What I watched this week: Fortitude

A TV test card with the words "What I watched this week" superimposed.

This week, I’ve been watching increasingly unbelievable events unfold against a bleak backdrop. No, I’m not talking about news coverage of Brexit again.

The main attraction has been season three of Fortitude. As usual, there are spoilers – including for seasons one and two this time – so you may want to come back after a binge watch.

Fortitude (Sky Atlantic)

It’s set in the Arctic Circle and has a man with a strong beard game as its main protagonist. But it’s as far removed from Father Christmas as you can possibly get.

Season three of Fortitude is a four-episode mini-series that concludes the gritty drama. All episodes are available on demand now.

If you haven’t seen any episodes before, Fortitude is a tiny Arctic town dwarfed by the polar landscape around it.

Season one begins with a violent crime and this leads to a web of intrigue involving a prehistoric virus and things going all a bit Lord of the Flies.

What I’ve really enjoyed about the entire series is how markedly different it is to other things. At various points, it could be legitimately described as a thriller, a noir and a horror. There are elements of the supernatural thrown in for good measure too.

This might make is sound jarring, but I didn’t find it to be so. Somehow, this combination of narratives really works.

While there’s a lot going on, the headline act is Sherrif, Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer). Charismatic and terrifying in equal measure, he’s a character who’s a twisted delight to watch.

Given what he’s been through in the previous two seasons, you never know which Dan Anderssen is going to turn up.

Encounters with parasite-laden prehistoric wasps and torture at the hands of a shaman will do that, though. It’s funny to think that Dormer also voices the dad on Lily’s Driftwood Bay!

Of course, it’s much more than just the Dan Anderssen show and, as I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of other threads.

Given the severe location, the town is home to a number of interesting characters drawn there for varying reasons.

These include those seeking an isolated existence, scientists investigating the aforementioned prehistoric wasps and those with political ambitions.

There’s an added level of intrigue with the addition of some new characters too. Given this, though, if there’s one criticism I have, it’s that four episodes weren’t quite enough.

There are several storylines crammed in, all of which could have benefitted from the breathing space of another couple of episodes. Particularly with such a strong cast.

It’s definitely not one for the fainthearted, but I really liked it. If you’ve seen the first two seasons, it’s a must.

Honourable mentions

The Mash Report (BBC Two)

Personally, I think this news satire show should be on every week and not just in short series every few months. Nish Kumar, Rachel Parris et al hit the nail on the head every time. It’s hilarious and devastating at the same time.

The Greatest Showman (Sky Movies)

To be honest, this really isn’t my kind of thing, so it’s hard for me to judge whether it was good or not. The kids were desperate to watch it though and they loved it!

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