A The Bridge Community
FX (ended 2014)
There is no bridge between England and France. Although ideas have been around for a long time, the necessary materials aren’t available yet to ‘bridge’ the 50km gap. And, there’s the heavy traffic of ships, making it almost impossible to built a bridge with no risk to the ships. So, if you want to put your body exactly on the borderline between France and England, you’d have to put her on the sea bottom or in the Chunnel (channel tunnel or Eurotunnel). For a detective series based on the Danish/Swedish series Bron/Broen the second option seemed to be the better one.

The Chunnel is for trains, if you want to cross it with your car you have to put the car on the train. Trains won’t stop for bodies on the border, probably because they wouldn’t see them at all. So, beforehand I was wandering how they would pull it off, but I learned a few new things watching tonight’s pilot of the new French- English serie ‘The Tunnel’. There is a pretty big maintenance road beside the train tracks. It is two cars wide, although the cars have to be pretty small. They seem to have been purposely built for these roads.

When a maintenance guy drives his truck from France to England, he encounters a body on the borderline. The lights did not go out to cover anything up. Not needed as this maintenance truck seemed to be the only one driving on that road. A team of French (female) and a team of (male) English detectives turn up. A pretty direct French detective claims the crime, the English give in and then the body of course was a in two parts, making it a combined crime site after all. One upper half from a French MP, one bottom half from a Welsh prostitute.

The interaction between the English and French has been (let’s call it) interesting over the last millennia. They have fought so many wars, sometimes hated each other guts, therefore having very distinct opinions about each other. They also express these opinions in the pilot, partly for fun and I assume, partly to get it out of the way. The physical distance between the two countries is also bigger than in the original and US versions. I do hope that they will take that into account when progressing. You can’t get to each other in minutes. Both leads have German names, Karl Roebuck for the English detective, Elise Wassermann for the French detective. There must be a reason the writers did it, otherwise it is plain stupid.

There was no scene with the ambulance that was the basis of a lot of awkward scenes in the other versions. There was a similar scene where Karl let’s Charlotte go when she wants to meet her husband while Elise wanted to interrogate her. She complained about it to her boss, but Karl didn’t break any rule. It just seemed to be to establish that she is fond of structure and protocol. A scene with her colleagues joking about her seemed to have the same reason. Both felt a bit made up.

Karl is established as a ladies’ man. He had three woman and five children, but I cannot image him as a ladies’ man like I could with Marco (or even Martin in the original one). But, I loved his reference to the famous French comic ‘Asterix & Obelix’ about Elise: “Seriously, she fell in the magic potion, but instead of giving her strength, it took away all her social skills”. If they use more of ‘local’ references, it will make the series better.

For the female lead role they took another blonde actress that looked like the Saga in the original series. But the actress who plays Elise didn’t grab me at all. She is "socially inept", but it feels incongruent with her looks and behaviour. The biggest difference is in the eyes, they seem so very normal to me. Although she says the same sentences as her US and Danish colleague, it only makes her irritant and not a bit endearing like in the other ones. But they gave her a Porsche car like in the original. It fits her character much better than the SUV they gave her in the US version.

Talk on the internet was mildly optimistic. Those who compared it with the original and US version say they both were better. I might watch the rest, maybe to see how the interaction between the French and English enfolds. It must give it the extra we need.

PS Pardon my English/American if I made too many mistakes. As I’m Dutch it’s not my native language.
Follow this Show