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dorsetgirl - "Shetland" BBC series - No Spoilers
March 12th, 2014
08:46 am
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"Shetland" BBC series - No Spoilers
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I enjoyed Shetland very much last night. It makes such a pleasant change from all those programmes set in cities, to be able to watch someone wandering about in the open air, and talking to people who aren't city dwellers.

Spending an hour staring at Dougie Henshall isn't exactly hardship, either.

It's not till I watch a programme like Shetland that I realise how tiring I find it to watch programmes where everyone has hard city voices, or American accents, or talks like they're in East Enders. I understand from comments on reviews that not many of the characters exhibit genuine Shetland accents, but as an ignorant Southerner that doesn't worry me at all. It also doesn't worry me that I miss 10% of the dialogue as the accents are so different to what I'm used to, because unlike most television, for me the accents in Shetland are a positive pleasure to listen to. (I loved the accents in Broadchurch too, at the other end of the country only thirty miles from my home town, so it seems unrelated to any kind of preference for the exotic.) Perhaps I just prefer rural accents.

The music is good, too. At one point, OH came into the room and said "How can you put up with that boring music?" I hadn't even noticed it, other than to be vaguely aware that there was some. Personally, I think that’s a mark of excellence in tv music. For me, music in a tv programme should in general support or enhance the mood, and not force itself into your consciousness where it's not needed. So in Doctor Who's Boomtown, the music early on is very evident, creating and emphasising the unusually relaxed and jaunty mood the Doctor is in, while in The Parting of the Ways the music is epic where great endeavours need supporting, and haunting when things get sad. And in Shetland, the music is exactly where it needs to be, gently in the back of your mind like the grass and the clouds and the sea.

So, last night’s episode (still no spoilers). There is a murder, of course. (That's a MUH-rr-DUH-rr, not a mur-dur.) And Dougie Henshall wanders around solving it. But I'm never a great one for plot in detective stories - I have a lot of books I'm happy to read time and again because I can never remember Who actually Dun It - and my favourite part of programmes like this is to watch the interplay of characters and to see how a character's interior life affects their exterior, or is put firmly in a box out of the way.

One of the things I found very satisfying in this episode was that when someone made an important plot-advancing discovery, you were shown very clearly how that person's relationships with their family and others had caused them to be in that place at that time. And we were also shown more clearly than often happens, how the victim's home life, and that of her best friend, led her to be where she was, and for her friend not only to not be there with her, but to have no idea why the victim would have been there. "She knows I'm not allowed out so much - it would be like rubbing it in my face, so there was a lot she didn't tell me."

Perhaps I just need to have things explained to me more than some, and maybe I like life to be mainly calm and predictable, and that's why I enjoy this programme so much when many people apparently find it incredibly slow and boring. But whatever the reason, I do enjoy it very much, and when the series is over I shall consider buying the books. I just hope there is nothing in the books’ descriptions of DI Jimmy Perez that might upset my visualisation of Douglas Henshall wandering around the endless hills. I like to read in bed, and that's a vision I'd be quite happy to go to sleep on.




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From:thesmallhobbit
Date:March 12th, 2014 05:42 pm (UTC)
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I really enjoyed it last night, too. As you say watching Douglas Henshall really isn't any difficulty and I liked the way it gently moved along, mirroring the scenery. Although a surprising amount did happen, because when OH woke up and needed filling in with the plot, it took quite a while.
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:March 12th, 2014 07:26 pm (UTC)
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My OH never, ever, watches drama. The idea of him wanting to know what's going on is utterly foreign to me! (I've only just realised that if I'm assertive enough, there's very little difficulty about me watching what I want, but for many years I've been sitting here getting upset and annoyed because he was forever watching Ice Road Truckers, Police Interceptors and the like, while there was something on I'd have liked to watch.)

Middle son, however, came home halfway through and yes, by the time you've said "And that's the girl's friend, and that's the bloke they went to see the night before the murder, and that's the friend's mother, and - I haven't a clue who this man is she's suddenly kissing in the car" it did indeed take a while. It must have been while all that was going on that I missed learning who the rather older bloke in the car was, so I'm still a bit confused on that score.
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From:thesmallhobbit
Date:March 12th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
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I believe the older bloke in the car was the one who had organised the midsummer night's party, which he'd invited lots of people to. The girl who died was taken along by her teacher and I think her friend went too. The older bloke was looking at her strangely during the party.
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:March 12th, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Oh, OK - I seem to have missed that bit completely. I remember Perez interviewing the rich party-giver and apparently not liking him much, but I hadn't linked him with the man kissing the friend.
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