Fortitude: Season 1 created by Simon Donald (Fifty Fathoms Productions, Sky Atlantic, Tiger Aspect Productions)
Starring Sofie Gråbøl, Mia Jexen, Luke Treadaway, Richard Dormer, Verónica Echegui, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Nicholas Pinnock, Elizabeth Dormer-Philips, Darren Boyd, Sienna Guillory, Johnny Harris, Jessica Raine, Michael Gambon, Jessica Gunning, Stanley Tucci, and Darwin Brokenrbo.
In Search of Isolation
I’m often caught in two minds. One side of me wants to live at the heart of it all. City life means an unending conveyor belt of restaurants, concerts, and can’t-miss events. Every block offers a new city park and the concentration of human habitat allows for many friendships and communities to prosper.
But, on the other hand, there’s a draw toward solitude. The bustle of city life conjures higher levels of stress and constant activity. Sometimes, human desires point in the other direction, where fewer people and fewer activities mean more time to take a deep breath and just be.
For this reason, the settlements at the edge of civilization intrigue me. What would it feel like to live in harsh conditions with only a handful of people? What does the average day look like for those people in Alaska at the northern tip of the pipeline?
Fortitude explores the edge of civilization and what occurs when it starts to break down.
Something’s Afoot in Fortitude
Set in Arctic Norway, Fortitude tells the story of a fictional town of the same name. The settlement of a few hundred people prospers mostly due to the drilling capacity of the region, but local mayor, Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl) has a vision for the future of Fortitude when the mining dries up. This future includes tourism and an ice hotel.
The peaceful, close-knit community includes a handful of players from various locations outside of Norway. The local sheriff, Dan Andersen (Richard Dormer) doesn’t have much to do most days. A British scientist, Charlie Stoddart (Christopher Eccleston) runs an arctic research facility.
Circumstances begin to run awry as two events unfold almost simultaneously. On one end, arctic wildlife photographer Henry Tyson (Michael Gambon) discovers a polar bear mauling the live body of a visiting inspector. How this man ended up outside of town without a rifle or any protective clothing from the weather raises many questions.
Likewise, young friends Liam (Darwin Brokenbro) and Carrie (Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips) uncover a preserved mammoth carcass in the melting permafrost. This valuable discovery sickens young Liam, worrying his parents Frank (Nicholas Pinnock) and Jules (Jessica Raine). The mammoth also impassions Carrie’s father, Ronnie (Johnny Harris), to dig up the pre-historic body and try to sell it to the highest bidder.
With these developments providing a vague unease over Fortitude, a murder upends the community and brings Detective Chief Inspector Morton (Stanley Tucci) from London’s Metropolitan Police to uncover the mysteries of this community.
Equal Parts Drama, Horror, and Mystery
With equal parts in drama, horror, and mystery, Fortitude offers thrilling viewing with a gorgeous remote backdrop. The narrative unveils in a complex fashion with the disparate parts weaving together in a satisfying way toward the end of the season.
If you like Lost-style mysteries and the intriguing lonely setting of the arctic, Fortitude is a must watch.
Verdict: 4 out of 5