Monday, 20 April 2015

does Fortitude contain the ultimate plot hole for a new series?

Ever since that polar bear on the tube's Arctic Circle line back in January, I'd been intrigued by the telly series Fortitude, which was delivered in weekly blips on Sky Atlantic. I even watched the pre-series trailers. The DVD set isn't making its appearance until June.

Sky spent plenty of money on stars such as Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston, Sofie Gråbøl and Game Of Thrones’ Richard Dormer as the police chief. There's a Met police detective too, played by American Stanley Tucci.

There's also great snow, mountains and lakes locations in Reydarfjördur, Iceland and Hayes, Middlesex. Oddly there wasn't enough snow in Iceland for part of the filming, so they imported loads of fake stuff from the world leading Snow Business based in Gloucester, England.

The budget for it all must have been magnificent.

The show started with promise, with some leading characters doing their thing in very dramatic climates, which, unlike some dark-scened Scandic-Noir, was mostly quite visible because of the cinematically brilliant whiteness.

Unfortunately, after about three episodes I found this wasn't something I felt compelled to watch each week. The series link recordings would stack up and I watched the series finale as a 4 episode binge from the Sky+ recorder.

I wonder if they'd ever intended it to be as many episodes?

The dominant viewing mode becomes one of icy anticipatory dread interspersed with the tungsten lit too-ings and fro-ings among the locals. Kind of snow-bound East Enders on steroids.

The main storyline plot points were generally signposted and guessable by late February, so there needed to be something else to keep the interest. They've been doing this with various slasheresque set-pieces dialled up to eleven.

"We're gonna need a bigger morgue," as one of the characters nearly said. "Let's do some Coen brothers scenes," as one of the producers might have said. They were positively buzzing with ideas.

And, in fairness, with all those glittering glaciers, there has to be an ice drill scene. "We're gonna need a bigger ice drill..."

Extra episodes would also account for some of the people and things that pop up and then disappear again part way through. Maybe the main actors were only available for a short section and other sections had to be scraped in, like a messily made jam sandwich. Try to eat it, it gets all around the mouth.

There's still some very effective scenes and proper surprises, once one has mentally switched to an appropriate movie watching mode (after mealtimes is best).

I've watched it all now and it's clear they are setting up Series two. For the survivors.

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