Saturday, 21 June 2014

Currently watching: Crime Scene

I may be busy, but I’m never too busy for a new Korean game show. My most recent discovery is Crime Scene, a game of deduction and bluffing. In this show, a murder is recreated and the six contestants (five regulars and one guest) have to solve the crime. The twist is that they are all given roles to act out, and one of them is the murderer.

I don’t know any of the regulars, apart from Hong Jinho, the winner of series one of The Genius, but I don’t think it matters much. The scene is set out in the studio, and everyone has a set amount of time to search, or to question the others.

The crimes are all based on real events (interestingly, three crimes into the series, two of them have been from the UK. I guess that means our murders are easily adapted to television) and so far all have had twists and turns that I couldn't see coming. What's most fun is that the viewers are also not told who the murderer is, allowing them to play too. So far I've got two right, but only at the very last minute. Every one has been confusing, cunning and baffling.

The five regulars have already started to gel. This could be good, since it makes for more interesting TV, or it could be bad if they start to recognise each others' habits when they lie. But at the moment I'm enjoying the banter between them all.

The first six episodes, subbed by the wonderful Bumdidlyupmtious (who also did The Genius), have had three investigations stretched over two episodes. Apparently from now on it'll be one crime per episode (and one of the regulars, Lim Banggeul, is sadly leaving), which I'm a little worried about because I thought the format was nicely thought out: not too hurried and not too slow. We shall see, but with a cast and a concept as strong as this, I can't see it going wrong.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Recommended: Border

In amongst all my recent distractions (work, filming, Fargo and the World Cup as well as others) one Japanese TV series has kept my attention while the others have fallen by the wayside, even though I plan on finishing them one day.

Borders managed to keep me interested. I had my doubts about the premise: a cop who can see the dead, but it was handled in such a way that you forgot how silly it all is very quickly. The detective’s inability to admit where his information comes from causes some concern with his colleagues, and he relies more and more on dubious policing tactics, especially in the final episode where he knows who the killer is, but can’t do anything without any evidence.

Oguri Shun’s acting was spot on as his character declined mentally and physically. The rest of the cast were good, too, but as the series progressed, it became less of an ensemble piece as the events focused more on Oguri Shun.

As for the ending... well, there wasn’t one. This is clearly leading to a second series or a film to continue the story. Which is fine. I’m totally okay with more of this.