TV Review – SHETLAND – SERIES 5 (2019)

Image result for shetland series 5SHETLAND – SERIES 5 (TV) (UK, 2019) ***½
     Distributor: Silverprint Pictures / British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); Production Company: BBC Scotland; Release Date: 12 February – 19 March 2019; Running Time: 341m (6 episodes); Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Dolby Digital; Film Format: HD; Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
     Director: Gordon Anderson, Isabelle Sieb; Writer: David Kane, Paul Logue (based on characters created by Ann Cleeves); Executive Producer: Kate Bartlett, Gaynor Holmes, David Kane; Producer: Eric Coulter; Director of Photography: Cinders Forshaw; Music Composer: John Lunn; Film Editor: Colin Monie, Chris Buckland; Production Designer: Emer O’Sullivan; Art Director: Ghillie Smith; Visual Effects: Fraser Murdoch.
     Cast: Douglas Henshall (DI Jimmy Perez), Alison O’Donnell (Alison McIntosh), Steven Robertson (DC Sandy Wilson), Mark Bonnar (Duncan Hunter), Erin Armstrong (Cassie Perez), Julie Graham (Rhona Kelly), Rakie Ayola (Olivia Lennox), Catherine Walker (Alice Brooks), Derek Riddell (Chris Brooks), Robert Cavanah (Graeme Benson), Therese Bradley (Andrea Doyle), Anne Kidd (Cora McLean), Kate Dickie (DI Sam Boyd), Lorn Macdonald (Jamie Hayes), Owen Whitelaw (Prentice Hayes), Tracy Wiles (Carla Hayes), Isabelle Joss (Catrina), Robin Laing (Gavin Laird), Gail Watson (Mary Hunter), Ryan Fletcher (Calum Dunwoody), Meghan Tyler (Mags), John Kazek (Aaron McGuire), Frances Mayli McCann (Niki), Angus Miller (Donnie), Emma Mullen (Rosie), Olivia Barrowclough (Trish), Titana Muthui (Zezi Ugara), Ayanda Bhebe (Daniel Ugara), Lewis Howden (Billy McCabe).
     Synopsis: Perez finds that the murder of the young Nigerian man is more than just the drugs trade but could be sex trafficking with the Shetlands a cog in a much larger wheel.
     Comment: The fifth series of the brooding crime drama set in the bleak remote community of Shetland is another absorbing mystery. The plot unfolds at a slow pace with occasional bursts of energy and activity. This allows for investment in the characters and gives them room to breathe. As the mystery unfolds the pace quickens. The climax feels a little conventional, but the story overall is nevertheless satisfying. Henshall is excellent as the detective with a conscience and a strong supporting cast help to lift the material above the standard genre tropes.

TV Review – SHETLAND – SERIES 4 (2018)

Shetland Series 4 [DVD] [2018]Shetland – Series 4 (TV) (2018; UK; Colour; 6 x 60m) ****  pr. Eric Coulter; d. Lee Haven Jones, Rebecca Gatward; w. David Kane, Louise Ironside, Paul Logue; ph. Ed Moore, Michael Coulter; m. John Lunn.  Cast: Douglas Henshall, Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson, Mark Bonnar, Julie Graham, Erin Armstrong, Lewis Howden, Stephen Walters, Neve McIntosh, Sean McGinley, Fiona Bell, Allison McKenzie, Amy Lennox, Sophie Stone, Gerard Miller, Eleanor Matsuura, Carolin Stoltz, Arnmundur Bjornsson.  Perez (Henshall) and the team are forced to re-open a twenty-three year old cold case when convicted murder, Thomas Malone (Walters), is released from prison. The case concerns teenager Lizzie Kilmuir, who was found strangled to death on a kiln. Upon returning to Shetland, Thomas tries to make amends with Lizzie’s elder sister, Kate (McIntosh). Meanwhile, local journalist Sally McColl (Lennox) attends the Shetland Folk Festival with a group of her friends, but doesn’t return home later that evening. The next day, she is found strangled to death on a kiln, in what looks like a copycat of Lizzie’s murder. Top-class mystery with a bleak, isolated setting adding to the atmosphere. A strong cast – notably Henshall as the dedicated detective and Walters as the psychologically damaged, but misunderstood, convict – deliver earnest performances. Despite the length of the drama there is little flab in the plotting, which winds its way to a satisfying and tense conclusion. Based on the characters created by Ann Cleeves. [12]

TV Review – PORRIDGE: SERIES ONE (2017)

Porridge Series 1 [2017] [DVD] [2016]Porridge: Series One (2017; UK; Colour; 6 x 30m) ***½ pr. Richard Webb; d.  Dominic Brigstocke; w. Dick Clement, Ian Le Frenais.  Cast: Kevin Bishop, Dave Hill, Mark Bonnar, Dominic Coleman, Jason Barnett, Colin Hoult, Harman Singh, Colin McFarlane, Daniel Fearn, Rory Gallagher, Ricky Grover, Harry Peacock, Pippa Haywood, Zahra Ahmadi.  Bishop stars as Nigel Norman Fletcher, the grandson of Ronnie Barker’s Norman Stanley Fletcher from the original series, who is in prison for cyber crimes. Highly enjoyable and old-fashioned comedy that benefits from original scriptwriters Clement and Le Frenais, even if they have recycled some plot lines and jokes from their original scripts. Characters have been re-tooled and the show retains the feel of the the classic series. Bishop is excellent as the wisecracking Fletcher whilst Bonnar and Coleman provide affectionate tributes to Fulton MacKay and Brian Wilde. [12]