Archive for the ‘Belgian TV’ Tag

Bad Science

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that I am a fan of the original Terry Nation Survivors series from the 1970s.  Even though that series was dated, it is hard to compete with.  The recent remake from BBC Wales missed a lot of the original’s concepts by turning Greg into an idiot and Paul into a psychopath.

It would have been nice to see a remake that caught the underlying themes from the original series with updated technology.

That said, I was hoping that Cordon would live up to the hype, but it is appearing to go the way of the Survivors remake: possibly far worse.  Salamander went goofy toward the end, but at least that had Brussels as a backdrop.[1]  Antwerp is OK, but, on the whole, it is not the nicest city in Belgium. It is home to Antwerp National Institute for Contagious Diseases, which is supposed to be modeled on the University of Antwerp’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute.  I hope the actual Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute is better equipped and staffed than the one in Cordon, which looks like it is worse off than a US inner city High School.

Normally, I don’t like foreign remakes, but the US version of Cordon is located in Atlanta, which is home to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The US CDC has treated Ebola and should be a little better prepared than the Antwerp institute in Cordon was for the outbreak of whatever this is. Being in Atlanta would also better explain the presence of fully automatic weapons, which are not hard to come by in the States: especially in Georgia, which has some of the worst gun laws in the US (which has nonexistent gun laws anyway).

The p38 and shotgun make sense in Belgium since there were a couple of wars and the Belgians are nearly as gun nutty as the states.  I could imagine someone having a war relic p38 lying about since they were fairly easy to come by when I lived there.  Not that I would really want to fire the ones I saw.

Anyway,  I won’t go into how bad the series is since the Guardian has a pretty good review of the show which does a much better job of describing how wild the show is.  It is more outrageous than the final episode of Salamander.  I have to agree with the Guardian article, except I am familiar with Flemish, which means I have the additional reason of trying to improve my Flemish to wanting to see how bizarre this will all become.

I have this feeling there will be some sort of conspiracy theory developing (as if it isn’t anyway), which detracts from my reason for being so keen on seeing this to begin with: hope of something which will compete with the original Survivors. I like Koen de Bouw who is one of the more improbable characters in this, but he is a really good actor who unfortunately is stuck in the Flemish acting community.  Fortunately, some of his work is available in the US (Salamander is available on Netflix, but they don’t give a good filmography for him).

I have my reasons for continuing to watch something which is turning out to be really silly.  Indeed, given what the Guardian review pointed out:

They’re far too busy demanding whether policemen will start shooting people dead to ask more sensible questions, such as how Antwerp’s Meryl Streep-alike has the power to shut down part of the city for five days. Or even how that is possible: imagine trying to do the same thing in Sheffield, which has roughly the same population.

And the city is shut down for far longer than five days.

I have to admit the US remake might be even more interesting given that it takes place in Atlanta, which is a LOT larger than Antwerp.  I’m curious to see how they get around that one, or if it might make sense in a US English “translation”.

[1] actually, Salamander started to go downhill when Joachim Klaus dumped the body in a car boot near the Atomium. That would be like leaving a corpse in a car on DC’s Mall or the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. In other words, someplace it would be sure to be found and quickly since the Atomium is one of the symbols of Brussels.

Posted 12/07/2015 by lacithedog in TV

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Cordon Airs Next Saturday

The first two episodes of Cordon air starting at 9 on BBC 4 (They aired a while ago in Belgium). I’m getting excited since it does sound a bit like an updated version of Survivors.

Posted 21/06/2015 by lacithedog in BBC, BBC TV

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Well, BBC Four has finally put up a website for Cordon:

Unfortunately, there is nothing more.  The iPlayer link for the Cordon Trailer only says it will be available soon.

As is typical for good European/non-English language material, or at least programmes that are popular, is that the US media comes up with a remake (e.g. The Killing/Forbrydelsen, Broen/Bron/The Bridge, etc.).  The US remake occurs in Atlanta, GA.

Not sure how that will work out.

Posted 11/06/2015 by lacithedog in BBC TV

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French (and other European) TV on BBC 4

OK, None of this is a really shocking new development since BBC 4 announced a while back that the Bridge and Spiral (Engrenages) would make a return.  Series 5 of Spiral/Engrenages finished filming last year.  It ran this past summer on Canal+ (Euro version of HBO).  And the DVDs are coming out in December (OTOH, the DVDs for Series 5 of Un Village Français have not been announced despite that having run last summer).

The real issue is that there are these shows, and a few others that sound really good, which have yet to be broadcast.  For example, Cordon features a Belgian city that is sealed off from the outside world following the discovery of a contagious and deadly virus in a 10-part series.

Of course, none of this has been announced WHEN they will be broadcast.  It seems that BBC4 has a channel editor rather than controller which is a reflection of its downgraded status as a result of recent cuts.  Additionally, BBC3 is set to close next year (Autumn 2015) with the money saved from that closure being plowed into drama on BBC1.  That seems to get back to my point about the BBC allowing for people who don’t live in the UK to contribute to the programming a la US Public Broadcasting, but not sure how that would work.

I would hate for the British (and European) system where these are few commercials to be replaced by one like that of the US.  If you haven’t noticed that some BBC programmes are notably shorter (e.g. Dr. Who) since they will be shown on US TV which needs the extra 13 minutes to run commercials.

Of course, the other alternative is to get the DVDs and do your own programming, which is expensive.  Not to mention the issue that one has with shows like Un Village Français that have not been properly subtitled. As one person said about the  Canal+ teaser trailer for Spiral/Engrenages:  “it’ll obviously help if you can speak French. Can’t help you with the fact they’re a load of Parisian mumblers, though.”

So, I guess it is sit and wait for this stuff to make it to the TV/Market.