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Five reasons why the Swedish Wallander is better than the British

Five reasons why the Swedish Wallander is better than the British

One of Sweden’s most popular authors, Henning Mankell must be really pleased with his Kurt Wallander franchise. Not only have the Wallander Novels turned out to be a literary success in his native Sweden as well as abroad, but his protagonist Kurt Wallander has also found his way to the cinema screens as well as Swedish and British TV productions.

Both the British and Swedish Wallander have become hugely popular TV series and they are set in Kurt Wallander’s hometown Ystad, in the province of Skane in the south of Sweden. The series have been adapted from Henning Mankell’s best selling Kurt Wallander novels and that is where the similarities probably end for the Swedish and British productions (apart from the story lines and characters obviously!).

Although both series have been both critically acclaimed and award winning, my personal favourite must be the Swedish series because of a number of reasons:

1. As a Swede watching the British production in the UK, I can’t help but feel like its missing a whole dimension of cultural and language subtleties from the Swedish version that it doesn’t seem to be able to capture. But then again, if you’re not Swedish you probably won’t notice this and the story line is strong enough to carry you through the series without missing things like the Swedish coffee breaks (fika).

2. I’ve always preferred to watch movies in the original language with subtitles if needed. For me its somewhat surreal to watch British actors (even though they are very good and doing a fab job) in a typical small Swedish town, playing Swedish characters with names they can’t quite pronounce. For me it would have worked better if they actually moved the plot to an English speaking country. Again, if you’re not Swedish you might not pick up on this.

3. Subtitles aren’t all that bad – and if you’re trying to learn the Swedish language, the Swedish series is great to watch.

4. There are way more episodes in the Swedish production, so if you like it you’ll have more to watch.

5. The one thing that is slightly confusing about the Swedish version is that Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander looks deceptively like Horatio Caine from CSI Miami but without the sunglasses

What do you think? Do you enjoy watching the British production as much as the Swedish?

Wallander - The Books

Wallander the Movies

The Swedish Wallander Series

Series one – 13 films produced in 2005 and 2006

Starring Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander, three of the films from the first series were premiered in the Swedish cinemas - Before the Frost, Mastermind, and The Secret. The rest of the films went straight to DVD release.

1. ”Innan frosten (Before the Frost)

2. “Byfånen (The Village Idiot)“”

3. “Bröderna (The Brothers)

4. “Mörkret (The Overdose aka The Darkness)

5. “Afrikanen (The African)

6. “Mastermind (Mastermind)

7. “Den svaga punkten (The Tricksters)

8. “Fotografen (The Photographer)

9. “Täckmanteln (The Container Lorry)

10. “Luftslottet (The Castle Ruins)

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11. “Blodsband (The Black King aka Bound by Blood)

12. “Jokern (The Forge aka The Joker)

13. “Hemligheten (The Secret)

Series two – 13 films shown 2009 -2010

Only the first episode of the second series was premiered in the Swedish cinema, Hämnden (The Revenge), and the remaining episodes of the series were made for television. In the UK, The BBC have aired all 26 episodes on BBC Four television.

14. “Hämnden (The Revenge)

15. “Skulden (The Guilt)

16. “Kuriren (The Courier)

17. “Tjuven (The Thief)

18. “Cellisten (The Cellist)

19. “Prästen (The Priest)

20. “Läckan (The Leak)

21. “Skytten (The Sniper)

22. “Dödsängeln (The Angel of Death)

23. “Vålnaden (The Ghost, aka The Phantom)

24. “Arvet (The Heritage)

25. “Indrivaren (The Collector, aka The Dun)

26. “Vittnet (The Witness)

The British Wallander TV Series

In the British adaptation of Mankell’s Wallander, the protagonist, Kurt Wallander, is played by Kenneth Branagh. The series has won critical acclaim, including Branagh winning the award for best actor at the 35th Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Awards (2009). Wallander was nominated for Best Drama Series but lost to The Devil’s Whore. The TV series, instead won the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series.

Wallander Series 1

  1. Sidetracked
  2. Firewall
  3. One Step Behind

Second series

  1. Faceless Killers
  2. The Man Who Smiled
  3. The Fifth Woman

Third series

  1. An Event in Autumn (TBA).
  2. The Dogs of Riga (TBA).
  3. Before the Frost (TBA).

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Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on February 17, 2012:

I must say, I've enjoyed both versions of Wallander, but must confess, for me, the Swedish series has the edge

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