythical right wing extremist and so on.

By 2015 even Brevik was involved ’cause you see all these evil perpetrators are actually Swedes.

The fact that were were forced, in this over heavily message laden madness: to listen to this heinous stuff which was ironically offensive in itself: was obviously considered righteous as an exercise in the propaganda effort.

In other word: the end justifies the means.

By which I mean that the drama makers considered it to be so very important to teach us that these belief systems were so terrible and officially wrong in the neon-lit issues concerned: they ended up writing their own equally awful propaganda to do so.

 

 

Postscript.

However Series Six is improved somewhat with the introduction of a hot Norwegian.

 

 

Footnotes.

List of the Episodes included in the reviews above.

Series Three.
21 – Beck – Den japanska shungamålningen (5 June 2007, “The Japanese Painting”)
22 – Beck – Den svaga länken (23 March 2007, “The Weak Link”)
23 – Beck – Det tysta skriket (19 September 2007, “The Silent Scream”)
24 – Beck – I Guds namn (10 October 2007, “In the Name of God”)

Series Six.
31 – Beck – Gunvald (1 January 2016, “Gunvald”)
32 – Beck – Steinar (6 February 2016, “Steinar”)
33 – Beck – Vid vägs ände (5 March 2016, “End of the Road”)
34 – Beck – Sista dagen (2 April 2016, “The Last Day”)

 

(sourced-wikipedia 30th December 2016)