TV review: The Tunnel: Sabotage, Sky Atlantic
UK / French remake of The Bridge tells its own story in season two
The first series of The Tunnel was a British / French (sometimes shot for shot) remake of The Bridge (Bron / Broen). Series two strikes out on its own with an original story. An abduction in the Channel Tunnel leads to a plane crash as a flight is forced down in the English Channel initiating another cross border police investigation. The perfect excuse to get Karl (Games of Thrones regular Stephen Dillane) and Elise (Clémence Poésy) together again.
The Bridge was one of the finest examples of Nordic noir and it's hard not to compare the two. Even with a different distinct storyline Sabotage lifts several elements from the Swedish / Danish original (most notably themes of militant activism and Elise stumbling her way through her first serious relationship). Again it’s the rapport between the two leads that really marks out The Tunnel. Poésy in particular captures Elise's quirks and ticks. Awkward but insightful she looks at the world from a different perspective, spotting clues others would ignore. Poésy owes a huge debt to Sofia Helin but makes the part her own with a subtler, understated performance. Elise is more human and vulnerable than Saga.
It follows the Netflix model with all eight episodes instantly available on Sky Box Sets. And this kind of moreish thriller is perfect binge fodder. Unfortunately Sabotage doesn't quite stand up against its Scandinavian counterpart. It plays its cards too early. The villains are revealed in the first episode so it's more about the why rather than the who (although there are still several big secrets to uncover). There's an unnecessary subplot involving Karl's wife (Laura, played by Angel Coulby) that feels tacked on and the final episodes feel rushed as the truth spills out. We're still hoping there's a third series as Dillane and Poésy are one of the most watchable detective duos on TV.
Please note that due to recent events, episode one of The Tunnel: Sabotage has been moved to Tue 12 Apr, 9pm, with every episode available with Sky Box Sets at the same time.