Paul Mullins writing great stuff about archaeology and the moving image.

Archaeology and Material Culture

Numerous movies and TV shows have cities as their backdrop, but the most compelling urban narratives feature the city as a sort of character unto itself.  Few cities are more fascinating stages than London, which is awash with iconic landmarks—Big Ben (i.e., the Elizabeth Tower) is an instantly recognizable backdrop for the city if not the UK; Tower Bridge is a commonplace framing shot for London; and double decker buses and black cabs have become aesthetic code for cinematic London.  However, BBC’s dystopian crime drama Luther paints London as a distinctively dirty and dark city, avoiding most of the exhausted symbols of the UK capital and instead imagining London as a grey, eroding, and grimy place.

The very first episode of Luther opens in the abandoned KTR Medico warehouse, which the script defines as “A DECAYED, POST-INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE.  Wasteland.”  Series creator Neil Cross acknowledges that the…

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