TV review: Fortitude Season 2, Sky Atlantic (3 stars)

TV review: Fortitude Season 2, Sky Atlantic

Dennis Quaid joins Sofie Gråbøl in the second series of icy mystery Fortitude

The first season of Fortitude was frustrating. It had so much promise but became tangled in its own story threads, trying to cram in so many weird ideas and images it became overly complicated, irritating and confusing. Kudos for not settling for being just another Nordic noir clone (even though it often aped the style and even starred The Killing's Sofie Gråbøl) but the final resolution to the big mystery was unsatisfying. After a two-year break we head back to the snowy wastes of Fortitude, an isolated community on the edge of the Arctic Circle, once again attempting to bridge the gap between (ahem) The Bridge and Twin Peaks.

The blood-drenched flashback to 1942 that opens season two doesn't bode well for a more streamlined sophmore outing. However, it soon settles into its rhythm as a headless corpse is found at the side of a remote icy highway. The question moving forward is whether creator Simon Donald will resist the temptation to muddy his narrative with extraneous details and convoluted subplots or stick to a solid murder mystery.

After the extensive bodycount in season one, Dennis Quaid and Ken Stott help fill the vacancies in the depleted cast slotting in nicely alongside Gråbøl, Luke Treadaway, Sienna Guillory and Darren Boyd. Filmed primarily on location in Iceland, Fortitude still looks magnificent, emphasising the menacing natural environment and deadly whiteout snowscapes.

The season opener seems to boast a sleeker storyline (although Donald can't help throwing in a pack of dogs with their spines removed in the closing ten minutes) that builds on all the aspects that Fortitude has always excelled in: a brilliant cast trapped in a unique setting.

Fortitude Season 2 starts on Sky Atlantic, Thu 26 Jan, 9pm.

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