Young Montalbano

Young Montalbano S2 (BBC4/DVD)

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BBC4’s Saturday evening EuroNoir slot has just finished showing the second series of Young Montalbano and next week will be heading to the colder climes of Iceland for Trapped.

youngmontalabanoI posted my review on the first episode of the new run of Young Montalbano stories some weeks ago and summarised it as being even better and sharper than the first season, with a clearer sense of purpose and much meatier material for the cast consisting of Michele Riondino, Sarah Felberbaum, Alessio Vassallo and Beniamino Marcone to get their teeth into. It was also clear that the show’s production values had skyrocketed in the interim and that this was now a very classy, glossy show featuring some really strong directorial touches and some spectacular Sicilian location scenery.

Now the run has finished, I thought I should return to the subject to add a full episode guide in the style that I did for the first season last year. Please be aware that the following guide does give details of the plots and therefore has some mild spoilers, although I do try and avoid ever naming ‘whodunnit’! Read the rest of this entry »

EuroNoir roundup: Young Montalbano, Spin, Occupied, Deutschland 83

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Not so long ago it was almost impossible to find any modern foreign-language European drama on British television. Then in 2008 the Swedish series Wallander established a small but significant beachhead on Saturday evenings on BBC4, and ever since this is has been the source of a welcome weekly trickle of Euro fare that’s delivered Forbrydelsen, Borgen, The Bridge, Salamander, Inspector Montalbano and Cordon to name but a few.

That trickle has now become, if not quite a flood, then certainly a healthy stream. Since the beginning of the new year there have been no less than four brand new European series airing on British television from four different countries (Italy, France, Norway and Germany) that have been deployed across three different UK networks. Now the problem isn’t finding good quality European drama but keeping up with it all, and in that spirit Taking The Short View offers its services with a quick round-up of the current series on offer. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspector Montalbano

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A very strange thing happened to me in August.

As long-time readers of Taking The Short View will know, I have a particular liking for BBC4’s Saturday evening subtitled Euro-noir slot. Ever since the breakthrough appearance of the original Swedish Wallander shows in 2008, through the highs of Forbrydelsen, The Bridge and Borgen and on to the more varied and far-flung fare such as Mammon, Salamander, Corden and even the distinctly non-subtitled, non-Euro The Code I’ve been a fan of them all. With one singular exception to the rule in the form of the Italian entry to the line-up, Inspector Montalbano, which I’ve never been able to get into and enjoy. Try as I might, I’ve never got further in than ten minutes before throwing my hands up in surrender and finding something else to do with my Saturday nights instead.

And I really have tried. Albert Einstein once said that a definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and that must mean I’ve proven myself pretty crazy since that’s exactly what I did: every time BBC4 would start a new run of Montalbano stories I’d sit down and give it another try, and sure enough I had the same failure to launch on each occasion. It simply wasn’t going to happen, and yet still I stubbornly persisted in at least giving it a try – because, y’know, sometimes mad things do happen, right? So it came to pass that I sat down for my traditional ‘give it another go’ when BBC4 reran the six episodes of the Montalbano prequel miniseries in August, fully expecting the same crash and burn to ensue as usual.

And then the strange thing happened… Read the rest of this entry »