Monday, 16 January 2012

Borgen: Episode 3 and 4 - The dramatic unexpectedness of Greenland. Greenland!

Well. I don't think anyone was expecting a brief overview of the long-standing tensions between Danish and Greenland in the latest episodes of Borgen - it's not a familiar source of drama for a Saturday night.

Especially when that's contrasted with a sub-plot about a couple having to 'schedule in' appointments for sex among the many stylish accessories in their equally stylish home.

But the BBC Four Danish-language political thriller is continuing to surprise.

In taking a slight diversion from the everyday plotting and conspiracies of domestic government-based intrigue and scenes set in corridors, the new Danish prime minster Birgitte Nyborg, now 100 days into her premiership, visits the Denmark-'owned' Greenland, and wears a beige jumper and a misty-eyed expression as she meets its leader and hears about its social problems while gazing at its cinematic landscape.

She was there as a result of the US using one of its own Greenland-based airbases as a stop-off for potentially illegally-detained prisoners.

Photos of them were leaked to the Danish media - which in this case means plucky tv journalist Katrine and her crack team of colleagues, some of whom wear 'meedja' spectacles, but all of whom shop in the Danish equivalent of Gap (which probably is also Gap).

Birgitte managed to smother the scandal, when, in an interview with Katrine, she claimed the US landed its planeful of suspects due to a one-off 'emergency' - which in turn led to the scenes in Greenland with Birgitte promising to involve it more in Danish politics.

She was, technically, lying about it being a one-off, so that could be another of the many plot strands to add to an ever growing pile.

But, although it may have much more resonance for Danish viewers, the unexpectedness of Greenland - Greenland! - as a source of drama cancels out any thoughts (for now) that Borgen might end up becoming a 'problem of the week'-style programme, like a politics-based Casualty.

And as much as tv-ooh wants to pun about putting the 'bore' into 'Borgen', we'd much rather have a nicely developed and increasingly absorbing two hours of Danish drama a week, which so far is what we're getting.


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