Mysteriet på Greveholm (The Mystery of Greveholm) is a Swedish julkalender that originally aired in 1996. The series blends mystery, science fiction, fantasy, drama, romance and comedy, and, as of 2014, remains an audience and critic favorite. It is notable for using what at the time was a significant amount of CGI.
It's winter, the first day of December. A paperboy is doing his daily business; passing out the morning paper. When he arrives at an old castle, a by-passing man tells him that nobody lives there. The paperboy replies that there must be someone there, as he throws a paper inside the walls every morning and the next day it's gone. The man shrugs and says that he's decided to move away from the neighbour hood as he's had enough of all those weird things happening over at the castle. The paperboy promptly throws in the paper anyway... and is shell shocked when it suddenly levitates above the ground and flies out of his sight.
Cut to the ditzy Olsson family living in their small apartment in the city. Because of a miscalculation, the satellite that is supposed to provide Swedish television is out of orbit, which causes major noise in TVs all over the country, and the one being blamed for it is none other than the dad of the family. Tired of being ridiculed by the newspapers, the family decides to rent a house outside the city and get away from all the gossip.
However, due to a misunderstanding, the family accidentally rents the old castle named Greveholm and starts preparing for the best Christmas ever. The three children immediately start noticing strange events and spooky figures lurking the dark corridors, and they decide to investigate. And soon enough, it's revealed that there are bigger, darker secrets hidden behind the thick brick walls; some of them much more dangerous than they could ever imagine...
Like with any huge successes, merchandise was made to ride on the waves of the show's popularity. No fewer than three PC games were produced by Young Genius. A tabletop game was also made.
Mysteriet på Greveholm has been re-aired several times as half-hour episodes consisting of three short episodes edited together. The original episodes can be purchased on DVD — although only in Sweden.
In December 2012, a sequel aired as that year's Christmas Calendar and revolved around a new family moving to castle. The production team was more or less the same as before, with Dan Zetraeus (scriptwriter) and Jesper Harrie (director and co-scriptwriter) joining forces once again. Almost everybody from the old cast returned to reprise their roles, with Jean, Staffan and Leif as part of the main cast.
The characters are as follows:
- Daddy Leif: The engineering dad who is blamed for the whole satellite screw-up. He might give a somewhat childish impression, but he is actually rather competent physician and mathematician.
- Mommy Astrid: The brisk, genki and educating mother who always seem to have a new project going on. Also a bit of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer like her husband.
- Melitta: The oldest of the kids. She is a typical bored teenager who thinks living in an old, stale castle just stinks. Especially if you're scared shitless by ghost every five minutes.
- Ivar: The middle kid. He's an adventurer who spends most of his time day-dreaming of being a hero, and living in a haunted castle is the perfect set-up for an adventure, isn't it?
- Lillan: The youngest kid, but also the smartest. Like Ivar, she is greatly intrigued by the strange events in the castle, but unlike her brother, she approaches the situation with science and reason.
- Jean and Staffan: The two ghosts who LOVE scaring new inhabitants of the castle.
- Måns: The paperboy, and the first regular character we are introduced to. He bonds with Melitta pretty early on and the two of them start their own investigation about what's really going on.
- Ralf and Rolf: Two burglars who are dead-set on robbing the castle of all its supposed treasures.
Tropes used in Mysteriet på Greveholm:
- Annoying Arrows: One of them goes right through Staffan's head. But it's Only a Flesh Wound... or so he says.
- Big Bad: The Count.
- Captain Obvious: It doesn't take until the second-to-last episode for Mommy and Daddy to realize that the castle is haunted!
- Chekhov's Gun: There's two of them: a perfectly normal-looking rock (1) that can not only levitate, but also is the battery required to activate S.P.R.A.K. The robot in its turn is able to activate a spaceship that happens to be disguised as the castle's main tower (2). No wonder the Count hid them away!
- Chekhov's Gunman: S.P.R.A.K., for reasons explained above.
- Conspicuous CG: Sure, some of the CG look pretty lousy by today's standards, but one must keep in mind that the show was made 20 years ago. And to be honest, Swedish filmakers aren't exactly known for their high-quality CG...
- Cool Sword: The sword that is pierced right through Jean's body for the first half of the show. Later dubbed "Excalibur" by Ivar. Though it turns out to be completely useless against the Big Bad.
