The Danish Broadcasting Corporation has been hitting it out of the park with crime series like The Killing and, now, Borgen. The dramas are complex and gory, subtitled, made with relatively low budgets and yet have gone on to enjoy international success. OMG how do the Danes do it? A clue: it has to do with writers:
[DR's] annual income is an eighth of the BBC's, and slender resources of about £20m a year for drama mean the emphasis is on picking winners. Over the past 20 years, executives, producers and writers have refined that art to develop the classiest, most efficient drama factory in world television.You can tell. The Killing isn't perfect by any means -- the second series wanders off -- but it has a voice and a tone and a mood, which is all a story really needs for you to fall in love with it. "Trusting the writer" was once the mantra of the BBC: AMC and HBO now chant it every day. Writers, of course, knew this already but now and then a broader industry discovers it, to its profit.
The rules are straightforward. Commissioners insist on original drama dealing with issues in contemporary society: no remakes, no adaptations. The main requirement is material for the 8pm slot on Sundays, when gripping drama helps Danish audiences through the long winters. Writers have the final say. Hammerich said: "We give them a lot of space and time to develop their story. The vision of the writer is the centre of attention, we call it 'one vision' – meaning everyone works towards fulfilling this one vision, and very few executives are in a position to make final decisions. I believe this is part of the success."
Full article is here.