Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn’t miss

Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Peter Haber as Beck. Photo: TT
Scandinavian television has developed a global reputation for quality, thanks to The Killing, The Bridge, Borgen and Wallander. The Local's Paul Connolly has picked five more great Swedish box sets to curl up to this winter.
1. Real Humans

Real Humans actors Eva Röse, Andreas Wilson, and Lisett Pagler. Photo: TT
What is it?
This terrific, intelligent sci-fi series has created such a global buzz among television executives with its take on artificial intelligence and its “hubots” that are indistinguishable from human beings, that the UK’s Channel 4 and the US’s AMC (makers of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead) are already planning to make an English language version.
What’s so good about it?
The strength of Real Humans has been to blend brain with brawn – this is a show that knows how to keep the grey matter ticking over while poking the adrenal glands on a regular basis.
2. Anno 1790

On the set of Anno 1790. Photo: TT

What is it?
Period drama of an unusual quality, expertly mixing drama, thriller and political elements without once becoming confused or patronising. Features Peter Eggers as a new Stockholm police commissioner attempting to change the system from within.
What’s so good about it?
Downton Abbey this isn’t – this is cerebral, involving and often downright thrilling. It looks fantastic too. 

3. Beck

Peter Haber as Martin Beck, here together with Sophie Tolstoy. Photo: TT
What is it?
Dark, complex, rich police procedural series based on the books of husband and wife writing team of Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall. Detective Beck is played by Peter Haber, an unremarkable-looking everyman, helped by his zealous, rule-bending colleague Gunvald Larsson. 
What’s so good about it?
This is strong stuff – morally, viscerally and thematically. But while this is not a show for those who shirk at difficult subjects and powerful stories, there is much humour here, especially with in Beck’s interactions with his nosy neighbour.

4. Fanny and Alexander

A scene from Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander filmed in 1982. Photo: TT
What is it?
Ingmar Bergman’s huge, defining triumph, is, in essence, an epic soap opera, but what a soap! Set in the early 1900s, it follows the fortunes of a rich merchant family with many, many secrets.
What’s so good about it?
It’s Bergman at his most accessible and brilliant – there’s a real warmth here and the tale is utterly compelling and sumptuously filmed. 
5. Sebastian Bergman

Rolf Lassgård as police psychologist Sebastian Bergman. Photo: TT
What is it?
Rolf Lassgård played the original, great Swedish Wallander. Now, in an intriguing turnaround, he seems to be playing the Swedish version of the UK crime series favourite, Cracker, a portly, irascible crime profiler.
What’s so good about it?
Despite the obvious genetic, er, similarities to Cracker, Sebastian Bergman succeeds because of the mighty performances of Lassgård – a titan of an actor at the very top of his game.

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.