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The Daily Beast: "The Rise of Nordic Noir TV"

The Duchess of Cornwall is just one obsessive viewer. Nordic Noir—embodied in Scandinavian dramas like The Killing, The Bridge , and Borgen —have become cult hits in the U.K., and are about to become the go-to formats for American TV pilots. I explore the genre’s appeal, its breakout female characters, and why audiences in the U.S. are unlikely to see many of them in their original form (but it is possible to see them!). Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The Rise of Nordic Noir TV," in which I explore why these Scandinavian dramas have become cult hits in the U.K., how they are ripe for American adaptations, and their universal appeal. While AMC’s The Killing has been dumped in a trunk to die like Rosie Larsen, its progenitor, Denmark’s Forbrydelsen, continues to slay viewers around the globe on the strength of its moody wit and strong-willed protagonist. Forbrydelsen (in English, The Crime) became a cult hit in the United Kingdom when it air

Faceless Killers: Wallander Returns to Masterpiece Mystery

Every now and then a series comes along that features the perfect actor, the perfect character, the perfect scripts, and the perfect setting. Right now, that series is none other than PBS/BBC's haunting and existential mystery drama Wallander , which returns for its second season on Sunday as part of PBS' Masterpiece Mystery (check your local listings). The series stars Kenneth Branagh as Ystad detective Kurt Wallander, a man gripped by his own concerns as he investigates the grisly and brutal crimes inflicted on the inhabitants of his Swedish port town. (For more on Branagh's take on the character, you can read my interview with him over at The Daily Beast .) But Wallander's purview isn't just finding the perpetrators of these crimes--which include, in the first installment, the brutal murder of an elderly farmer and his wife--but in examining both the damage that such crimes cause and the fractured psyche that carries them out in the first place. So strong is h

The Daily Beast: "Kenneth Branagh's Twists and Turns"

Kenneth Branagh has temporarily traded Shakespeare for serial killers in Masterpiece Mystery ’s new Wallander installments and superheroes in his highly anticipated directing effort, Thor . Over at The Daily Beast, you can check out my latest feature, "Kenneth Branagh's Twists and Turns," in which I talk to Branagh about Season Two of Wallander and its existential hero, directing Thor (and its connections to Shakespearean drama), and whether he'll play Sir Laurence Olivier in Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn . Season Two of Wallander begins this Sunday on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery . Check your local listings for details.

Crime and Punishment: An Advance Review of PBS' Gripping Mystery Series "Wallander"

"A really good detective never gets married." - Raymond Chandler Many detectives would take Chandler's edict to heart, given just how married they are to their jobs, and the bookshelves are lined with detective novels about grim gumshoes who forsake their own personal lives in pursuit of catching killers. After all, detectives are prone to seeing the worst of humanity on a daily basis, of seeing the skull beneath the skin, companions as they are of death and murder. Enter Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh), a detective in the seaside town of Ystad, Sweden who--like many others of his ilk--has his own horrific demons to battle even as he throws himself into chasing criminals with intense abandon. And while we've all seen stories of flawed detectives a zillion times, PBS' Wallander , a co-production between WGBH and BBC which kicks off on Sunday night as part of Masterpiece Mystery , offers a tautly gripping and suspenseful roller coaster ride through the dark heart

Channel Surfing: Mindy Kaling Gets Universal Deal, Josh Schwartz Talks "Chuck," HBO Goes to New Orleans with "Treme," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. The Office co-star/writer Mindy Kaling has signed an overall deal with NBC and Universal Media Studios under which she will continue to write for and star in The Office as well as develop a new comedy project which will be a vehicle for the actress. "This is my first step in a Transformers-style way to take over the whole world," joked Kaling. "I've only ever worked for NBC, and I've felt an enormous amount of support from the executives there." Kaling says she is drawn to workplace comedies as well as buddy series such as HBO's Flight of the Conchords or projects focusing on women. ( Variety ) There's still no news on the fate of NBC's Chuck , despite a massive fan-based initiative to create buzz for a third season of the action-comedy. The Hollywood Reporter 's Matthew Belloni talks to Chuck co-creator/executive producer Josh Schwartz about the series' rabid fan base, Lily , t