TVNZ Spotlights Scandi-Noir

Scandi-noir fans no longer have to subscribe to Sky TV channels like Rialto or streaming services like Netflix and Lightbox to enjoy subtitled suspense: TVNZ is about to roll out two examples of the genre, one in primetime on TVNZ 1, the other on-demand.

Swedish detective thriller Modus, which streams from January 22, follows psychologist and ex-FBI profiler Inger Johanne Vik as she finds herself and her autistic daughter drawn into an investigation surrounding a series of disturbing and brutal deaths.

Her discovery of the killer’s weakness and the connection to a ruthless international network unintentionally turns the entire threat towards herself and her family.

Modus is pacy and gripping, like a high-end Volvo with its snow tyres on,” The Guardian quipped of the 2015 production.

“It has many of the characteristics we have come to expect and love of TV drama from these parts: stripped, spare, dark skies; tick tick tick. Also, dark secrets lurking beneath the modernity and liberalism of the people – and the Nordic model.”

Modus brings familiar delights for Scandi-noir fans,” The Independent said in an article that questioned if the genre was “becoming just a bit too cosily familiar?”

But producer Sandra Harms says Modus is told from a different angle:

Our main character is not a policewoman, she’s a profiler and psychologist. So we tell stories about people, not about the investigation. We decided to limit the number of scenes during the investigation as much as we could so we didn’t get the obvious police series that we’ve seen a lot in Swedish television.

Slated for 9.30 Sundays on TVNZ 1 from next month is Ride Upon the Storm.

The Australian dubbed it a “terrific new series” from Adam Price, creator of the hit political drama Borgen.

“If at first blush the notion of a show about a family of Danish preachers seems a little dull, the results — though a slow burn — so far are anything but.”

Variety reports it “wowed a MipTV audience of buyers and press with its large production values and [star Lars] Mikkelsen’s tearaway performance as a Minister and father who is God-like to his two cowed sons who seek both freedom and approval from their father escaping from home, one as a military chaplain, the other wandering Tibet to find himself.”

And SBS, which aired the series across the Tasman, argues, “Ride Upon The Storm has taken a lot of cues from The Sopranos, weaving similar themes of societal change into its story about a religious family.”

Closer to home, TVNZ’s director of content Cate Slater told Stop Press she was confident it will rope in a New Zealand audience even though the combination of English and Danish language might challenge viewers.

“We’ll see if they are up for it. It’s a beautiful piece of drama.”

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