LB Sees HINTERLAND

See the looks on the stars' faces? Those are always the looks on their faces. Think about that a sec.

See the looks on the stars’ faces? Those are always the looks on their faces. Think about that a sec.

…I mean WALLANDER.

I mean VERA.

DCI BANKS.

SHETLAND?

In other words, I’ve finally found a UK cop show I can’t like. Not “don’t like,” although I don’t, but “can’t like” because it just won’t let me.

The Good:

  • It’s set in Wales, which we don’t see too often on TV (except for on DOCTOR WHO, which is shot in Cardiff)
  • It features dialog in both English and Welsh, with appropriate sub-titles (for the Welsh)
  • It hits all of the beats that have made so many other British police procedurals so successful, including beautiful scenery; moody cinematography that makes Bergman’s work look fast, bright and cheery; layered mysteries that go off in unexpected directions; deep psychological underpinnings; a 90 or so minute running time so that nothing gets short shrift

The Not So Good:

  • The scripts present absolutely no characterization when it comes to the cops, and the actors’ blank expressions at all times don’t help
  • The scripts feature no humor whatsoever, not even inadvertently
  • Dialog is so minimal that I found myself longing for even the most inconsequential banter
  • It hits all of the beats that have made so many other British police procedurals successful but succeeds only in being derivative as all hell.

The Bottom Line:

I can’t diss HINTERLAND enough. It is, quite simply, the most derivative TV series I’ve ever seen from any country, which considering how derivative most television is, it saying mucho. The show gives us everything we’ve ever loved (or at least been impressed by) in a cop show with absolutely none of the heart. Even the beautiful images seem to exist only for their own sake as opposed to contributing any emotion.

To put it another way: There is no emotion. It’s the emptiest TV series I’ve ever seen, depending entirely on the audience’s familiarity with the latest conventions of the genre instead of adding to them.

Sorry, BBC, but this is one time you could’ve said no.