What is the name of this TV subgenre?
April 2, 2024 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know the genre name for a TV murder mystery drama where the landscape is a character - lots of dramatic aerial shots of dramatic landscapes.

For example:
Mystery Road (2018)
True Colours (2022)
Deadloch (2023)
High Country (2024)

I started watching another one today and I was like "there has to be a name for this subgenre"
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have seen them called rural atmospheric, but I don't know if that's a genre name or just something someone called them once.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:14 AM on April 2

I don’t know what it’s called but it’s not confined to mysteries; ‘All Things Great and Small’ for sure is this.
posted by bq at 8:21 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]

I think there is a case to be made that this started with Nordic noir or Scandi noir. These days, the influence of this style has spread into many locales and languages, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]

I would think a subgenre of "gothic": "the landscapes—from foggy Victorian streets, to abandoned country houses, to whistling arctic wastelands—should be both vivid and disquieting." In the Sherlock Holmes' story the Hound of the Baskervilles, the moors feature prominently, etc. Also I just did a quick internet search and my god did a lot of student essays get written on that topic.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:47 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]

Setting and physical space are universally important to the Gothic (=horror, some detective, some thrillers, some sci-fi). Sometimes it's outdoor spaces, sometimes indoor (haunted house), but it's a pretty basic feature of the genre. The British Library has a good video overview.

As jacquilynne said, "atmosphere" is the broader name for the use of the landscape to create an emotional vibe, Gothic or not.
posted by Bardolph at 9:07 AM on April 2

I don't know of a name for it, but I wonder if it coincides with the increasing prevalence of drone shots, sometimes remarked on as an issue in recent TV/film. I don't actually mind them FWIW--they're most noticeable to me when they're in something that isn't otherwise working.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:28 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

I realize this isn't actually answering the question, but if you like this kind of thing, don't miss Broadchurch.
posted by capnsue at 9:39 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]

TVTropes has Setting as a Character.
posted by humbug at 9:50 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]

Location-based series. Also, location shooting is a major design consideration, with related expenses or cost savings. If anyone tries to shoot on your property, ask for money, they have it in their pocket ready to pay. They will trash the place.
posted by Brian B. at 10:09 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

don't miss Broadchurch

The first season only!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:18 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]

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