Scandinavian TV or Nordic Noir: Can we ever get enough of this genre?

February 23, 2019

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Scandinavian TV is a big hit in our home. Walter Presents has the monopoly on this genre. There seems to be a never-ending flow of these series otherwise known as Nordic Noir, continuously appearing on our TVs? Sometimes I find it a bit too violent nevertheless it is compelling viewing. It means that my children, when they return home for the weekend, have to put their mobiles down in order to follow as it all comes with subtitles.

Here are a few of my favourite Scandinavian TV series that you can watch now and also some that are coming soon. You can find them on All4 or on Catch up.

Scandinavian TV: Walter Presents LIBERTY - read review

LIBERTY stars Connie Nielsen and Sofie Gråbøl. It is a gripping family drama set in 1980’s Tanzania, where two expat families from Scandinavia have big ideas for change but soon realise that they need more than good intentions to successfully execute their idealism. Liberty is a brutally honest portrait of the naiveté of a community of foreign aid workers, whose grand plans are met with local resistance and untranslatable cultural differences.

Nurse Kirsten Knudsen is finally fulfilling her dream of working in the third world and has moved her baby and teenage son from Denmark to join their father in Africa. A ready-made lifestyle awaits her, complete with staff and a gin and tonic fuelled, Scandinavian social scene. Life seems easier, but at what cost? Soon, an uglier side of this tropical idyll reveals itself. A new life in Tanzania offers of wealth of opportunities, but Kirsten soon realises that with these come grave consequences: corruption, infidelity and immorality that ultimately puts all their relationships, livelihoods, and even their lives under huge strain. 

Based on the novel ‘Liberty’ by Jakob Ejersbo which was inspired by his own childhood as a Danish expat in Africa, this series is both sinister and beautiful, showing a painfully honest portrayal of human nature.

Scandinavian TV: Walter Presents  GREYZONE - read review

GREYZONE is a high-octane thriller that blurs the line between right and wrong. Blending an emotionally charged plot with the timely, terrifying theme of cyber terrorism, Greyzone is a poignant and absorbing series which raises moral dilemmas and heartbeats alike.

During a business trip abroad, the brilliant software engineer Victoria meets the attractive and intelligent reporter Iayd, a former university acquaintance. Victoria agrees to an interview with him at her home but what should have been a harmless conversation about her work, turns into a dangerous situation where Victoria and her son Oskar are taken hostage. Iyad exposes that he is part of a terror cell planning an attack somewhere in Scandinavia. Victoria works at SparrowSat, a Swedish company that develops drone technology and Iyad’s accomplices have singled out Victoria to gain access to vital components to facilitate the attack. When anti-terror police discover her desperate situation, instead of saving her they force her to become a double agent and gain insight into Iyad’s terror network. One step wrong could have life-threating consequences for both Victoria and her son Oskar, especially as she starts to strike a friendship with her captor.

Scandinavian TV: Walter Presents RIDE UPON THE STORM - read the review

RIDE UPON THE STORM is the hotly anticipated new series from BAFTA award winning writer Adam Price, who previously created the iconic global hit series Borgen. Starring Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards, The Killing) the story centres on a family of priests and the characters within it, as they each choose their path to live a meaningful life. On the face of it, the family are the epitome of respectability, but events soon unfold leaving a family in crisis.

Johannes is God-like to his sons; he is the one who gives, who takes, who loves and punishes. The father-son dynamic is at the heart of this story, with both love and tension between the two boys themselves and also between them and their father, who is a passionate man but also a heavy drinker with a quick temper. His unwavering favouritism for August, who is set to follow his footsteps into the clergy, and disappointment with Christian who has abandoned the church, forces both into desperate choices in order to either win his affection or break free from him, be it into war or in search of spiritual enlightenment.

Exploring the themes of good and evil through the intimate lens of a family drama, Ride Upon the Storm has been a huge hit internationally and a second series has already finished filming. 

Scandinavian TV: Walter Presents THE RIVER - read the review

THE RIVERis the chilling story of a far-flung town drowning in secrets, mysteries and conspiracy. This is Nordic Noir at its very best; the setting is wild and astoundingly beautiful yet also unpredictable, as are the gruesome cases that haunt this remote community.

In the small village of Djupelv, which straddles the Norwegian/Russian border well within the Arctic Circle, the winters are long and dark. Everyone knows everyone and there are no secrets in this close-knit community, or so it seems. During one of NATO’S winter exercises a dismembered hand is discovered in the river by a local Sami girl.

Thomas, the local police officer starts investigating the grisly discovery, despite firm warnings from his superiors. When the girl disappears and is later found murdered by army officer Mia Holt he becomes even more suspicious that something sinister is afoot. Mia and Thomas continue together in their search for the truth and are forced to look at this small community in a new light. Why are the authorities passive? Why are the locals staying so tight-lipped? And what is hidden up there in the mountains?

The River is based on true events from the region bordering Russia, in northern Scandinavia. This is the story of the outsider, who slowly, but surely understands that the small community is entangled in a web of lies, that the elders hide cruel secrets, and that a small group of locals are willing to do anything to prevent the truth from coming out.

Filmed in frozen barren landscapes, The River is based on true events from the area bordering Russia, in northern Scandinavia.

Scandinavian TV: Walter Presents THE CRIMSON RIVERS - read the review

THE CRIMSON RIVERS is a gripping series set in the realms of sadistic killers, creepy rituals and mysterious incidents. Based on the 2000 blockbuster of the same name (starring Vincent Cassel and Jean Reno), and from Luc Besson’s production company Europacorp, The Crimson Rivers is a French crime thriller that follows conflicted cop duo Camille Delauney and Pierre Niémans.

Niémans and Camille are called out all over rural France to solve complex cases which all involve a weird brutality far beyond the capacity of local police departments. The protagonists find themselves infiltrating folktale-like crimes with strong moral and mystic themes, dealing with cults, murder based on family tradition and human sacrifice. An unlikely match, Niémans is a reserved, pragmatic and pessimistic old school sleuth, whereas Camille is bold, brave and not afraid of over-stepping the mark, yet together they make a charismatic and driven duo who will stop at nothing to catch a killer.

This is Scandinavian TV at its best so get out the wine and settle down for a box set!

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