Monday, October 24, 2022

What's On Streaming?

Iceland in the Age of Magic

After two visits to Iceland, we are very intrigued by TV shows that are set there. Some of the naturalists on our trip there last summer were enthusiastic about the very recent film, "The Northman." We watched it last week.

A drama full of violence and pathos. The similarity to Shakespeare’s Hamlet
becomes less and less important as the film goes on. Plot summary:
Prince Amleth is the son of the king. His mother and uncle conspire to kill
the king, marry each other, and take over. Rest of story: REVENGE.

Much of the action is set in 9th century Iceland. There’s lots of black magic, witches, and the like.

I think the costumes, sod houses, boats, and armor are pretty accurate.

Iceland is a ravishingly beautiful location, and the film captured lots of great vistas.


We found ourselves literally trapped by the Icelandic police procedural titled "Trapped." The first season dates from a few years ago. We binged all 10 of the episodes in around two days. Insane!

Andri, Chief of Police in an Icelandic fishing village, is challenged by numerous murders. 
He has lots of quirks — the best-known being that he drinks milk.

The burly and brooding Andri is played by actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

Hinrika, Andri's brave & competent partner in the
investigation, is played by Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir. 

The fishing village where Andri is Chief of Police. Who would  think it would be a hotbed of crime!

Map showing the location of the real village where the filming was done.

Most of all in “Trapped” I loved the Icelandic scenery and the long shots of the fishing village. The series was filmed mainly in the fishing village of Siglufjörður, North Iceland, which is very picturesque. Since it takes place in mid-February, the characters experience the worst of winter: specifically, a blizzard is blocking all the roads during the first several episodes. Numerous murders and other crimes create an absorbing plot, though there's sometimes an overdose of cruelty, including several violent deaths (I sort of lost count).

Classified as “Icelandic Noir” this crime drama is both very Icelandic and very very Noir. In fact, the shortness of days in the far north mean that there are a lot of night scenes, and if it wasn’t already dark enough, an avalanche takes out the village's power plant, so there are a number of interior scenes lit only by candles and flashlights. Now that’s noir!

The Great British Baking Show: Wrong Again

Ridiculously unAmerican s'mores from the Great British Baking Show.

As you see: we've been watching a lot of TV. Every Friday morning for 10 weeks we are watching a newly-released episode of the Great British Baking Show. This series isn't as good as it used to be, but still is nice mindless fun. The latest episode included an American "pastry" — s'mores. I would never have considered this childhood campfire treat as "pastry," but the judges made the contestants bake their own graham crackers: in Britspeak that would be "Digestive Biscuits." I've never heard of a normal American who has baked graham crackers from scratch for other than religious reasons. Nabisco Honey Grahams are the prescribed choice for s'mores.

Still more ridiculous: the bakers had to make their own marshmallows and some kind of fancy chocolate confection to substitute for the customary Hershey Bar. And the judges’ method won’t work. They required the bakers to make marshmallows that were equal in size to around 4 commercial American marshmallows, which meant that the contestants couldn't possible toast them correctly so they were gooey, as you should for s'mores. Of course they also required using a kitchen torch, not a campfire, but that’s a detail.

In case you don’t know it: this is a real s'more with a gooey toasted marshmallow melting the chocolate. (source)

One contestant did torch his marshmallows long enough to make them gooey, and Prue’s reaction was to make one of her dismissive sniffy noises and say that his marshmallows shouldn’t be so soft, and the chocolate isn't supposed to drip down.

Dear Prue and Paul: Drippy chocolate and very soft hot toasted marshmallows are authentic features of s'mores. The word “gooey” even appears in the first published s’mores recipe in the1927 Girl Scout Handbook (see it here). If America were a third-world country, you'd be guilty of cultural appropriation and ethnic insensitivity like what you did on Mexican Week recently. I'm sorry you have run out of variations on Victoria Sponge and are resorting to all kinds of foods that you don’t know much about.

Miss Marple.


More British than the Great British Baking show is “Marple” one of many interpretations of the work of Agatha Christie over the 100+ years since she began writing mysteries. "Marple" originally ran from 2004-2014, and is currently available for streaming. We are watching this slowly. I especially like Geraldine McEwan, one of the two actresses who plays Miss Marple in this series. Of course there are many cups of tea!

Blog post © 2022 mae sander. 
Shared with Elizabeth’s blog party celebrating drinks like Andri’s milk.


Aimz said...

I've watched Trapped, it's good and so are the Scandanavian detective series on netflix, way better than others on there.

Kate Yetter said...

