81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2014
Shetland is based on the Ann Cleeves novels featuring the detective Jimmy Perez and I feel they have translated to the small screen just as successfully as Cleeves female detective Vera Stanhope in the series Vera.
Shetland returns for a second series in the form of three two-part stories and comprises the episodes:-
Raven Black: When the body of a teenage girl is found on a deserted beach D.I. Jimmy Perez leads the investigation into her murder and it seems the case may be linked to the unsolved disappearance of a young girl nineteen years earlier.
Dead Water: A journalist is killed in a road accident and it emerges he was an old pal of Perez. As the investigation progresses it seems the victim Jerry's, return to Shetland was connected to plans for a controversial new gas pipeline.
Blue Lightening: This double episode has shades of Agatha's Christie's "And Then There Were None" as when a scientist is discovered murdered in a bird sanctuary on Fair Isle and Perez returns to his childhood home to investigate a storm forces Perez and the suspects to remain enclosed under the same roof.
The stories are well crafted and interesting with a credible number of potential suspects, the acting is of a high quality and the regular cast has been well-chosen; also the series has attracted some fine guest stars including the wonderful Brian Cox in the opening episode. The rugged Shetland landscape with its long stretches of beach, cliffs and hillsides forms a wonderful backdrop for these murder mysteries. In fact, one of the things I appreciate most about Shetland is Shetland itself which at times has an almost Nordic bleakness and at other times we see the Island in summer sunshine; the long, long summer nights often give rise to insomnia.
A captivating and beautiful setting which adds to the series' allure.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this series to viewers in general but in particular to fans of the genre.
85 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
Quite why 'Shetland' hasn't had the acclaim that other crime thrillers have had is lost on me.
Okay, so it's not as thrilling as some other 'thrillers', but its slow paced brooding nature perfectly matches the setting and the feeling of isolation is palpable.
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2014
I like this nearly as much as The Bridge, in fact I can't quite decide if I like it even a little more than that but The Bridge wins because of the neutral colour tones and it's quite cinematic, plus it can also be rather amusing in parts, but as I say I like Shetland next best. I don't know the crime stats but I suspect murder is less common there than the series allows but that is the only 'flaw' for me and an easy one to live with. What Shetland does have going for it is the beautiful scenery, it's low-key, like nordic noir, and I find it entirely unpredictable whereas with most homegrown detective drama I don't watch because it's too paint by numbers and often easy to work out. I also find the motivations of the crimes to be plausible, and the nature of the crimes themselves, not ridiculously over the top. The characters are all well fleshed out, too and Jimmy Perez is a very likeable DI, what comes across is a genuine concern for people (and animals, more specifically the raven in first story of second series) but no pushover, someone who is proficiently astute, and pleasingly soft-spoken. I was surprised to like this second series as much as I do because I found the first story of series one to be only average and I did find that case a little far-fetched, but on the back of series two I can't wait for more. A bonus to have strong guest roles, too.
55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2014
Can not wait to obtain the DVD for my mum, I read the books & am watching the series now, I know its something she will love too. I think Douglas Henshall is brilliant as inspector Perez, just as I imagined, wonderful scenery, set in a beautiful part of the world, love it so much would highly recommend it to anyone who loves murder mystery, drama & crime investigation away from the beaten track..
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Shetland is one of those new television shows that seems to catch you unaware. I am a person who loves BBC Detective Series, and have since moved on to the Norwegian and Danish mystery series. This series takes place in Shetland, an artic archipelago off the Scotland coast. I am very good with accents, but the heavy accents in this series had me using the subtitle category.
We meet Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, played by Douglas Henshall, a man who has recently lost his wife to cancer. He is bringing up their teenage daughter, and at the same time trying to solve all the crimes inherent in a community. And, this community has murder on its mind in this series. This series is from the books written by Ann Cleves, the same author of the 'Vera' books and series.
