Friday, June 5, 2015

Fortitude: Genre Bending

Checking in with a review of Fortitude, a 12-episode genre bending series first show on Pivot TV in April, but I just saw it on Netflix DVDs this week.

The location is perfect for summer viewing: a fictional town in the Arctic, which cools you down by 20 degrees just by looking at it on your screen.  That was a figure of speech, not actually a part of the story, but what is going on in Fortitude is almost science fictional - as well as mystery, police procedural, medical thriller, horror, and even some good political wrangling.

Stanley Tucci puts in a great performance as an American detective working (for some reason) as an English DCI, who's called in to Fortitude to investigate at least two murders.  One may or may not have been a mercy killing - the shooting of a scientist who was literally being eaten alive by bear - and the other a frenzied brutal stabbing, with the main suspect being a little boy.

There's a lab in the town, people looking to make a quick buck or whatever the currency is there by digging mammoth tusks out of the permafrost, and an unforgettable sense of being on the edge of the world, almost on another planet.  In that sense, Fortitude shares some of the ambiance of the first season of Helix, but Fortitude was a thousand times better.

The mysteries, scientific and personal, will keep you guessing to the end.  Just about every character is memorable, including the sheriff, played by Richard Dormer; the Governor, played by Sofie Gråbøl; and the oldest man in town, played by Michael Gambone.

Suffice to say that not everyone survives - not everyone with a vengeance - but the series amply does, and I'll be looking forward to the next season next year.


"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review
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