Monday, 19 December 2011

The Killing II - review

The Killing II finally came to an end this week-end. I'm not going to talk about the story-line in detail, because I imagine that some readers of this blog will be wanting to catch up with the later episodes in the near future. But a few thoughts do strike me.

This was a show of ten episodes of an hour each, which I felt began very well, and also ended strongly. At first I thought there was a tocuh of early Taggart in the enigmatic and inter-related story-lines, but this comparison only survived the first couple of episodes. Althought the plot was tangled, and had one or two good aspects, it wasn't as clever as the work of Glenn Chandler, who created Taggart.

The acting was good and the production values were pretty high. However, I felt the story sagged very badly in the middle. There were stretches when I was rather bored, and this was because the characters' relationships, although not without interest, weren't compelling enough to sustain such a protracted exercise. The political aspects of the story really didn't excite me at all.

I am still intending to watch the original series of The Killing, which attracted so many rave reviews. But overall, I'd have to rate The Killing II as a disappointment. It had a number of strengths, but to justify ten hours of story-telling, you need to have a really outstanding tale to tell. For me, at least, The Killing II too often felt like an endurance test. The story simply wasn't strong enough to justify such an investment of time.

16 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

Interesting stuff. I haven't heard of either series but now I want to checkout the first.

I just wanted to tell you, I'm reading The Hanging Wood and loving it. I miss the characters, Kind and Scarlett when I'm waiting for the next in the series.

Maxine said...

Would you like to say what UK contemporary crime fiction TV series is better? I never watch any of it because it is invariably poor. I felt this series was much better than most domestic TV along these lines - though I admit I don't watch it much so don't really know, but was disappointed with some hyped series earlier this year, eg the case histories ones and that thriller with Jim Broadbent about the man with Alzheimer's. The Killing was in a different league to both of these.

Dorte H said...

We watched The Killing I, and we were also very excited about the series in the beginning, but we also felt the quality slip in the second half. Very difficult to explain why without spoiling it for anyone, and I know that several British friends enjoyed it much more than we did.

Ray Garraty said...

Killing II was a dissappointment for me as well. I gave up after four episodes. Killing I worked on many levels, though.
I still prefer US version of the show. It's weakier but more fun.

Martin Edwards said...

Clarissa, great to hear from you, and of course I'm delighted you are enjoying The Hanging Wood.

Martin Edwards said...

Ray, good to hear from you. I must admit I haven't seen the US version, but 'more fun' sounds encouraging!

Martin Edwards said...

Dorte, it is, as you say, difficult to explain, but I know what you mean!

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Maxine, I'm not a heavy TV watcher either, and I didn't see the Jim Broadbent show, but I'd certainly put Lewis a long way ahead of The Killing II in terms of entertainment value. Thorne and Vera also have their good points. Of course, these are only my subjective opinions. What I was getting at, mainly, though, was that to justify devoting 10 hours, rather than, say, one or two, to watching a story unfold, it has to be a pretty sensational story. And - for me - The Killing II, despite various virtues, wasn't at that level of quality as a story.

Mack said...

The US version has some egregiously dumb police work. Excellent jumpers though. Other than a curiosity as to who the murderer actually is I plan to give season 2 a miss.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Mack.If I watch it, I'll look out for the jumpers!

pattinase (abbott) said...

The US version of THE KILLING 1 was a big disappointment. And the finale was a complete disaster.

books said...

Hello Martin,
I normally follow your blog quietly but today...

The Killing was one of the best crime dramas I have seen. The Killing 2 was a very poor second (series).

If you watch the first one you may be disappointed to see that some of the interesting aspects of the second had already been covered in the first series. Such as the political angle, and Lund being taken off the case.

The acting in both series was good, but the first had some outstanding performances by the grieving relatives. Lund was more believable - I felt the marriage scene was pretty unbelievable.

You really must watch series one - there were a few bits which could have been cut. Perhaps if, overall, it were one episode shorter it would have been better.

Have a good Christmas

Seth Lynch

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Patti. I think I'll certainly go for the original first!

Martin Edwards said...

Seth, good to hear from you. You've summed up what I assume is likely to be the case, that there is quite a gap between the quality of the two series. I really must see the first story. Perhaps the second is an example of how difficult follow ups are to get right?

Roger Cornwell said...

I watched both, and I agree the first series was superior. Like Seth, I thought the grieving parents were very well played and believable. I also thought it remarkable that after the initial murder, no more bodies turned up for 16 or 17 episodes. Yet the plot lines and the tension continued. I watched this one on its repeat, when it was shown every weekday night over four weeks.

The Killing II I also enjoyed, but like you I did not feel the political aspects added much to the story. I also felt that running two episodes each Sunday night was a mistake. In fact I watched the episodes individually later in the week, via the BBC iPlayer and that did work better.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Roger. Interesting suggestion, that the way one watches a serial may influence one's enjoyment.