Scandinavian Man Invasion on TV


Anyone as obsessed with TV as I am knows that Nordic TV shows have asserted a kind of quality and dominance that has garnered well-deserved praise and attention (and the inevitable English-language – and other – remakes, as with The Killing mirroring the Danish Forbrydelsen and the Swedish/Danish production Bron spawning American/Mexican offshoot, The Bridge, and UK/French offshoot, The Tunnel).

Amidst the sea of fantastic Scandinavian television show choices, one cannot overlook the strength and ubiquity of the Scandinavian actors on English-language TV shows. TV has been taken over by Scandinavian men… I will undoubtedly forget some of them (yes there are that many!) but the most notable that spring to mind right now include some pretty startling, arresting performances:

Mads Mikkelsen (Denmark) in Hannibal

Ulrich Thomsen (Denmark) in Banshee

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Denmark) in Game of Thrones

Joel Kinnaman (Sweden/USA) in The Killing

Alexander Skarsgård (Sweden) in True Blood

Bill Skarsgård (Sweden) in Hemlock Grove

Peter Stormare (Sweden) in The Blacklist

Of note, Stormare is also starring in a series of Volvo Trucks ads (not unlike Jean-Claude Van Damme!) that champions Swedish values – see below. Stormare rules – cannot help but think of him again frequently now that there is a TV version of Fargo. He was a highlight in the film version.

Better safe than sorry!

Look at him “fika” all by himself!

Might not want to try “allemansrätten” wherever you come from (especially the USA where “stand your ground” might take precedence)

Nowhere in the world will you see as many dads with prams!

Substantial Swedish food!

Lagom! The Swedish Goldilocks complex!

Darri Ingólfsson (Iceland) in Dexter

Christopher Heyerdahl (Canada) in Hell on Wheels (honorable mention since he is not really a Norwegian but beautifully plays a Norwegian who shifts like a chameleon into different identities as it suits him but is known in the beginning as “The Swede”)


Gustaf Skarsgård (Sweden) – Vikings (Yes, there are a lot of those Skarsgårds!)

Kristofer Hivju (Norway) – Game of Thrones (Finally – a real Norwegian to add to the list!)

Advertising done right: It breaks one’s heart – Save the Children Sweden


Every day when I watch the The Daily Show and Colbert Report on the internet, I see a bunch of Swedish ads (or Comedy Central ads for mostly offensive-seeming and unfunny shows I will never watch). Since I don’t own a TV, I never actually see Swedish advertising in its “real” environment. (I won’t get started on advertising having a real place across devices – it does, but that is not my point.) I am only saying that for the most part, I escape the majority of television advertising because it is not integral to the way I consume media. Therefore, when a Swedish ad shows up in my internet broadcast, I am not annoyed since these are virtually the only times I see examples of Swedish ads. I even remarked on one in a past blog entry about an ad I liked that included farming, a farmer, a tractor, some grains, a weird pizza and a sort of intense-looking cat.

No ad, however, has affected me quite like the Save the Children/Rädda Barnen ad (and the whole campaign) using children’s stuffed animals as vehicles for connecting emotionally with the viewer. Basically the idea is “Sexual abuse happens where children should be safe” (or feel safest). The campaign achieves its aim of, as the creative agency responsible for it (Lowe Brindfors) describes, getting people “emotional and engaged”. How can you not be emotional and engaged when someone has visualized the fact that “Sexual abuse often happens where children should feel the safest. And the child’s best friend, a stuffed animal, is often present.”?

As someone who perhaps overpersonifies my lifelong (stuffed) friend, Teddy, the campaign does hit me particularly hard.