This is one of my favorite TV-series of all time. I must admit it has many flaws. Part of it looks like a cheap soap opera, with the evil stepmother of course. Another part looks like a very cheap detective story. So why do I find this funny?
The series really is not so much about the world of books, but the antique bookstore is still an original choice for a business examined in a TV-series. On the other hand, the series is based on an idea by Antti Tuuri, a well respected Finnish author, and one could say he knows his subject. The antique bookstore is not very realistic, with four workers in a one-man business, but the atmosphere is what I like. The eccentric customers never buying anything, the socially incapable book specialist Holsti (Oiva Lohtander) unable to manage anywhere outside the bookstore, and the dusty old store with all walls covered with funny-smelling books... When you add loads of references to famous and not so famous books and authors, what you get is a mess, but a funny one for people who just love hanging around in antique bookstores.
Lohtander is great. He plays his basic role as a funny, harmless old man with respect to bibliophiles. He does not make his character look like a miserable person, just as a man who knows his business and takes care of it with love. Together with the salesman Wallenius (Taneli Mäkelä) they make a good pair. Although the script does not include very deep considerations of the contradiction between the financial and the humane value of literature, one can see it through the different personalities of the salesman and the bibliophile.
The main plot line is the hunt for treasure. In both parts of the series, the bookstore must be saved from bankrupt by getting an old, expensive book/script (by any means) before the other (evil) bookstore manager does. This is not a very realistic representation of the everyday life in an antique bookstore, but a possible one anyway. Althoug it has all the elements for a decent detective storyline, it just doesn't seem to work very well. A few gaps, yes, that is one problem, but the lack of excitement is the main one. Therefore, the best part of the series is the funny literature dialogue.
All the actors know their jobs, although not all of them have roles of any interest. I would really have liked a little bit less of soap opera, as now there are a couple of useless characters, like the wife and daughter of Wallenius, who really don't give much to the story. But on the other hand, this way one doesn't have to be a literature snob to watch it. A bit light altogether, but if you watch a TV-series, this is not one of the worst.
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