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[Review & Interviews] “Black Spot” season 1: A crime and fantasy television series

Dernière mise à jour : June 3rd, 2021 at 04:59 pm

Black spot of French television series

Black Spot season 1
© Jean-philippe BALTEL / EGO PRODUCTION
Not to be a slave to mystery. There is a question — what happened to Marion Steiner, the mayor’s daughter? — but it’s more like an appointment every week with the characters and other narrative lines.
— Mathieu Missoffe

Black Spot season 1 is therefore a thriller, a choral and atmospheric series with emotion, visual (Best Image Award for Christophe Nuyens at Festival des Créations Télévisuelles de Luchon 2017) and sound atmospheres and comedy. In short, all you need to satisfy any challenging series buffs.

And yet…

However, despite all these good points, Black Spot is still very far from the Nordic series, and even Belgian in view of their recent productions who in their fictional lurch assumed the progression of characters, arches and intrigues on all episodes and knew to free themself from the usual shackles of self-contained episodes. And if the first episode of Black Spot suggests the same thing, this is not the case at all.

Of course, we hear the argument of producer Vincent Moluquet that justifies this choice of self-contained episodes with the need to “focus on a familiar format for viewers so that all our daring can touch them at best” and thus allow them “to push the walls around to renew the genre”.

It is clear that the gamble of producers and French channel France 2 is daring. And it is the appetite or not of the viewers for this kind of fiction that will punish or open the door to even more daring projects.

But for us, it is clearly not the intrigues of the self-contained episodes of Black Spot season 1 — which we often guess the resolution quickly — that have seduced us. Neither their repetitive mechanics nor the fact that they do not have any link between them.

On the other hand, the atmosphere and the community thrilled us as well as the progression of the characters (flashbacks on what happened to Laurène in the forest, the shemings of the mayor and his father, the disappearance of Laura Steiner…).

Also, if season 2 there is, we sincerely hope that the progression will take advantageon the more classic self-contained episodes of crime TV series. The fact that a French TV series like Cherif has managed to insert much more soap opera in these seasons thanks to the success of the first seasons gives us hope in any case.

In short, Black Spot is a series, with its artistic quality and ambition at all levels — script, cast, direction, editing, music .. — which is clearly worth the detour, even if these closed intrigues reduce its impact.

A Black Spot season 2?

Yes. France 2 has validated the writing and shooting of Black Spot season 2. And luckily because despite our reservations on Black Spot season 1, like so many other original TV series, this one deserves to deploy its world and its characters over several seasons.

To be followed…

Interviewed at Festival des Créations Télévisuelles de Luchon 2017 on February 4 and at France Télévisions on March 16, 2017.

To learn more:

  • Black Spot season 1 has been broadcasted on French television France 2 from April 10, 2017 and  is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video since 2018
Jean-Christophe Nurbel

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