Given the cold-ass weather of late and my semi-successful attempts to ween myself of the evil pull of the pub I have been indulging in unhealthy levels of "quality TV drama series" watching - mostly of the crime mold.
Including finally watching the final series of the Sopranos (Just f*cking brilliant - I would submit the last few episodes as amongst the best things I've ever seen on the box).
Romanzo Criminale - Garish, 70's and Italian - really enjoyable with great clothes, characters and scenery. Can't wait until series 2 comes on to Sky Arts.
Spiral - watched the first couple of series and didn't expect too much. The first season was good, but the second season was great and I have developed a deviant sexual attraction to the cluster-f*ck lead detective Laure Berthaud. She's such a f*ck-up that you know she would do horrible (i.e. good) things to you behind closed doors. I would liken it as similar to a French version of The Wire - though it pales in comparison to that show.
Which leads me to my beef with The Killing. The press hype (mainly the Grauniad) would lead you to believe that this thing is new high water mark in TV history. Instead what I found was a highly cliched whoddunit dragged out to twice the length that it should have been. My main beefs are as follows:
-Red herrings every other minute that you know wont amount to anything, because there is still another 18 episodes to go.
-The main detective Lund's main skill is apparently ESP, because all of a sudden apropos of nothing she would start following a different lead.
-The use of foreshadowing music which pretty much killed off any sense of surprise.
e.g. Now lets play the "Detective Lund is about to stumble into someone/thing scary in a darkened room" music. Lets play "the parents are feeling mournful whilst staring off into the middle distance" music. Lets play the "recap via montage all the main players standing alone in their respective abodes looking sinister/bereaved/puzzled/etc so that all our more dodo audience members know where everyone stands at the end of the episode" music.
-The crowbarring in of a political subplot which seems to be the preequisite for every supposedly intelligent drama in recent history. For this I guess you can blame The Wire, which did it damn well, but Troels Hartman aint no Clay Davis...sheeeeeeiiit
Not that Killing was awful, the acting was great. Ultimately it was solid fluff TV, it just didn't come close to the hype.