I have not seen the first two shows mentioned. I love watching the Great British Bake Off but we are waiting until all the episodes are out until we start watching. I tried to scroll past without looking as to not spoil what I haven't seen.
Happy Tea Day,

My name is Erika. said...

Other than the Baking Show, I haven't seen any of these, but the shows I have seen in the past from Iceland, are always great to enjoy. You are right about the scenery. And I'm also with you about the s'mores. I guess the contestants making the marshmallows didn't bug me as it is a skill, but I'm with you about the melty chocolate and whoever sees s'mores all so prettily done. Maybe they sell them as treats in Great Britain that way, I don't know. Have a great T day and week ahead. hugs-Erika

Cloudia said...

Thanks for the tips and happy t day!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I take it these are all on Netflix because I no longer get British Bake Off. I did enjoy your synopses and would love to see any of these, including Miss Marple. Thanks for sharing these including Andri's milk for T this Tuesday, dear Mae.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

I didn't know graham crackers were the same as digestive biscuits, so I've made them before as we don't get them here. As for Trapped, I shall look out for it here.

Valerie-Jael said...

The Iclandic film and series sound good, I must look out for them. I never watch cook shows, not my thing! I recently read an Iclandic book, the Flatey Enigma from Victor Ingolfsson, and I'm still not sure if I liked it or not! Happy T Day, Valerie

Let's Art Journal said...

Fab films! It was an interesting take on s'mores, wasn't it! S'mores aren't really a thing here in the UK, definitely not popular like in the US (personally I don't think Digestives are a good substitute for Graham Crackers as they are too thick so I make my own Graham Crackers). The Bake Off ones seemed to be more "in the style of s'mores" rather than the American version; my s'mores look like the ones in your photo as we make them with real chocolate and less marshmallow which is toasted so it melts the chocolate - yum 😊. Happy T Day wishes! Hugs Jo x

eileeninmd said...

I have not watched these shows. I am going to look for Trapped. I do enjoy the scenery in Iceland. The S'mores look yummy. Take care, enjoy your day!

Iris Flavia said...

I know none of the shows. We have a baking show, the lady drives me nuts, so all I watch is Jamie Oliver and to my despair we get him translated to German :-(
More or less! He starts talking, you understand it all and then the German speaker sets in, starting at zero and often the translation is bad.

DVArtist said...

I recently watched the Northman and enjoyed it. I will check out Trapped. I stopped watching the Great British Baking Show when Mary Berry stayed with the BBC and Paul went for the money with Channel 4. Now, that is understandable, but I really dislike the people on the show. Glad that you are enjoying it though. Have a lovely day today.

Divers and Sundry said...

I found The Northman gray and tedious but enjoyed Trapped. I've seen some of the British Baking Show and have generally liked them, but I'm not a regular viewer and missed the s'mores episode. I'm glad the Agatha Christie's continue to be popular :)

Happy T Tuesday

Empire of the Cat said...

Is the Great British Baking Show and the The Great British Bake-off two different shows or the same show renamed for a different audience I wonder? If it's the latter I stopped watching when it left the BBC and changed presenters. Smores is not something people here know a lot about outside of people eating them on American TV shows so I'm not surprised it turned out badly lol. That looks like Nicole Kidman in the movie poster, was she in it? Happy T Day! Elle/EOTC xx

Sharon Madson said...

We don't stream so missing all these good British shows like "Marple" or the Icelandic series, which all sound good! Thanks for sharing. Happy T Day!

pearshapedcrafting said...

The two Icelandic programmes you mention sound good but I haven't found either of them yet. I haven't watched Bake Off regularly since it left the BBC. When I have seen it struck me as not being the same kind of show at all and I realised I wasn't missing it! Marple? Yes, loved it, at the moment our favourites are Doc Martin, The Larkins and a lovely series at has just finished called Ralph and Katie a spin off from the brilliant A Word. Belated Happy T Day, Chrisx

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I guess I find it charming that the Great British Baking Show is highlighting foods from other places. Hearing "ta (with the a sound as in apple) cos" made us laugh. Then again "pee cans" is something anyone outside of the nut's native terrain can't seem to pronounce correctly...again, charming.

I think my husband would enjoy the Icelandic mystery series. Now to see if I can find it...

Jeanie said...

I don't know where they got those pumpkins (or got them home) but the big question is how did they carve them? Put a door in the back so they could go inside to dig them out?!

I'm behind on the baking show but I heard they were dong s'mores which I thought was odd -- I agree -- s'mores are supposed to be gooey and drippy. That's the point!

I just finished the excellent Lucy Worsley bio on Agatha and need to watch the Marples -- that was her favorite character. I think I remember McEwen and liked her very much! Will have to catch up!