Last Night's TV: The Killing/Channel 4
Candy Bar Girls/Channel 5

I've long been of the opinion that subtitles paper over the cracks in a foreign film or television series, making it seem marginally more sophisticated than it really is. That the dialogue was incomprehensible to English-speakers in Forbrydelsen (the original Danish version of The Killing), or in the excellent French crime thriller Spiral, disguised any potential bum notes. I'm convinced this is why critical consensus favours the Swedish series of Wallander over Kenneth Branagh's, rather than any genuine gulf in class. In fact, I can assure you with some conviction that there were shonky lines in Forbrydelsen, because I happen to live with a Danish screenwriter, and she told me so. (This is not a joke.) Still, the first episode of the American remake served only to remind me of the original's considerable qualities.

Forbrydelsen, in case you missed it, depicted the investigation of a 17-year-old schoolgirl's murder. What set it apart was not simply that so much screen-time was devoted to a single case, but that the police were not its sole protagonists. An idealistic mayoral candidate with a devious entourage was dragged into the inquiry, while the study of the bereft family's raw grief gave the series an authenticity, even as the mystery plot became increasingly preposterous.

In The Killing, Copenhagen has been exchanged for Seattle, and Detective Sarah Lund – the jumper-wearing, nicotine gum-chewing antiheroine determined to track down the killer – is now Sarah Linden. The ambitious, apparently blemish-free councilman is played by Billy Campbell, formerly The Rocketeer, while the supporting cast had me spending most of the hour trying to recall which other US dramas they had appeared in: a distraction that was, of course, absent from the Danish original.

The distraction was welcome, I'm afraid, because the plot was so cringemakingly familiar. It's almost impossible to suspend disbelief when you're watching new actors play a set of characters that you've already come to know intimately, with different faces and different voices. And that effect is only amplified when it's a remake of a 20-hour television show from which you've only recently shrugged off your withdrawal symptoms, rather than a remake of some movie that you haven't seen in a decade or more. Even the musical score has been borrowed from Forbrydelsen, and deployed in identical fashion.

I did try to be objective for the benefit of Independent readers; to watch The Killing with fresh eyes. Naturally, I failed. It is made by AMC – the production house behind Mad Men and Breaking Bad – so it is well scripted, well acted and well shot. It's a smart move to have turned the 20-part original into a 13-part remake; the most glaring flaw in Forbrydelsen was its persistent need to cast suspicion onto new characters, and then concoct implausible narrative strategies to pluck suspicion from them and cast it elsewhere again. There ought to be fewer such instances in an abridged adaptation. I'm also led to believe – by American websites that I find difficult to avoid – that the story will diverge from the original, and that even the killer's identity may have changed. I shan't be watching to find out, though.

I'll confess that I came to Candy Bar Girls with a few preconceptions, too – mostly derived from the advertising campaign that preceded it. If you live in the capital and have failed to spot the profusion of billboards adorned with the word "LESBIANS" in seven-foot high pink letters, then you must be either blind or unusually impervious to titillation. The fact that this documentary about the lives of London lesbians – centering on a Soho establishment called Candy Bar – was to be broadcast on Channel Five also gave me some warning of what to expect.

Still, it struck me that there seem to be a lot more gay men on UK television that there are gay women (Coronation Street aside), and that this might, therefore, be a healthy addition to a balanced televisual diet. Unfortunately, it turns out that self-selecting lesbians, of the sort who might apply to take part in a reality TV programme, are just as insufferable as self-selecting people of any other persuasion. Sure enough, one of the participants, "Shabby", was once a Big Brother contestant, and is no less obnoxious now than I imagine she was then.

Danni, 22, was the "pole-dancing lesbian", whom men (such as, for example, the Polish builders refurbishing the bar) might well fancy, for all the good it'll do them. But she turned out to be pretty unpleasant as well, ruthlessly dumping her long-term girlfriend for the cameras, and forcing her to move out, there and then. Danni and Shabby, mercenary in their monopoly of the screen, tended to drown out the more personable members of the cast.

With my minimal knowledge of the so-called lesbian "scene", I'm unable to confirm whether Candy Bar Girls constitutes a worthy portrayal, though I suspect not. The supposed narrative driving the series forward was the relaunch of the bar under new ownership – which, claimed its promotions manager and DJ, Sandra Davenport, was "the most exciting thing to happen on the lesbian scene in the last few years, bar none." Gary, the incoming owner, was very keen to remove all traces of pink – pink wallpaper, pink lights – from the old, seedy incarnation before its grand re-opening. I presume he profoundly disapproves of Channel Five's billboards.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine