Catch a glimpse of the BBC's The City and the City


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I watched it. And I enjoyed it.

I posted this back when I was a few episodes in:

Having finished it, I reread the book and while the details of the plot are different, it captures the feel/concept very well, the acting, the sets, costumes, etc are top notch and overall, it’s a damn fine adaptation.


Never read the book. Watched the series. Excellent stuff. I hope it gets more widely distributed or otherwise made available. Be patient / seek it out - I do recommend it.


Yes, it’s good. Very atmospheric.


I find the idea, of someone posting a thread on boing boing asking if anyone has seen a series and enjoyed it, a pleasant change from the usual manner of the thread creator imparting a review.


I like the way it manages to combine the pseudo-Eastern European feel of the original novel with very British accents and mannerisms. Instead of feeling wrong, that odd blending actually feels faithful to the spirit of the book. I’d watch it.


I watched the first two episodes, and the ending of the second was sufficiently annoying to dissuade me from watching any more. Which may have been a mistake: I did like the grubby, Soviet bloc, eternally 1974 aesthetic of Besźel, Mandeep Dhillon’s sweary constable, and the way they presented the inability/unwillingness of the inhabitants of one city to see the other.

I was initially confused by the subplot about the lead character’s missing (dead?) wife, as I didn’t remember that from the novel, but it turns out they added that for the adaptation.


I watched the first episode and very much enjoyed it.

They’ve changed a number of things from the book, but importantly they’ve managed to create the right atmosphere of weirdness. There’s a lot in the little details, like the vaguely eastern European typography used in the posters and newspapers.

Unfortunately I got distracted by life events and by the time I came back, it had expired from BBC iPlayer. However it may come back on, with luck.


Funny, I was just telling my kids about The City and the City book yesterday. Can’t wait to watch it.


This was the first of his books that I didn’t like.
I always enjoyed the inventiveness of his previous works.
I didn’t finish it and don’t read his works any more.

It makes me a little sad.


It’s a testament to how easily we can now get most things that it’s become jarring to discover that there is a relatively well-reviewed piece of pop culture, developed by a major network, that is difficult or impossible to get (legally) and watch immediately in the U.S.

And somehow it feels entirely appropriate and in keeping with the theme of the book that “The City and The City” is such a thing.


Interesting! I had essentially the opposite response–I’d tried to read numerous other books of his and kiiinda hated them, to the point that when a friend recommended “City & City” I was very hesitant to pick it up. I loved this one and hoped that I’d enjoy his other work more, but that hasn’t been the case.


The first I didn’t like was the first I tried! I disliked ‘Perdito St Station’ but luckily forgot Mieville’s name, so when ‘Railsea’ sounded interesting, I tried it without preconception, and have liked all his other books. Even ‘Perdito…’ was okay on rereading.

There’s a common ‘feel’ to his books, but they’re otherwise rather different, so I wouldn’t let disliking ‘The City and The City’ put you off others.

The TV adaptation is pretty good so long as one remembers it’s an adaptation - certain plot changes were kind of annoying, but the presentation of the setting was good.
It also caught the allegory well: that those of us in the ‘shiny’ city choose not to see poverty, or even just people who aren’t like us, even though they’re right there.


It is available in the US on the streaming service Britbox. I just checked. I’ve been putting off watching it till I had time to binge it.


I’d say the first three are quite similar. And, though quite different, Railsea is also good.
It’s when he put away the “nasty” for a more general audience that I got tired.

I didn’t like that Michael Chabon living city thing either, Yiddish Policeman’s Union, I guess it was, though I continue to read his books.

My living city will always be Dhalgren, I guess.


Railsea is a good one to try.


I watched it back when it was on iPlayer and enjoyed it. It leaned a bit more towards ‘police procedural’ than the book, but honestly considering my first reaction when I heard about it (“how the fuck are they going to film that?”) they did a really, really good job.

Welcome to what it’s like for us in the UK. Want to watch (eg) The Expanse? Well you used to be able to get get the first two series on Netflix, but AFAIK there’s no legal way to watch the third.


YPU wasn’t a “living city” thing; it was an alternative-history detective novel. I’m trying to figure out which of Chabon’s books you might be referring to… “Summerland”, maybe?


all right, all right…
still… DAHLGREN!


I’d actually like to see Perdido Street Station as an animated series. Mieville does some interesting world creation, even if the execution isn’t perfect.