Far Away, So Close: Sydney-Siders Watching Forbrydelsen, Borgen and Bron/Broen

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With its small population of 5.7 million inhabitants, its public service broadcasting dominance, and no recent history of world colonization or immigration, the near global success of Denmark’s television industry in the last decade is as unprecedented as it is impressive. Previous work on transnational media distribution and reception has repeatedly shown that non-Anglophone content rarely exports outside its geo-linguistic region due to the perception that audiences in other regions would be too far removed culturally and linguistically. Similarly, theories on the consumption of audio-visual content have tended to neglect transnational, ‘non-resident’ viewing and, instead, emphasized the importance of geo-linguistic, national or ‘resident’ viewing. How, then, do we begin to account for the success of Danish language drama around the world? Through an analysis of interviews with international audiences of three Nordic series, Forbrydelsen (The Killing), Borgen and Bron|Broen (The Bridge), this chapter argues that transnational and global media flow has given rise to an increasingly complex sense of cultural space and identity. It also suggests that contemporary audiences are continually zooming in and out between the familiar and the strange, and between the local and the global, in their engagement with transnational content. Thus, the chapter not only speaks about Danish or Nordic television but rather gives an insight into more universal transnational reception processes that are currently taking place in our post-broadcast era.
The chapter is divided into five parts. The first part introduces the scale and context of the recent boom in global exports of Danish drama series. The second part gives a short overview of various ‘local’ explanations for the success that have been put forward; i.e. explanations to do with particular production practices and strategies within Denmark and, in particular, the Danish public service broadcaster DR, which has produced or co-produced many of the globally successful Danish series. After these introductory parts, the third part presents relevant theories on transnational media reception and media geography, after which the transnational audience study, on which the chapter is based, and its methodology, is explained in part four. Finally, part five comprises the analytical results in four main findings that may aid in elaborating existing theories on transnational reception of audio-visual content
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Scandinavian Invasion : Nordic Noir and Beyond
EditorsRichard McCulloch, William Proctor
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang
Publication dateJan 2023
ISBN (Print)978-1-78874-049-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78874-051-7, 978-1-78874-050-0
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


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