TV Diary: Delusional Downtown Divas ‘Desperate Decadence: S1, Ep 1’

Premiered 9th January 2009.

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 23.20.26Delusional Downtown Divas(DDD) is Lena Dunham doing what she does best. Its a wry satirical web-series produced and directed by Dunham, starring herself and some of her closest friends. It provides a commentary of a group of young adults in New York yearning for stardom and to be a part of the art world’s inner circle, addressing topical issues and exploring the psyche of privileged children as they try to make a name for themselves.

Each 7 and a half minute episode is driven by its the quirky characters. The series has a relatively low production value, relying on long takes and the shots which at times are very shaky, with a handheld feel to them. This style is almost reminiscent of a fly on the wall documentary, the audience feels as if they are voyeurs watching intimate moments between friends. The likeness to a documentary is furthered by reverse shots that are held for longer than feels natural. Delusional Downtown Divas is reliant on dialogue rather than fancy camera shots and special effects.

Direct address is used frequently. The characters speak candidly to the camera as if they were recording a Vlog, utilising its online medium perfectly and allowing audiences to relate to the characters in the short space of time available.

The webisodes showcased Lena Dunham’s ability to effectively develop characters and story lines and caught the attention of financiers and ironically the art world. The web series is engaging and a pleasure to watch. It’s unsurprising that HBO picked up her current show ‘Girls’ as it isn’t dissimilar to Delusional Downtown Divas with its clear mumblecore influences and character driven narratives.

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TV Diary: The Bridge -‘Broen/Bron’ Ep1 S.1

Broadcast on DR1 in Denmark and SVT1 in Sweeden (Autumn 2011) BBC4 in the UK

‘The Bridge’ is a crime drama series following both the Danish and Sweedish police investigating the discovery of a body that is found in the middle of on the bridge connecting the two countries. This high concept production was the first creative collaboration between the two nordic countries.

As an audience we are unsure of what is happening at times, which is common with crime dramas. Information is fed to the viewer as it is unveiled. The two investigators, Sweedish Saga and Danish Martin could not be more different. Saga is an interesting character because she doesn’t let herself be driven by emotions, her job dictates her life. I had difficulty empathising with her, whereas Martin, who remains unfazed by Saga’s unusual behaviour and can relax after a day at work was easier to warm to. Blue filters are used in parts but this wasn’t over done as it is in some English speaking crime dramas. It had a generally realistic tone to the piece which certainly helped it feel more engaging.

The second hook of the episode came right at the end. A journalist is locked inside his car with what he things is a bomb. Christian Hillborg’s portray of the journalist is key to engaging audiences. During most of the episode not many close ups are used but in the final scene the shots are kept very close so the audience feels involved in the action. Hillborg’s fear is juxtaposed by the Swedish detective’s impassive phone call to him. Trying to squeeze any information out of him before, as she believes, he dies. Up until the final scene in the car, after it is revealed there are infact two bodies the pace is quite slow. Understandably in a first episode foundations for future subplots had to be established but it was difficult to engage with the multiple story lines. The concept is one understood internationally explaining why adaptations such as ‘The Tunnel’ and ‘The Bridge’ (USA) have been produced.