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Friday, September 27, 2019

Comic Cuts - 27 September 2019

As I don't have a huge amount to talk about, let's play "Squirrel versus Birds"...

Will the squirrel (on the telephone pole on the right) get past the birds (on the left) or will he be frightened off by them? Answer at the end of the column.

It was Mel's birthday this week, although circumstances have meant that we can't get out for a meal until next weekend. It has been that sort of week, with everything forced back. I was trying to upload a (broken) run of Starburst at the tail end of last week but failed thanks to a patchy internet connection. I managed to get the last of them up onto Ebay on Tuesday, which I had to do because I had so many magazines finishing on Monday. I then had a pile of Dreamwatch magazines that I failed to get uploaded on Wednesday and had to wait until Thursday.

The rest of the week has been spent scanning and sorting out, hence the lack of anything to really talk about. I'm hoping to have some copies of The Comics Journal ready for sale, all of them with fantastic and fascinating interviews. I'm keeping a handful but I'm aiming to more than halve the number of copies I have, reducing three boxes to one.

Below The Picture we will be looking at Below The Surface... so jump if you don't like spoilers.

Below The Surface was a Danish action series that was first broadcast in the UK in March 2018. An intense thriller, it involved a group of underground rail travellers being held by a group of... well they appear to be military trained and always one step ahead of the Terror Task Force (PET) headed by Philip Nørgaard (Johannes Lassen) as they try to negotiate the releases of the terrified hostages. The original Danish title, Gidseltagningen, means "taking hostage".

The English title becomes a bit of a misnomer for the second season, which definitely takes place On The Surface. Other than that, this season is pretty much season one with the serial numbers filed off. Philip has been in therapy and is now dating his therapist. He is approached by June al-Baqee (Yasmin Mahmoud), who is the centre of a legal storm after returning from Syria where she has been fighting ISIS. She asks Philip whether he has seen the video she sent him. He is no longer with the PET he tells her.

Minutes later, she is kidnapped. Philip is able to identify the vehicle and, through it, one of the kidnappers. Before long, he is on their trail as they head for a port to cross the Øresund, the strait that separates Denmark and Sweden. On the ferry, Philip warns the Captain (Søren Malling—from The Killing, Borgen and 1864), who presses a silent alarm, alerting the authorities. A contact known only as 'A' warns the kidnappers and they hijack the ferry and bring it to a halt.

After that, it's "Die Hard on a ferry". The PET try to take the ship but are rebuffed. We begin to learn more about the kidnappers and their motives—not as clear-cut as they first seem. We also discover how June and her video could be a threat to international relations and how far some will go to protect their secrets.

It's a little by the numbers, but has enough thrills to keep most people happy. Mel gave up after four episodes, so it isn't as engaging as the first season. The plot kept the three main PET operatives from the first season—Philip, S.P. and Simon—separated, and Philip was sidelined for two episodes,  thrown into a freezer on board the ferry. Also, other than Captain Hvalsø, the ferry passengers were a faceless bunch, unlike in the first season where we were rooting for the hostages because we  got to know them.

If Below the Surface continues its upwards trajectory, we can expect season three to take place in the penthouse of a high rise, and season four in a plane. Give me a call when we reach season five: "Die Hard on the International Space Station".

OK, so I spotted this squirrel halfway across a telephone wire staring at a flock of birds that had landed on one side. He nervously returned to the opposite telephone pole and sat there for thirty seconds before deciding to take the plunge... he went belting over the wire and dashed into the middle of the birds (you can just see his tail at the top of the pole in the photo above) and then scarpered down the other wire which runs through the top branches of a tree.

1 comment:

  1. Comic exper, Sci-fi expert and now a Naturalist, A regular Richard Attenborough you are Steve! You should send your shots to Winter Watch!! :)

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