So PBS/Masterpiece is now showing the Welsh crime drama Hinterland. Have you watched it?
I watched an episode of the first series of this show a few months back, but was not ready for it then. (Here’s the trailer for series 1.) Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think I needed to see this show in the wintertime. It’s dark and depressing and it dwells on the rainy climate of Wales so lovingly that you find your eyeball just longing to look at something, anything, that is brighter. And yet? It hits the spot, when you just want to sit on your couch and block out the fact that the polar vortex is happening all around you.
DCI Tom Mathias has had a case go wrong, and has experienced a tragedy in his marriage, and has been demoted to the Welsh hinterlands. Evidently the Welsh hinterlands are no strangers to crime, because there’s more than enough convoluted cases, many of them with roots first planted decades ago, for him to investigate, along with his sometimes-exasperated but kind and extremely competent DI Mared Rhys.
What I like about it is that it’s dark and sad but it’s not overly graphic, which is a nice change (particularly if you’ve been watching other shows like Luther or Peaky Blinders), and it makes use of one of its prime attractions: Richard Harrington, the actor who plays Mathias. I’ve not seen him in a lot, but he’s always made an impression on me in any small part he’s played (like the part of Zoe’s boyfriend on MI-5). He does a good job here, and puts a lot of taut energy into a role that requires him to spend a lot of time brooding.
Give it a try. It’s become my own special little kind of hygge for these dark winter days.
Oh! And I almost forgot. The show’s got a fascinating production story. It’s made in Wales, and airs on the “Welsh Channel 4,” or S4C, but that’s not the fascinating bit. The fascinating bit is that every episode of this show is filmed twice: once in Welsh (all the actors speak it), which is the version show on S4C, and once in English, which is the version show everywhere else.