Black Spot (TV Series 2017– ) Poster

(2017– )

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Part murder mystery, part supernatural horror, part soap opera. VERY well done.
S_Soma24 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
BLACK SPOT, Season One: something for everyone

Season one of BLACK SPOT, a French murder/mystery/horror series that I watched with English subtitles, has so many plot elements to it it's difficult to imagine how anyone would fail to find something in it that appeals to them. Add to that that every technical aspect is exceptionally well done (acting, cinematography, locations, music, etc.) and what you have is a very watchable series.

A merely partial list of its plot features would include: romance, illicit affairs, corporate skulduggery, clandestine homosexuality, murder, molestation, suicide, supernatural phenomena, and the list just goes on and on. About the only thing NOT in BLACK SPOT that I can think of are space aliens and, well, there's always season two.

The setting for the series is the French town of Villefranche, located in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of a mysterious forest. The storyline picks up at an arbitrary point in time in what is already a long history of strange events in Villefranche with an anomalously high local death rate (by other than natural causes) which runs at about six times the national average. The primary characters are Laurène Weiss, the local (female) sheriff, who has the burdensome task of trying to sort out all the crap that goes on with a very small police force, and Franck Siriani, a newly arrived prosecutor who has come to see what accounts for the unusually high mortality rate.

Structurally, the series exhibits the successful combination of an overarching mystery and a collection of smaller mysteries/murders that happen on an episodic basis. In this way we have little moments of satisfaction as some smaller mystery gets wrapped up while hanging on for the long term to resolve the overarching whodunit.

It is an important characteristic about the series that virtually every character in the show has an angle they're working or something bad to hide or both. It is from this characteristic that the episodic mysteries/murders spring and will, over time, probably account for the resolution of the overarching mystery that was left hanging at the end of the first season.

Rather unusually, and extremely important to note, is the fact that both the mysterious forest and the Celtic deity or deities that inhabit it are active characters and active participants in what happens. Many reviewers have missed this point and if you do, as a viewer, the series can be quite confusing. This point is only subtly expressed within the series and you have to be paying close attention to pick it up.

Firstly, some of the characters specifically mention the fact that their old-timer relatives, who are assumed to have a few loose screws, have talked about the notion that the forest has Celtic deities in it, and that the forest has a penchant for "doing what it wants", which actively irritates some characters.

Secondly, an image from the Gundestrup Cauldron, depicting the Celtic horned god Cernunnos, actually appears in the series. We also see very vague, ethereal and out-of-focus appearances of Cernunnos occasionally throughout the series.

Thirdly, there are examples of the forest's direct participation in events. In one scene, two characters are being marched through the forest at gunpoint after having been caught peeking at some of the local toughs nefarious activities. The forest apparently takes a dim view of this as the fellow holding the gun suddenly screams and is rapidly dragged away through the forest lickety-split by something we cannot see. We later encounter what's left of the gun toting bad guy hanging up in the trees in some sort of Celtic construct.

In another scene, at the end of the first season, we see the forest, working directly with Cernunnos, literally resurrect the series primary character from the dead.

So be very clear that the supernatural element of the series is a very active, concrete participant in the show because many of the weird sounds and sights won't make any sense otherwise. The series jumps incessantly around to the different characters to see what they're up to at any given point, and creepy sounds and sights are just the forest and its deities getting their screen time in.

So, all in all, a very entertaining and engrossing series with something for everybody. Part murder mystery, part supernatural horror, part soap opera. 8/10.
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Intriguing, exciting, dark
mbs-5056118 April 2017
Danish television compiled this into 4 episodes. 4 long, but somehow just not long enough when yearning for more after each episode. Intriguing, dark, mysterious, obvious - yet not at all - leaving you with more questions than answers after each episode. I certainly recommend binging the series. Adding to all this, its filmed in a clever and mind blowing way, with gorgeous scenery. This is some of the best I've watched in a really long time. Mostly watching American or British in general (content, somewhat), this was a mind blowing- and extremely positive - surprise. It's weird, but certainly in a good way. This is actually my first review in here, created the profile as I simply had to tell everyone about how good I thought this actually is.
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Out-Lynched Lynch + S2 EDIT
paulr19785 November 2018
While I'm new to French crime tv, I'm quickly becoming schooled. I'm just afraid that if this is standard stuff, I can't imagine much else being this good, let alone better. Nevertheless, I'm afraid that the inexplicable translation from Zone Blanche to "Black Spot" (in the US) could result in missed viewers who came up with wrong programs in their searches. This was my favorite discovery of 2017.

