Dramatic storytelling is of unrivalled importance to the overall cultural competence of the world. Dramatic, but it does! This importance is shown when we look at drama’s that have been recreated for different audiences. Thinking critically about who is saying what in each of their depictions of the characters can say a lot about what people of that nationality, ethnicity and gender feel. This is made strikingly clear when we consider the various remakes of the Sherlock Holmes series as detailed by Penny and Asher-Perrin. Their in depth discussion of the ways in which drama is focused in each of the narratives shows how this can differ across nationalities.
In fact, they’ve done so well that I’ve decided to (somewhat) go out on a similar vain, with a detailing of the different versions of, The Bridge.
Broen, The Bridge and The Tunnel are three series all made from one narrative. Two bodies are laid together, as one, across international borders. The complexity of the international borders and there respective issues are then explored throughout the different shows. Broen or the original Bridge focuses on Denmark and Sweden, which then was remade into a U.S/Mexican version which in turn got turned into a English/French version. They each explore things of national interest and in various ways yet have basically the same plot line.
However where they differ is in the unique locations that they provide and the difficulties the two protagonists have in broaching these localities. With these unique locations also comes unique audiences. This opinion piece shows quite beautifully the differences between each of them. Of particular interest is the idea that the European versions are quite “dark” in comparison to there American counterparts. This is basically something that we would call an “American Trope”. Something that is uniquely American that has been written in or out of the series to better suit this audience.
This actually happens numerous times throughout the series with reference to; Sonja and her mental state, which is given background in the US, for fear of the audience not “liking her”. In Europe this is left untouched and it is up to the viewer to deem or determine what or if she has a mental illness. The way the female lead is played and portrayed also changes in terms of importance. The Scandinavian version is uniquely female lead, with the Sonja role being the integral character, while she is interchangeable with the male lead in the others. There is also a critical element to the “prudish” nature of the sex scenes that inherently undermine Sonja’s power in picking up the man from the bar. The American need for “closure” also undermines the series 2 finale of the American version, to mine and my father’s bitter disappointment.
What all three say about drama and in particular police drama is how unequivocally localised it is. When the cultural plot or cues are visible to us when can understand and take make much more from the show. If not we often become let down or at odds with why something may have happened a certain way,
i.e, when whoever wrote the Dexter ending decided to make it the worst ending ever.