TV Highlights

What was on Saturday 27th June

Cordon

BBC Four - 9pm

Who's in it?

Wouter Hendrickx, Liesa Van der Aa and various other actors with names like Norse deities starred in this epic yet somehow unimaginative new thriller.

In a nutshell

Who’d have ever thought there would be a time when subtitles would be a marker of potential popularity for TV shows? We can thank The Killing for this revolution – ever since it arrived on our shores, we’ve been suckers for European dramas, the more complex and subtitled the better. And here’s a new one: Cordon. And you know what? It may actually be the one to break the spell. Not that it’s bad, exactly. It’s perfectly fine, and that’s the problem.

The story of a disease outbreak, it follows the exact pattern of every disease outbreak drama to come before it, from Outbreak to Contagion. We had the usual trajectory of patients falling ill, huddling and coughing while experts frantically tried to work out what was happening. And it didn’t help that the characters were obvious “types” (a pregnant teenager, a tough cop, a teacher and her kids) who were painted with such broad strokes that the usual depth and subtlety of the best Euro-sagas was absent. Will the high drama be enough to reel in viewers though?

What's the verdict?

Original it ain’t, but what Cordon does have is hectic, high stakes drama. It’s the kind of thing you get swept up in, even if it doesn’t engage on any deeper emotional level. Plus, you know, subtitles. It’ll be a hit.

Star rating: 2/5

Check out Cordon now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011