Announcements that cable channels most people have never heard of are getting into the scripted-series business don't generally make my day -- if there's a shortage of things to watch, TV critics haven't heard about it.
So when Viceland's Trapped this month ate most of a weekend, one icy, subtitled episode at a time, it got my attention.
The documentary- and "reality"-focused cable channel, launched last year by Vice Media, is starting, as many outlets have, by importing. Trapped, billed as the channel's first scripted drama, ran in Iceland in 2015 and has since played in Britain, parts of Europe, and Australia. (Viceland last month ordered a comedy written by and starring James Van Der Beek.)
Fortunately, ice keeps things fresh, and there's ice aplenty in the 10-episode Trapped, which begins Sunday with the discovery of a mutilated torso in the harbor of a remote Icelandic town just as the weekly ferry is arriving from Denmark. Before you can learn to pronounce, much less spell, the name of the town, Seyðisfjörður is snowed in and Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), the bearlike chief of police, is left, with just two colleagues, Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) and Ásgeir (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), to deal with the first major crime the town's seen in forever.
Or so he thinks. Turns out there's been a lot more going on in S-town than Andri realizes.
I'm a sucker for Nordic noir -- not to mention Fargo, expected back on FX in April -- but anyone who's seen more than a couple of international detective dramas in the last decade will recognize aspects of Trapped, from Andri's broken marriage to the gorgeous, unforgiving landscape that helps shape his existence.
Though the knitwear is fantastic, a twisted plot that touches on international sex trafficking and the 2008 financial meltdown in which Iceland's banks failed, crashing the economy, makes this murder mystery anything but cozy.