Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day Sixty-two - Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter: Prime Time, or "I'll take my boredom in high quality HD, please"

The second episode of Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter was a bit of a letdown, really.

Not that the intrepid heroine necessarily needs to be in harms way all the time, but there does need to be some sort of menace or tension to pull me in. Prime Time tries by making the lead suspect in the murder of a famous show host Annika's best friend, but I never really felt it.

Set in a sort of Christie fashion, Prime Time tells the story of a house full of celebs where one of them gets murdered after a party. Really, the drama is minimal. Most of the action in the first hour is Annika trying to get the story as it develops, and doing a pretty good job of it. Her improvisations and bluffs to get the names of all ten witnesses/suspects is actually my favorite thing in the episode. Very enjoyable.

The mystery, itself, not so much.

Annika's friend is shown unsympathetically as a bitchy drunk, of course, to throw up a red herring, and the parade of suspects lacks pretty totally in redeeming factors aside from the aging production tech, Gunnar. To be honest, I kept expecting for him to show back up as a suspect later in the third or fourth act due to his calm demeanor when the body is discovered.

Aside from him, though, my second choice did turn out to be the killer, and that's a bit sad. Not because I got it right or they were my second choice, but because I actually did feel for the person. Most of the episode focused on painting the victim as just that, a victim. While the climax revelation that she wasn't as good as everyone said was a bit silly, it did make me feel for the killer a little. Not much, but a little.

I think my main problem with the episode was that it was just boring. The investigation only served to reveal just how vapid everyone there was, even if Annika's method of drawing out information is charming and entertaining.

In addition to that, the forced family drama (that's twice, now, in two episodes and, while I liked it the first time, this one felt off) concerning Annika missing a Walpurgis celebration with the in-laws, bugs the heck out of me. Her boyfriend's ultimatum when work calls is overly dramatic and the fact that it resolves so easily by the end of the epi bugs me beyond belief.

Now... all that in perspective... this is a very high quality series in terms of production value and the regular player's acting. Everyone in the bullpen is very entertaining and I love all their chemistry. I especially love how much integrity her publisher has... and how much of a creep her editor is. If only the guest players (nee: witnesses/suspects/victims) could be just as engaging. They try, but I never really bought it.

I can certainly recommend the episode based on focusing on the news crew... but the mystery itself, blah. Hopefully, in a few days/weeks when I come back to it, the next crime story will interest me.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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