Archive for Sunday, September 9, 2012

PBS series casts a chill

September 9, 2012


Summer’s over; let’s get gloomy! Nobody does brooding and existential dread better than Sweden’s own inspector Kurt Wallander, the protagonist of many best-selling detective novels as well as “Wallander,” now in its third three-part series on “Masterpiece Mystery!” (8 p.m., Sunday, PBS, check local listings).

‘‘An Event in Autumn” begins with an apparent suicide and goes downhill from there. If the moody Kurt (Kenneth Branagh) wasn’t bummed out enough about investigating a girl’s dismembered body, his dog goes and digs up an old skeleton buried right in his own front yard! And this was the place he bought with his new lover, Vanja (Saskia Reeves) — a home where they were supposed to attempt a fresh start.

But someone who has watched or read any of Henning Mankell’s “Wallander” mysteries knows that there’s nothing new under the never-appearing sun for this dyspeptic detective.

I still find Branagh’s Kurt Wallander a tad too dynamic and impulsive compared to the miserable man on the page. I prefer the guy who falls asleep or, rather, passes out, while listening to old opera recordings, wondering why his estranged daughter never calls. The guy who feels guilty about his angry and estranged father. But fans of the grim mysteries should pounce on the three new helpings. They’re something to look forward to as the days grow shorter, bleaker and darker. Just like we like them.

• “9/11: Voices From the Air” (9 p.m. Sunday, National Geographic), recalls a tragic day.

Sunday’s other highlights

• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): An interview with the Navy SEAL author of “No Easy Day,” the controversial book about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

• “Scanning the Skies: The Discovery Channel Telescope” (6 p.m., Discovery) celebrates science at a Flagstaff, Ariz., observatory.

• The Denver Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL (7 p.m., NBC) action.

• Various talents compete for a big break on the new three-part series, “Broadway or Bust” (7 p.m., PBS).

• A two-hour nature special explores the “Great Barrier Reef” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

• Even with a broken leg, Parker discovers a new set of bad guys on “Leverage” (8 p.m., TNT).

• Cullen’s past resurfaces on “Hell on Wheels” (8 p.m., AMC).

• Corcoran ferrets out new clues about his daughter’s grim fate on “Copper” (9 p.m., BBC America).


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