Tuesday 10 January 2017

JFA review of the TV series "Menneisyyden metsästäjät" by Jan Fast

My first general impression was that the series is well done. Very nice drone filming and exciting "mysteries" to solve for the detectorists. The filming suffers from the general low budget troubles  (low resolution and lighting problems) between the different episodes  The overall pace of the series is very slow and reflective. It was nice to hear the folklore behind the sites before the team gets to work but much of the stuff the presenter says has to be regarded as just that.. "storytelling". Sadly the last episodes of the series seem to have been done in a hurry.

The series features very nicely drawn animations to show the general areas of detecting, details about the finds and suggests how they might have been buried or used! Each episode is made up of three separate research days like in "Time Team" but almost without any archaeologists on the scene (Mikko Helminen is great in the Åland episode). The story usually goes like this... First day dissapointment, second day hope and on the third day, finally... treasure!


The team members are all personalities in themselves but sadly they are all male (during the series we find out more and more about their family backgrounds). One female in the group would in my opinion have added a lot to the series! The senior team member Reijo Hyvönen is charismatic and looks good on TV which is a great plus in the beginning, sadly his grip seems to get lost in the series after episode 4!! The landowners are all magnificient in their comments throughout the series.

Reijo Hyvönen

The sites where the detectorists work are all well known historical areas in Finland and allthough the team does not appear to detect on known protected heritage sites. the search is often done in the vicinity (only a couple of hundred meters ore more) of those protected areas (so no wonder they find lots of interesting old stuff). It´s nice that the series is realistic in the sense that it clearly shows that all the bleeps are not special. The odd finds make the series humorous, and at times, very fun to watch.

But still...  The treasures are found with suspicious ease. If this is due to skill, good luck, the area chosen. advice from the archaeologists or simpy good editing remains unclear. The handling of the unique finds as well as the "excavation techniques" are not by any means scientific which is a shame.

The tempo of the series seems to build up starting with episode 4!  In this episode we witness almost an American style frenzy among the detectorists. The difference between this episode  compared to episode one is astounding.

Sadly the quality of the series detoriates a bit after this... (or then I just started getting tired :) ) with more and more silly small talk during the dramatic search for finds and above all less respect about the ethics involved in the search and in the handling of the relics . The series also gets a bit repetetive and predictable as it nears it´s end.

The team has consulted the following experts/archaeologists Satu Koivisto, Ville Rohiola, Mikko Helminen, Frida Ehrnsten, Hanna-Maria Pellinen, Tiina Miettinen, Ilari Aalto, Sami Raninen, Kalle Luoto, Kim Krappala and Joonas Kinnunen when making the series.

If you only watch one episode out of  eight please  watch episode 3. of the series ("Åland of the Vikings"),

I give the series ***  stars out of five.

All eight episodes can be viewed here!

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