The channel responsible for kick-starting the popularity of subtitled drama in the UK is facing stiffer competition for the best foreign dramas these days. Apart from stalwarts like Spiral and The Bridge most of my personal favourites in the last year or so have been found elsewhere: The Bureau (Amazon), Babylon Berlin (Sky), La Casa de Papel and Dark (Netflix), Tabula Rasa and Before We Die (Walter Presents). Walter has also snaffled two new Scandi shows: Greyzone and Ride Upon the Storm that might previously have been expected to warm our winter evenings. There’s still plenty to look forward to on Saturday nights in the coming months though and still plenty of possibilities in terms of shows the BBC might be tempted to pick up.
What’s coming? In the relatively near future there are four brand new episodes of Swedish crime drama Beck that aired in Sweden earlier this year and a second season of Canadian crime drama Cardinal. A little further down the line – new seasons of Danish financial crime drama Follow the Money, Icelandic crime drama Trapped and French favourite Spiral are all due – though probably not until 2019.
What might be coming? This is pure speculation based on no inside information whatsoever but speculation is fun so here’s a short list of possibilities:
L’Accident. Short run French mystery series seem popular on various platforms these days and this six episode series: starring Bruno Solo as a man determined to clear his wife’s name after the police rule the accident in which she is killed to be due to drink driving, is already on Acorn in the United States.
Deadwind (Karppi). A new 12 part crime drama from Finland. When Sofia Karppi, a detective in her 30’s who is trying to get over her husband’s death, discovers the body of a young woman on a construction site, she triggers a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life all over again.
A French Village (Un village français). This one is listed more in hope than expectation but this series – set in occupied France during World War II – has recently ended its seven season run in France. It stars two Spiral stalwarts too: Audrey Fleurot and Thierry Godard. MHz Choice in the United States has all seven seasons.
Home Ground (Heimebane). Award winning Norwegian drama starring Ane Dahl Torp as the first female coach of a top flight men’s football team.
The Restaurant (Vår tid är nu). I like the literal translation of this Swedish period drama – Our Time is Now – more than I like the title they’ve gone for for overseas distribution but this series – set in the decades immediately following World War II – proved popular enough in Sweden that its original two season order has already been extended to three.
Stella Blómkvist. If I had to have a small wager on the most likely show on this list to make the cut it would probably be this Icelandic crime drama based on the first in a series of books about a hard-nosed lawyer who takes on mysterious murder cases. Not least because the lead is played by Heida Reed – a face already familiar to BBC audiences as Elizabeth in Poldark.
The Zone (La Zona). New Spanish streaming service Movistar+ has a growing portfolio of interesting original series. This one is set three years after a nuclear disaster strikes Northern Spain and follows the investigation of a brutal murder within the exclusion zone. The series is already available on Starz in the United States.