The assortment of characters are blended into a very believable ensemble as not one single one of them plays a disposable role. Some, who seem passive throughout, turn out to be critical antagonists eventually--it's a neat trick. The combination of the fantastic fog and woods environment coupled with an overt, but not overplayed, paranormal presence gives the viewer no shortage of suspense and chills. Watch it in a dark room without distractions.

This is what early Twin Peaks was. Undoubtedly, Lynch takes no credit as inspiration for and presumably has no connection with this production but, being a number one Lynch fan for 35 years now, I think this show's creators have outdone themselves and out-Lynched David, himself. This time. 9 stars.

EDIT: Having added S2 I note the following changes. Interpersonal relationships between main characters intensify playing out mostly good. The oddball Siriani tends to gradually grow into his inevitable acceptance of life in Villefranche while Sheriff Weiss and Nonours experience turmoil and threats to their curious buddy-cop relationship. More notable is the much heavier handed treatment of the supernatural component in this season compared to S1. In S1 the ghosts were delicately treated here and there in the landscape, never overdone, but, in S2, producers have ramped the monster arc and Weiss' accompanying obsession onto center stage, which has taken time away from the single episode plots involving the very strange and entertaining curious Villefranche local folk. There is also a short mythical historic arc about first century Roman occupation of the locale intended to tie the paranormal business into current day Villefranche. This doesn't provide much. In all, I feel producers aimed to compose all the various threads to support the main arc of Weiss chasing her monster. This changed the show from an anthology with underlying connecting threads to a single long movie split into episodes. I liked season 1 better. Still, I love the characters, and hope for more from these writers.
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georgeharrison-330 January 2018
A powerhouse cast, subtle and intricate writing, and some of the best cinematography I've ever seen in anything. This show it tense and beautiful and perfect.
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Beautiful dark locations and mind-blowing plot. Great cliffhanger. Can't wait for next season! :-D
egilaf21 April 2017
This imaginative TV series proves that France could be the new Eurowood (not only because of the main "character": the forest)! ;-)

Maybe this vote should have been 10 instead of 9? It's hard to imagine, that the next season could be even better than this. But anyway: This is a great "appetizer"! Great actors, great accelerating plot, great location, superb photography! "Expect the unexpected!" Vive La France!!!

Could be some kind of French "Twin Peaks" - on speed! ;-)
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French crime shows are great and this, one of the best
a0003086411 February 2018
Firstly, how they translated "Black Spot" from "White Zone" in French is beyond me.

It's a crime show like none other you have seen. A police station in a remote French town in a dense forrest in the middle of nowhere France. Apparently, lots of crime there due to the remoteness, so they say in the show.

French film noire. Scenary is gorgeous, unspoiled etc., and, magical. Each show is completely different other than a murder (of the Mayors daughter) that is trying to be solved throughout the episodes.

No point in trying to describe this show other than it is weird but in a great way. The cast is just lovely in this, they really match well with the location. You best just watch it and after an episode or two, you will be completely hooked as I was.

