Næturvaktin / The Night Shift finally made it to UK television last night and it certainly seemed a little odd to see Georg, Daniel and Olafur staring back at me at a time when Family Guy, repeats of Eighties darts quiz show Bullseye (it’s an English thing) and true crime documentaries would usually dominate the screen.
Given BBC4’s weekly market share of 3.8% of the television audience, it’s no surprise that reviews of the show are somewhat thin on the ground.
An especially succinct preview courtesy of The Guardian was positive, admitting that it’s not an obvious ratings winner but that it comes to these shores with a fine reputation.
The Independent is at the time of writing the only national paper I’ve found to have run a review, albeit almost entirely negative. Admittedly, the series is a slow burner that takes a while to unfold, but Brian Viner’s review is undermined by dedicating half of his word count to his own “joke.” (Not that I spend much time frequenting petrol stations, but I would assume it’s a dig at Polish immigrants).
Away from the broadsheets, The Arts Desk’s review was equally scathing but at least much more eloquently argued. In their mind, the show’s negatives (glacial bleakness, a lack of general laughs, Georg’s unpleasantness) outweighed the positives (its strange charm, good acting and unsettling atmosphere).
As for previews, a brief interview with Ragnar Bragason featured in daily free newspaper Metro who generally have a greater than average interest in covering alternative film, music, television and comedy. Bragason discusses comparisons with The Office, the Icelandic sense of humour and the upcoming American remake.