Heads! We win!
Pól Ó Muirí
I admit to tuning into to TG4’s new crime/horror series, Na Cloigne (The Heads, Wed, 10.30pm), with some nervousness. I have probably lost count of the number of dramas on TG4 that have failed to pass muster over the years. I need not have worried in this case – Na Cloigne is good, very good. It is intriguing and imaginative – never a bad start – with enough plot lines of murder, family feud and jealousy to keep the show moving along but not too many to become confusing. In addition, the show’s producers have created a very credible and believable atmosphere for the enterprise. It is somewhat reminiscent in tone to the Swedish television cop series, Wallander – the original one, not the Kenneth Branagh BBC remake – with enough broodiness to make it edgy but not so much as to be clichéd.
It is certainly testament to excellence of the production that the many Ros na Rún regulars who appear are unrecognisable from the day jobs, unrecognisably in the sense that the place they now inhabit, Cloigeann, is far removed from soapy Spiddal but they do not seem out of place. The lead pairing of Siobhán O’Kelly, as artist Nuala, and Dara Devaney as DJ Seán, is very strong while the rest of the cast are equally impressive. Barry McGovern, as Superintendent Ó Sé, is both charismatic and enigmatic as he searches for the killer. (I will admit to some concern that Ó Sé might become a Morse-like poseur, given his habit of quoting Auden and Leibnitz. Hopefully, Detective Ó Giollagáin (Mike P. Ó Conaola) will be ‘Lewis’ enough to keep him in line. I do worry too about the ‘supernatural’ elements but, so far, so subtle.)
Finally, a word about the script. Brilliant. Ciarán Ó Cofaigh and Darach Ó Scolaí have a good story to tell and everyone speaks Irish – just as the French speak French and Germans speak German. The first episode contained no mongrel, half-chewed, regurgitated Gailgéarla rather the writers – Lauren Mackenzie and Darach Ó Scolaí (a prose writer of note in Irish) – have composed a modern dialect that reflects the need to talk about “relationships” but does so in Irish that is recognisably, wonderfully, native, creative and expressive.
I can pay Na Cloigne no greater complement than say that I happily look forward to episode two.