Some of the other reviews do a decent job trying to explain this show but fall short, as this review does. JUST WATCH IT and you will thank me.
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Promising Start Devolves into Incoherence
crgrey20 March 2018
The first 3-4 episodes of this show are good, but before we get halfway into the season the plot gets bogged down in needless complexity. Storylines that seemed important now dwindle into nothing, to be replaced by new storylines that don't seem to be going anywhere. Characters suddenly appear for no reason at all. And the biggest weakness is the sheer implausibility of the situations and character motivations. The result is a hot mess, a series that can't seem to figure out what it wants to be - a dark crime drama? A horror/monster series? It's hard to tell. Kudos for the high production values and creepy atmosphere, but spooky synth music and chittering monster noises can't make up for the absence of a coherent and logical storyline.
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Great show!
edwardhutchinson14 June 2019
This is a great show. has the same vibe as DARK. The dubbing is fantastic and the acting is really good.
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Great show
jasonalaporta1 June 2019
Another great show out of france.. great story greats actors and actresses. suspense. Beautiful scenery..if Netflix looks at these ratings they should pay attention this is what separates them from the rest and Is the only reason why I pay for Netflix is for the international shows.
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Good dark series with potential!
wotsonurmind26 March 2018
Another of the French series in the mould of Revenant,Midnight sun,etc but possibly darker. Although the darker concept does not feel as natural as a nordic noir. Something feels made -up about it but it's still a pretty decent series. It is episodic with a longer story running in the background which might suit some viewers. The set up is strangely similar to Wayward Pines but it's far superior and believable than that. An attempt is made to explain most strange things which is always welcomed unlike some where they are weird for weird's sake!! Keep up the good work!
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Re: Haven't seen the finale
martha-ballard13 June 2019
So I give it a 9 for now. I can't binge watch it, it's too conducive to bad feelings, but I love it so far. First problem though is that that plant does not at all resemble Belladonna! We'll see.... OK, I totally forgive the translation glitch about belladonna. I really liked the finale of season 1. I am digging season 2. Romans and Celts. Mythic.
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lcross-8026617 March 2018
Dark and beautiful settings. Plots inside of the major plot line. I love that! Great job fleshing out the main characters. I had no idea whodunit!
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Slow burn intriguing show
eventlaunch11 June 2019
This is a entertaining engrossing series with something for everybody drama soap opera supernatural murder mystery covering illicit affairs romance corporate skulduggery molestation suicide and more however no aliens not in series one. The beginning few episodes drag somewhat slow burns the series picks up pace around fifth episode the pay off is rewarding so can't wait for season 2
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Great thriller, drama with several unexpected twists.
cjoypark3-385-56648911 June 2019
I thought this started off a bit slow and wasn't sure about acting, but the 2nd episode was better than first and by 3rd totally hooked. Great storyline. love the forest....
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Consistently Entertaining Mystery Show
samishoward19 March 2018
Black Spot is an intriguing crime show. It's about the fictitious town of Villefranche, a small town with a big forest where the murder rate is six times the national average. A new district attorney arrives who wants to be very involved with the police investigations of these baffling crimes. The police chief has her hands full with the high crime rate and the disappearance of the mayor's daughter.

I liked how Black Spot has episodic mysteries as well as an overarching mystery that spans the whole season. All the episode-long mysteries are equally engaging. And the ongoing mystery is fascinating and full of twists and turns.

The crime solving squad is full of lovable characters. The chief of police also has a compelling mystery in her past, which is unraveled at just the right pace. There's some much needed comic relief with the police force and the district attorney. The setting of the forest is incredible and there are fantastic panoramic shots. Black Spot is very atmospheric.

