Dana Byerly's

Digital Junk Drawer

Tour de France with Engrenages

I watch a lot of TV. Not much of it is American. And mostly I watch crime drama. There’s no shortage of crime drama series from countries other than America.

There are a few classics of the genre on my watch list that until recently were not available in the U.S., Engrenages/Spiral (France) is one of them. Other genre urtexts now on the watch list include Bron/Broen/The Bridge (Sweden/Denmark) and Forbrydelsen/The Killing (Denmark) thanks to Topic.

Last year I knocked Prime Suspect (England) off my “classics” list. Any show that ran in the 90’s has a fair amount of cringe mixed with nostalgia (at least for me, and probably depending on your age), but overall I didn’t realize the Tennison character was so groundbreaking, which of course is my bad. I would’ve loved to have seen what the original writer did with the last season, I didn’t love how they ended her story.

Back to Engrenages, in all my years of watching non-American shows I have yet to watch a French show. The closest I’ve come is The Tunnel, an English/French co-production modeled on Bron/Broen/The Bridge (enjoyable) and the French-adjacent Capitani from Luxembourg (also enjoyable despite the “angry man” reviews… I might elaborate on that in post).

So far this year I’ve seen shows from Canada, England, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and Wales as well as co-produced shows from England/Italy, Finland/Spain and Ireland/Belgium. Televisionly speaking, I get around. But why no French shows you might wonder?

I’m not a Francophile, and generally find American Francophiles annoying, so I let that keep me from watching French shows out of fear of being annoyed. I’m on the second season of Engrenages and happily not annoyed, quite the opposite (not to worry, I won’t become an annoying Francophile).

One nice thing about Engrenages is that has eight seasons for a total of 86 episodes, which should keep me busy for quite a while. My routine is to watch anywhere between half an episode to two episodes an evening after I step away from my desk. If I binge more than that at a time it all becomes a blur, unless I’m re-watching something for a second, third, or even fourth time. Two such shows with many episodes that I’ve binged more than once are The Sopranos (86 episodes) and Homeland (96 episodes). Both very high on my list of liked shows, and proof that I do occasionally like an American show.

But for now, I’ve got the rest of the summer, and probably a decent chunk of the fall scheduled. Rendez-vous en Septembre! Or something like that.

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