Arctic Circle Review 2018 TV-Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creators: Olli Haikka, Petja Peltomaa, Joona Tena
Stars: Iina Kuustonen, Maximilian Brückner, Pihla Viitala
Review: It is in the icy wilderness of Finland’s Ivalo, with its endless stretches of white snow and intensely bright sun, that a group of the country’s biggest production companies have joined forces to deliver a major new drama series. Kaltrina Bylykbashi reports from the set in Lapland.
Sitting in the Ravintola Huippu restaurant at the top of Kaunispää fell, the international flavour of what is set to be new drama Arctic Circle is immediately evident. Sat among the tables of production hustle and bustle are teams of Finnish, German and French nationalities all discussing their work in various languages.This mix of local and global is core to the show’s premise: primarily English language and set in a small town, Ivalo, with lead characters coming from Finland, Germany and, sometimes, other mysterious locations.
The part-crime drama, part-medical thriller follows the life of small-town cop Nina Kautsalo (Iina Kuustonen) after she discovers an abused prostitute in the wintry back country of Finnish Lapland.However, if you think that sounds like your typical Nordic noir drama, German virologist Thomas Lorenz (Maximillian Bruckner) joins Kautsalo and discovers that the young victim carries an extremely rare and lethal virus.
The duo ultimately team together to fight what looks like it will be a global threat, and it is these elements that the coproducers, Finland’s Yellow Film & TV and Germany’s Bavaria Fiction, believe sets the series apart from its progenitors.Within the coproduction, a range of European media outfits have gathered together to create the biggest Finnish budget yet on a TV series, with the show set to debut towards the end of 2018.
Joining Yellow and Bavaria are Finland’s national broadcaster YLE and its local OTT service Elisa Viidhe, who have additionally funded the show along with government tax breaks reserved specifically for the picturesque area.French distributor Lagardère – an outfit that has been seeking out quality productions from all over Europe – has also joined the fold.“We in Finland like to compare ourselves with other Scandinavian countries,” says Jarrko Hentula, a producer for Yellow.
“Unfortunately, we’ve been lagging behind their reputation and quality of their series and that has been a big pain for all the public broadcasters, but also for us as production companies. We feel we haven’t been able to produce as high quality shows as them, and that has been painful for us, but also for the broadcasting companies – and mainly YLE – because they are most interested in finding the new Bridge.
“For them, it has been a question of almost national dignity that we have to have our own international TV series. That is one of the reasons that YLE has come on board and why they want to be involved in those types of series.”Ivalo’s climate, with its ice-cold temperatures that can reach -35C, and its extreme periods of light and darkness are core to Arctic Circle’s tale. As the first drama set in the location, the production partners believe that it will be a unique point of distinction.
In the same way, the genre blend, which combines crime and medicine, alongside an emotional, character-driven plot, separates it from a typical Nordic noir or Scandi drama.“That mix of crime series and medical series, tracking the criminals on the one side and the virus on the other side, that is something new and quite unique,” says Lagardère’s director of acquisitions, Frédérik Rangé, about discovering the series. “The combination is something I felt very interested in.
“Then the project became very international with Bavaria attached; and with the different languages – even though it’s majority English. You have Finnish, Russian and various other languages, which make it varied and organic, and it makes a lot of sense in the stories.”