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Five from Finland

TV series

What’s on the telly? Finnish series, of course!Julia Bushueva

Check out what’s up on the small screen from Finland.

Streaming has elevated the once-humble TV to the forefront of global consciousness, with production values, storylines and acting reaching heights deemed unimaginable a decade ago.

This quintet of Finns is worthy of your time and attention.

What do Kate Winslet, Rosamund Pike and Jennifer Saunders have in common? They are all voicing the latest Moomins TV series released in early 2019. Local production house Gutsy Animations is behind the wheel of what is the most expensive animated series the country has ever produced.

“The Moomins are great to work with,” said Gutsy CEO Marika Makaroff. “Because work is such a big part of your life, it’s superb to be able to do something you truly believe in.”

The Nordic crime genre has proven to be of considerable intrigue internationally, with viewers tuning in to tales of murder and ill intent played out against an icily cool backdrop. Led by a detective duo, this Finnish series is brimming with requisite trauma, misguided religion and furrowed brows. Göteborg Film Festival was one of many to sit up and pay attention, tipping its hat to the series’ screenwriters.

“[W]e decided to give the award to the show that in our opinion took the most risks in storytelling and originality in character development,” Nordisk Film & TV Fond stated. “The winning series showed us a community under pressure and found new ways to deconstruct and play with the crime genre.”

For those yet to visit, the part of Finland located north of the Arctic Circle houses some of the most beguiling landscapes the country has to offer. Adding to the gently undulating fells, herds of reindeer and the mystical Northern Lights, illusionist Henri Kemppainen digs into his bag of tricks for a magical display.

“I believe we’ve hit a jackpot, content-wise,” Kemppainen enthused after the global distribution rights for the series were picked up by Hong Kong-based Lightning International.

Alright, back to business then – the Nordic crime business, that is. This local series premiered on Netflix in August 2018, following Pihla Viitala’s protagonist detective as she dived into a murder case after losing her husband.

With Netflix currently available in almost 200 countries, the release represented “the most extensive distribution of a Finnish series or film by a commercial actor to date”, we wrote.

These animated birds continue chirping, but their thought bubbles are now being translated into Arabic, after the licensing rights for the children’s series were sold to the world’s biggest Arabic-speaking channel, Al Jazeera. The five-year deal means the series can reach more than 310 million households in over 100 countries.

“It’s great that Pikkuli’s positive life attitude will delight children through Al Jazeera,” stated co-creator Metsämarja Aittakoski.

Originally published in February 2019

By: James O’Sullivan