Just enough is revealed in the finale to be satisfying yet they leave the door open for a second season, which is forthcoming. I'm so glad this show was available to me as an American on Amazon Prime. If you want a great crime show that will keep you guessing, this one's for you.
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Solid Show, but with some really poorly trained Detectives.
diggs-5274218 June 2019
I'm not sure they understand how to protect anyone, especially themselves. However, they are great at following the clues, most of the time. It does have a great supernatural back drop that succeeds in not swallowing up the actual crimes and character development. But again, wow, do they make some dumb fn decisions. lol " Hey lets go over into this massive creepy fn forest, where people are dropping like flies and poke around with no back up....Should I bring my gun, I don't know...maybe, maybe not." -not actual quote.
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Dark, mysterious and so good !
lubiie26 February 2018
It's a true great French TV series very compelling from the beginning to the end ! It almost makes me scared to be alone in the woods. I love the atmosphere and the characters are very well-written. Great show to watch !
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Hauntingly Beautiful
r_gate132 June 2019
An amazing show, in all of its haunting beauty, that makes you yearn for more. Everything from cinematography, amazing actors, location, writing, etc; is all top notch. Hell, even the dub work is done closer to perfection than anything foreign that I've watched prior; forgot it even was at times. You'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you passed this one up.
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Average - Poor Ending
aphillips-4305725 July 2018
My wife and I just finished the last episode of season 1. It held our attention, partly because we wanted to find out who was committing the various murders. The plot has a number of not very believable elements. For example, the town has experienced 36 unsolved murders, but many people, including the lead detective, Laurène, keep going into the woods by themselves. Laurene herself is a loner and doesn't involve her police assistants or the persecutor in her police work, wasting them as a resource. She is also not very likeable. I think we would have given this series a 7.0, but the ending of season 1 was very disappointing: many things were left unresolved. For that reason, we are giving it a 5.0. Since season 2 isn't available, I would recommend not watching this series until both seasons are available.
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Tense, binge-worthy crime/drama, with supernatural elements
libramom04229 July 2019
I have never reviewed anything before, but had to talk about this fantastic French series, available on Netflix. No fancy jargon here, just my 2 cents as a lover of good series. This show is hard to properly describe, but I'll try...and being American, I watched the French-language version, relying on subtitles. A Major in the Gendarmerie, Laurene, lives in a small village/town called Villefranche. We see that 20 years ago, she was kidnapped and chained in a place in the forest (which in itself could be a character its own). Her memories aren't quite clear, and this is the major plot of the story. I really don't want to say much more. Each case leads her closer to the truth. This series is clever, beautifully filmed, and keeps you wanting more.
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Exceeds expectations!
wedgiemom25 February 2018
Very interesting series. We were riveted! Superior to condescending American TV.
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Like a French....
MsPiiiiia23 June 2019
Version of Twin Peaks with its on quirkinesses and dark secrets. Best French series I've seen in a long time. I hope there will be a third series.
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Love this show
nonni196320 June 2019
Keeps you wanting more. I was unsure at first, but it got me good. A wonderful show. Absolutely great. I hope they continue
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these reviews seems to be bought
prosper11 June 2019
No way this is a highly rated series. yes the cinematography is great, but the plot itself is all over the place. too many subplots that don't off. sort of a ripoff of the original french series "the returned." reading the reviews and the praise they had for this series it struck me they have bought and paid for or written by an AI program. not compelling at all... in fact humdrum when compared to the great french drama series' cain, engrenages etc...
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wolves transmit mystical messages to me, but the little pink pills help
myriamlenys4 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
(Review based on viewing the whole of season 1 ; there seems to be a second season in the making.)

Interesting series, part "polar" part fantasy, with an eerie, discombobulating atmosphere ; somewhat similar, in look and feel, to Tasmania's "The Kettering Incident". The scare potential of the woods is exploited to the maximum and there are clever references to ancient legends and beliefs. Another asset : a strong but slippery and ambiguous female lead, ably played by an excellent actress.

However, there was something about the relentless darkness of the series that diminished my viewing pleasure. Here you've got a village filled to the brink with people who are involved in crime, know dangerous secrets and/or suffer from trauma. The stories and storylines drip with grief and alienation : it's nothing but fear, angst, desperation, duplicity, silence and misery. At times it's like visiting the suicide prevention section of a psychiatric institution specialised in clinical depression.

Still, the series bears watching and the underlying themes of predatory disregard for the environment are more relevant than ever. Aaaah, homo sapiens, the only creature on the face of the planet that is fully capable of destroying the planet for a quick buck.
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