The Shetland Iseles are isolating, windy, all face the ocean. The inhabitants all work very hard, many are farmers, or work in the small towns of the isles. Religion seems to be a big part of their lives, marriage, birth and death. Whenever, DI Perez needs a pathologist he needs to call someone from one of the cities closest to the Isles. He pretty much has to solve all of the cases on his own with the assistance of two well informed and competent assistants. He counts on the townspeople to assist his investigations, and since he is fairly well known and liked, he can count on someone coming forward. DI Perez solves his cases in the usual hour or it often becomes a two parter episode. This is a well written and acted series. And I saw the first episode on PBS. This is a good series to follow.
Recommended. prisrob 07-31-15
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2014
Shetland is a terrific little detective show very much in the vein of "Single Handed" the wonderful rural Irish Police drama. This show follows DI Doug Henshall and his very good supporting cast thru several cases that are thoughtful and compelling. Unlike most American 'cop shows', this series has no car chases or violent gun play--its the story & the brains of the 'coppers' that matters. Thank god the show HAS SUBTITLES for us hearing impaired folk. Even with the closed captions many of the names for things (like a house) these fine folks use will not make sense to Americans, but you quickly catch on and then truly appreciate the pace of these films and you will want to move there for the landscape. Bring on another season of this fine show!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2014
I was a late comer to this programme and just wanted something different. No glamour rubbish and over filmed locations of countryside that doesnt exist! You know the type! Soo i bought this DVD after catching a few episodes on TV. We have enjoyed it very much. If you want decent plots and normal dour characters then this is your lot. Looking for Hollyood glamour - then nah. Not for you.
All but one of the five Shetland books feature here, each of the four episodes lasting almost two hours. No bonuses.
Atmospherically excelling in both print and on screen are the Shetland Isles themselves, some inaccessible during foul weather - which often there is. What a gift for creators of murder mysteries, tension rising within closely knit communities!
Impressive too in both versions is Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, so mild and painstaking - success rates owing more to his understanding of people rather than technology (Steven Robertson good as assistant Sandy Wilson doing the necessary with the latter). Douglas Henshall is excellent in the role.
Inevitably many changes have been made. As ever with adaptations, for maximum enjoyment best treat the two versions as separate entities. Some storylines are greatly altered, including the identity of a killer. This occasionally may be regretted, especially if leading to confusion when none existed in the original. (Developments in "Blue Lightning" may puzzle some.)
In contrast, some new aspects work extremely well. Making Cassie about ten years older allows delightful scenes with her step-dad Perez, not to mention father Duncan.
All episodes have a common denominator - secrets long buried in the past. My favourite? The one based on "Dead Water" (the only Shetland novel not yet read): powerful performances from guest stars; outcome a genuine surprise. Very moving.
Mindful of complaints about what is said hard to follow, I was resigned to needing subtitles. Unexpectedly I could cope very well without. (This is remarkable - so often frustrated elsewhere, especially when music competes with dialogue.)
Do not be put off by the possible thought of subtitles. Addicts of Nordic Noir find them surprisingly easy to cope with. Treat this as Britain's answer to Nordic Noir - it certainly set in that direction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2014
This series has gorgeous scenery, competent writing and plenty of atmosphere.
Unfortunately, it is let down by pretty hammy over-acting (think Taggart and you'll get what I mean) and an awful lot of Glasweigan accents for what's supposed to be a population of Shetlanders. Strangely, the bit-part actors are usually the better ones.
It's still worth a watch, though, even if only for the dramatic scenery alone. Just don't expect Morse or Lewis.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This struck me as quallity television, with wonderful atmosphere, great characters and good storylines. Unfortunately, I could understand less than one word in five, so my grasp of the plot is pretty tenuous and I gave up before the end. Scots accents can be a bit impenetrable to those of us born south of the border, but the problem was compounded by the fact that much of the dialogue was 'naturalistic' and speech was often both quiet and quickly spoken. Such a shame, because I think I'd have enjoyed it.