- Covert Pervert: Jean, as revealed by the sequel. As the mother is preparing to put on a historical dress she found:Staffan: Shouldn't we leave before she undresses completely?Staffan: But shouldn't we at least close our eyes?Jean: Oh, alright, if you want to. But just so you know... My eyelids are transparent.
- Cowardly Lion: The ghosts flee the castle when they know the final battle with the Count is near, but they come to their senses later on and return just in time to save the kids by taking on the Count by themselves. Earlier during this event, we also have Melitta, who just a few minutes ago ran away screaming in terror... but comes back and scolds the Count magnificently for what he's done to her siblings and the princess.
- The Dead Can Dance: Parodied in the last confrontation with the Count, in which Ivar, Lillan and Melitta together frequently hit the piano keys and chant "Dance, stupid Count, dance!" when the Count is seen falling over on the slippery floor, but it ends with an Oh, Crap! moment.
- Dem Bones: The Count is an animated skeleton. And a rare non-Mook example as well!
- Everything's Better with Princesses: As Dioda proves.
- Family Theme Naming: In the sequel, Melitta and Måns's baby son is named Cappuccino. Melitta is the name of a coffee filter brand, cappuccino is a type of coffee drink.
- Freak Out!: Jean has one when Ivar pulls the sword out of his body. Don't worry, he gets better. Same goes for Staffan when his arrow recieves the same treatment.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Lillan could be considered one in the making (if she isn't one already).
- Genre Savvy: All three Olsson siblings, to varying degrees. When they are about to make their last stand against the Count, Melitta even points out to Ivar that unlike in his comic books, things almost never go as planned. And Ivar replies that that is exactly what makes it so funny.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: There is a statuette of a naked (and flaunting it) woman in the backround in some shots.
- From the sequel, see Covert Pervert.
- Gory Discretion Shot: In the flashback episode, Jean and Staffan tries to convince the Count to let go of Dioda. We see the two of them enter a room, hear a few strangled cries and then see them walk out of the same room, now as the transparent shapes we are familiar with.
- Haunted Castle: Duh!
- HeelFace Turn: The ghosts, though they weren't exactly evil or bad peop- err, souls to begin with.
- Heroic Bastard: The sequel reveals that Jean is the Count's bastard son.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jean and Staffan, seeing as they've been inseparable, scaring people together for 200-something years. Ralf and Rolf also qualify, to some extent.
- Human Aliens: Dioda. When asked by Melitta, she also confirms the existence of Little Green Men ("But they only live on Mars").
- Alien Among Us - Dioda's true nature is hidden from the parents at first, but not for very long.
- Humanity Ensues: A subversion occurs in the final episode; Jean and Staffan aren't turned 100 % human, but thanks to make-up and a change of clothing, they are able to interact with other characters unbeknownst of their undead nature. The ghosts themselves comment on how human they feel when during so.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The first thing you notice when you see Jean and Staffan is that you know exactly what they died of.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Dioda's signature dress.
- Not to mention what was under it...
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Count pretty much greet princess Dioda by proclaiming her as his wife. When she declines, he seals her spaceship away and imprisons her with the words "I won't let you out until you marry me!".
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Jean and Staffan look exactly the same way they did when they died. That includes the weapons used to kill them.
- Jerkass: The main elf the kids are interracting with. His code name is "Happy Salmon".
- For those that aren't Swedish: "Happy as a salmon" is an expression for a generally happy and lively person.
- Kid Heroes: The three Olsson siblings (though Ivar and Melitta are technically teenagers).
- Knight in Shining Armor: Ivar often finds himself caught up in his own imaginations about being King Arthur. He does actually get to be this exact trope, as he wears a shiny, golden armor during the last stand against the Count, and he is the one to finally unlock Princess Dioda from her prison."Do not fear, Milady, for I have come to save you!"
- Leit Motif: Dioda has one in the form of an ethereal female chorus chant that can be heard whenever she makes an appearance.
- Not to mention the title music, "Greve Von Dys Menuett" ("Count Von Sludge's Menuet")
- Let's Get Dangerous!: "We can't just ignore S.P.R.A.K.!" and "We have a princess to resque!"
- The ghosts too. Twice in fact; once in the past that failed miserably and killed them both, and once in present time where they ultimately bring down the Count for good.
