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Shadow Lines: S02 - 2021 - 7/10
AKA - Nyrkki: S02

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Season 02 picks up soon following events of S01.
Team Fist remains, and early on, a lethal adversary is eliminated.
Not so much a different series, but the tone is changed.
The “look” (fashions, sets, music) is diminished, and the narrative delves deeper into espionage.
1950’s Finland is still trying keep out of the Russian bear’s paw.
(At one point, Khrushchev even invites them to become a satellite.)
Much of the narrative circles into the Night Frost era, although this is highly dramatized.
Terrific series.  I suspect this concludes it.

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Emma - 2016 - 6/10

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What was this?  A busted pilot?
Well done, two-part French cop show.
Veteran officer Vitulo is assigned a new partner, Emma, with the runway model looks.
Knowledgeable, quick, yet utterly ignorant in many aspects.
Why?  Because she is a test.  A prototype android officer.
This concept has been done too many times to reference.
Emma, however is surprisingly, endearingly funny.
Completely clueless about the nuances of law and order.
“Stop!  There is a lawbreaker, jaywalking.”  Or  “Doctor cannot disclose patient information, even dead ones.  Criminal.”
Writing is deft and ingenious.  Too bad there were only two episodes, or perhaps that is for the best.

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How To Survive The End Of The World - 2013 - 6/10
AKA - Evacuate Earth

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Multi-episode documentary mixes science with speculation.
What if …  the planet were struck with a global pandemic (this was 2013).
Or flood waters covered the earth, or the orbit shifted, moving us away from the sun.
Or weather turns wilder, deadlier.
Experts describe scenarios and possible solutions.
The add-on episode, encounter with a neutron star, lives up to the alternate “Evacuate Earth” title.
It was also wise enough to know who, in any rescue attempt, will push themselves to the front of the line.
The wealthy, who may lack necessary skill-sets.  And politicians, who excel at provoking conflict.
Curiously, what is not delineated is irreversible, runaway global warming.  Oh, the irony.

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Theatreland - 2009 - 7/10

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Behind the scenes series examines upcoming performances at Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Even before opening, the first play is sold out,  “Waiting For Godot” with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.
Backstage means observing the grips, ushers, managers, designers.
From repairs to excited brushes with the famous.
Alert!  The complete “Waiting For Godot” is NOT included.
Overlong by two episodes, the final episodes show the hectic mounting of the next production, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.”
One gets the sense the latter has a rocky future.

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Deadly Tropics - 2019 - 6/10
AKA - Tropiques Criminels

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After a career disgrace, Sainte-Rose and her two teenage children relocate to Martinique.
She is the new police commander, assigned the usual TV stereotyped colleagues.
Crime series, the stories are one-offs, so no soap opera arc to follow.
Murders aplenty, though the settings are postcard beautiful.
Series could be an advertisement from the tourist board, especially for viewers freezing in January.
Clean sidewalks, sunny waters, lush, green leaves.
What really caught my eye is how THIN everyone is.
There is a S02.

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On 8/3/2022 at 7:14 AM, Vultural said:

Deadly Tropics - 2019 - 6/10
AKA - Tropiques Criminels

So a bit like Death in Paradise, but thinner.

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To The Lake - 2019 - 6/10
AKA - Epidemiya // Эпидемия

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Apocalypse fans!
A lethal virus blazes through Moscow.  Fleeing citizens spread the plague across Russia.
Where’d this come from?  Is the spread planetwide?
The opening episodes are furious, and a template on how to render chaos and violence.
Deadlier than the virus are military and paramilitary suppressor units.
Only then the story settles into following two families as they drive into rural oblivion for lake property.
Along the way, this becomes an adventure each week.  Threats, obstacles, enduring each other.
Personality clashes border on melodrama.
In later episodes pace is definitely steadier and the conclusion is somewhat hazy.
Second season is out there, of which I am indifferent.  If the story concludes, then maybe.

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Fatale Station - 2016 - 6/10

Sarah arrives in Fatale Station, pop 1404, after a botched murder attempt.
The town is small, although this series follows the more colorful citizens.
Butcher, bartender, hooker, nutjobs and protesters from Indian Nation.
Ruling the town is Mrs. O'Gallagher, who senses Sarah brings trouble and wants her evicted.

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And, eventually, the blight does find Sarah and approaches.
The secondary characters are the main import here.
We pick up stories midstream, then shuffle away.
Forbidding atmosphere throughout, fine acting, inadequate script.

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The Informant - 2022 - 7/10
AKA - A Besúgó

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Of all the luck.
1985.  Geri lands a scholarship to the university in Budapest.
On the train, alas, the secret police interrogate and soon blackmail him.
“You want medicine for your ailing brother?  You will infiltrate and spy on the pro-Democracy student group.”
Getting accepted by a wary group is one obstacle, dealing with a bullying handler is another.
Short Hungarian series mixes politics with mystery, psychological thriller with history.
Of the latter (history), a few Hungarian reviewers have mentioned that facts are a bit finessed.
Skillful blend of character types, most of whom one would encounter in any college.
Likewise student political activity, back then.  Lately, passions and protests have gone to dust.

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Flack - 2019 - 7/10

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This boasts one of the best misdirection openings I have ever seen.
Robyn, American transplant in London, works as a PR fixer.
Meaning, when clients screw up, she swings into full damage control.
Media manipulation, falsifying, inventing alternate scenarios, my God, you name it.
Because, yes, the clients, celebrities, footballers, artists are privileged, entitled who have a right to trash everyone.
Stories are bitterly funny, dripping with contempt.
When you clean pig swill all day, you get pretty filthy yourself.

Edited by Vultural

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The Middleman - 2020 - 6/10
AKA - L'agent Immobilier

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Olivier, incompetent Parisian real estate agent, cannot present, cannot close, cannot retain properties.
Even his own flat, and he takes to squatting inside recently sold addresses.
Fortune smiles after his mother dies, bequeathing him a battered apartment building.
Olivier plans to resell the valuable location to a developer.
Except, there is a viager, an elderly woman tenant with rights to occupy.
Yes, Fate gives and Fate takes away.
He is saddled with the property, creditors hound him, relations with his family are dismal.
Then again, there is a talking goldfish.  And, Olivier can seemingly slipstream into the 1970’s.
Say what?  Yes, peculiar mix of comedy and fantasy, though not enough and of poor quality.
Four part series.  For Francophiles who will watch anything.

Edited by Vultural
swan

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Squid Game - 2021 - 6/10
AKA - Ojing-eo Geim  // 오징어 게임

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Sat on this over a year before watching.  Chief concern?  Global hype.
And yes, this has been overhyped, primarily by Western viewers who have never seen Asian TV.
Nonetheless, it does make an easy entry into K-dramas (the violent ones), although I doubt most newcomers are reading subtitles (as many declare) but are viewing dubbed episodes.
Watch the subbed if you can, if spite of inferior translators (oppa is NOT “old man”).
Anyway, a huge assortment of financial losers are recruited to compete in a slate of deadly games.
None know how lethal these are until after the carnage of the first match.
Although there are hundreds of competitors (bodies), the series follows about ten.
Ensuing rounds continue gruesome eliminations.
The J-dorama Alice In Borderland aired before this, as did movies Escape Rooom, Running Man, shoot, “Fun And Games” from the old Outer Limits.
Hardly original, Squid Game is lavishly made, though not as fiendishly plotted as the finest K-dramas.
A Netflix series, this does not suffer the usual “Netflix ending”, meaning this has a passing conclusion.

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