From Lauren Collins’s “Letter from Copenhagen: Danish Postmodern” (“Why are so many people fans of Scandinavian TV?”) from the January 7 New Yorker (sorry, only the summary is available to nonsubscribers):
To quote from “The Killing Handbook,” by Emma Kennedy, “A virus has swept the Great British islands, blown in on a north wind; and it has brought with it the murky Nordic noir televisual blockbusters that have gripped the nation ever since.” The reception of the shows was unexpected, even for Danes. When asked by the Guardian to account for the popularity of Danish television overseas, the actress Sidse Babett Knudsen [Danish pronunciation: ˈsisə b̥ab̥ɛd̥ ˈkʰnusn̩]—who plays Birgitte Nyborg, Denmark’s first female statsminister, on “Borgen” [Danish pronunciation: ˈb̥ɒːˀwən]—replied, “I’ve no idea, because our language is one of the most ugly and limited around. You can’t seduce anyone in Danish; it sounds like you are throwing up.”
Incidentally, I was perplexed by the verb in the earlier sentence “The BBC was, of course, drafting on the recent success of noirish northern fare such as ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’” but my wife explained to me that “draft” in this sense means to ride close behind someone to take advantage of their slipstream. That’s what I get for not following bike racing.
Addendum. Later in the piece, Collins writes “Because Denmark is small and relatively heterogeneous, DR can attempt to appeal to almost everyone.” This makes no sense unless “heterogeneous” should read “homogeneous”; what happened to the magazine’s famed high standard of editing?