- Meaningful Name:
- Staffan worked as a stableman when he was alive. Incidentally, there is a Swedish song (traditionally sung during Saint Lucy's Day, on December 13) named "Staffan Stalledräng" ("Staffan Stableboy").
- The castle is named Greveholm. "Greve" means Count, the title of the main antagonist.
- The Count's full name is Count von Sludge. And his motives sure are dirty.
- Inverted with Melitta; she is named after a coffee filter, yet she is never shown drinking coffee or having any involvement with said hot drink at all. Though it should be mentioned that the name predates the coffee filters, and the filters are in fact named after the woman who invented them.
- Mr. Fanservice: Definitely Måns the paperboy. Also, girls who claim to have had their heart take a few extra beats for Jean are not uncommon either.
- Nostalgia Filter: Averted: many viewers who did not watch the show as kids are still able to enjoy it as adults.
- The '90s: Video tapes, parabolic aerials, references to Ace of Base and Red Hot Chili Peppers, cellphones the size of a brick...
- Official Couple: Melitta and Måns.
- Oh, Crap!: "We have no Plan Four!", which causes Melitta to promptly run away screaming.
- Once Upon a Time: The appropriately named flashback episode.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Jean and Staffan's powers include;
Jean: "Staffan! You were supposed to keep an eye on the kids!"Staffan: "That's easy for you to say! They went in opposite directions, it's not like I can divide in two!"Jean: "You cannot?!"Staffan: "No, because it makes my hips ache."
- Invisibility, as we frequently see them fade in and out on-screen.
- Duplication, but we only hear them talk about it.
- Subversion; Mom and Dad are seen talking about their (supposed) ability to take over people's bodies, but we never see Jean or Staffan either perform the act or mention it.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting. Thanks to this, they are able to physically enter a computer game!
- They also exude ectoplasma...
- P.O.V. Cam: A video camera is placed on S.P.R.A.K.'s head and what he sees is broadcasted live on the kids TV. This leads to Nightmare Fuel - so much that it even affects Daddy in-series!
- Precocious Crush: Ivar pretty much gets infatuated with princess Dioda the very moment Jean and Staffan tells him about her. He stumbles with his feelings, but eventually accepts the fact that they can never be together.
- Punch-Clock Villain: The ghosts. When befriending Ivar and Lillan, they are asked why they scare the inhabitants of the castle away in the first place, whereupon they just shrug and say that they don't have anything else to do. Because haunting is what ghosts are supposed to do, right? It later turns out that they have indeed been guarding the several mysteries of Greveholm, as well as preventing people from disturbing the slumbering Count. It is also implied that they did it because there was no other way for them to withstand the pain of having a sword and an arrow, respectively, stuck through their bodies.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Begone... evil... SPIRIT!"
- Punny Name: The Count's name, "Von Dy", literally means "Von Sludge", but is pronounced the same as "Fondue" in Swedish. Likely aimed at parents watching with their kids, as the kids themselves are unlikely to be aware that there is a dish called "Fondue".
- Really 700 Years Old: Dioda.
- Robot Buddy: S.P.R.A.K.
- Santa Claus: Yep, he appears too. This is essentially a Christmas show, remember?
- Second Love: Maybe, Anna for Ivar.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: PG Version. The Count, to Melitta: "Sure, I'll let go of [the princess]... if YOU marry me in her place!"
- The Beautiful Elite: Dioda is unearthly beautiful in just about every way possible. Justified since she's not a human to begin with.
- Theme Tune Cameo: The show's theme song is heard several times in-show, including when it's played on the piano by a few characters. The piano version even has a name; "Count von Sludge's Minuet".
- The Smart Girl: Lillan is definitely the brain of the family.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Staffan has ostkaka.
- Team Pet: S.P.R.A.K., despite being a highly intellectual alien robot.
- Trapped in Another World: Dioda the alien princess was inprisoned on Earth against her will.
- Treasure Map: One that leads to one of the aforementioned Chekhov's Guns.
- Vague Age: Ivar is a case of this, as his age is stated to be both 12 and 13 (both times happened in an episode that focused on his birthday!). This is most likely an accidental blunder by the production team for never realizing the slip, rather than inconsistent writing.
- Walking Spoiler: Dioda and to a lesser extent The Count.