|Index||3 reviews in total|
Baantjer is a great show! (not crap at all) Every Friday night, here in the Netherlands, I watch it with my family and it's a very exciting show. The person who wrote the other review has probably never seen Baantjer because if he had, he wouldn't have called it crap! Also, it's not true that the only reason for watching Baantjer is because famous stars appear on screen every time because they never have famous people on Baantjer! Baantjer is just a great, funny and exciting Dutch show, that would never make it in the USA because it has too much Dutch culture. But that's not a reason for people to comment negatively on it! And If you ever go to the Netherlands, check it out! (You'll definitely fall in love with it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the first Dutch TV series I ever saw, and it's still one of my
favorites. The cast is great (newcomer Kirsten van Dissel is a good
replacement for Marian Mudder) and so are the scripts. Of course, not
all plots are as good, but every episode has interesting solutions,
motives and suspects to offer. What I also like about the series is the
different themes throughout the episodes. For instance, one episode
features a murder in Amsterdam's Red Light District, another focuses on
a murder case surrounding a monastery and yet another features Elvis
fans, or Wiccas. These things help to make each episode interesting to
watch. In some cases the stories rise above the series usual level of
'good', most notably two-parters such as one in which a main
characters' sister commits suicide after being suspected of murder.
Episodes like these showcase excellent writing and acting, showing that
the cast are capable of far more than their usual performances, which
are good but routine. This last thing is caused by the fact that,
two-parters aside, each episode is a separate entity and the writers
must follow a strict format in order to stay true to the books the
series is based on. While this format sometimes hinders the series (for
instance, when a confession is made before the last commercial break
you can bet your bottom euro it's a lie and the real murderer has yet
to reveal him/herself), it also helps in making it a very familiar
sight on RTL4's Friday evening, something it has been for over a decade
Of course, over the years the show has also developed some less-than-favorable characteristics. The commercialism surrounding the show is horrendous- during most episodes (even reruns!) the viewer can play an SMS game and win something by guessing the murderer before the last commercial break. Of course, there have been episodes which rendered this system useless; 2003's ''De Cock en de moord op het water'' (featuring American actor Jack Luceno as a visiting NYPD cop) had the murderer revealed ***before*** the last commercial block. I wonder how they fit the SMS game around that........
But the worst part is blatantly obvious product placement in recent seasons. Believe me, you've never seen anything like this. It peaked during the 9th (2003) season, which featured giant close-ups of coffee vending machines by the brand Nescafe, one of the series' sponsors, when the characters went to get themselves a hot cup.
Also, one thing I really hate about the series nowadays is the criminally reduced number of episodes per season. They went from the original 13 to 10 in 1999, and after 2002 it's been declining each season, leaving us with just six in the 11th (2005) season. SIX EPISODES!!! This is part of a cheapo behind-the-screens ploy to reduce costs: episodes filmed for the 9th season were aired in the 10th and so on. If this continues we'll be left with nothing.
Quality-wise the series has lost very little in steam; in fact some of the best episodes are found in later seasons. However, one element in the show that has shown decline in quality are the two-parters. The first two were some of the best I've ever seen from Baantjer, but the third was not as good. It started out just as good as the others, but had a solution which was too easy and simple in comparison to the excellent closures for the previous ones. The most recent one, written by one cast member and directed by the other, featuring a murder in a famous Amsterdam soccer arena, was the most disappointing. While it was definitely not a bad episode, the solution was too predictable and overall it felt useless as a two-parter; they could have just as easily made it a single episode.
Overall, Baantjer is an excellent series- always has been and still is-, but has suffered from commercialism and cost-cutting. Hopefully we'll get a few more seasons with a respectable number of episodes.
In what the movie 'Moord in Extase' (1984) didn't really succeed,
'Baantjer' (1995-present) succeeded with honor. The characters created
by Appie Baantjer (writer of novels about a detective named de Cock
spelled C-O-C-K and his help Vledder) became, and still are today, a
mega hit in The Netherlands, and Belgium as well. Ever since the
beginning in 1995 De Cock (Piet Römer) and Vledder (Victor Reinier) are
loved by a tremendous group of people. Weekly the show has superb
ratings, even when RTL 4 (the channel broadcasting 'Baantjer' in The
Netherlands) shows reruns!
And why? I can only guess, because there are actually no good reasons for watching it. Except maybe the guest stars. 'Baantjer' always has a few guest actors which are very famous in the Netherlands.
But other reasons for watching this crap?
Not the main cast actors, that's for sure. They all act very uninspired and bored with their roles, which I can understand very good. They have to do the same trick every episode. Yawn! Besides that there is too much product-placing in the series. So much that it would almost make the show camp. And the so-called jokes, mostly (99%) between De Cock and Buitendam (Serge-Henri Valcke), are as anti-funny as movies like Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow and worst of all, always the same. Buitendam gets angry at De Cock for no good reason and De Cock plays along with the kinda uptight Buitendam. The best reason not to see this show is the writing. Every episode is the same as the last one, there are never any surprises or interesting motives for a killing. Never a murder unsolved, yeah right. I know a lot of series have a patron every episode, but in 'Baantjer' it just doesn't work.
Every episode starts with a body found somewhere. Then De Cock and Vledder go to the crime scene (always arriving after Vera Prins, Marian Mudder), get some clues and talk to some people who could have done it or might have a clue who did it. Then there is the little 'gag' between De Cock en Buitendam, which always makes Buitendam look like a little dumb nitwit. Followed by a few short shots so we can see how pretty Amsterdam looks (By the way, if you want to see a film with interesting and nice shots of Amsterdam you should see 'Amsterdamned'). Next on the agenda is some interrogation and the visit to the local pub, with Lowietje (played by 5(!) actors already) behind the counter and the whores at the background. A few more interrogations follow and De Cock (always De Cock) has found out who did it and why.
And the final scene is always (100% always) the one where De Cock, Vledder, Prins, Keizer (played by Martin Schwab) and Mrs. De Cock are eating and summarizing the murder of that episode so childish that it looks as if they own only one human brain together.
And while typing this I realize what makes 'Baantjer' so popular. You can shut down your brain activity a whole lot and watch this mind numbing, unfunny (but with only a few percent brain activity everything is funny I guess), bad-acted, not surprising series! It's no more than mindless, simple entertainment.
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