Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review: Broadchurch

I had planned to write a more extensive piece, but, as often happens, time got away from me, so a few words will have to do.

A month or so back I finally got around to watching Broadchurch, the brief British crime serial starring David Tennant as Detective Inspector Hardy, and Olivia Colman as Detective Sergeant Miller. Among the cast is Arthur Darvill, Doctor Who’s Rory Williams, as the pastor of a local church. The story involves the murder of an eleven-year-old boy, Danny Miller, in the seaside town of Broadchurch, where DS Miller lives. She is upset when an outsider, Hardy, is brought in to head the investigation.

Broadchurch is less about solving a crime, though they eventually get around to it, than a show about the shameful secrets in a small town - secrets that inevitably come out during a police inquiry - and the varying ways people react to a terrible crime. David Tennant, as DI Hardy, shows his amazing range as an actor. (Rory is still Rory, though.) Hardy has his own secrets, and his time to solve the crime, and perhaps atone for an earlier botched prosecution, is running short.

Everything is wrapped up in a satisfying conclusion in a mere eight episodes, though the series (minus Tennant) will return for a second season with, one assumes, a new crime. I like shows that stretch beyond the limits of a single episode but that have a definitive end. (The ABC evening soap opera Revenge and the CBS adaptation of the Stephen King novel Under the Dome are both examples of a decent concept that should have ended after a certain number of episodes but were instead extended beyond what the concept could support.) The British seem to have an easier time making these kinds of shows than do the Americans, though I suppose it remains to be seen how Broadchurch will fare in a second season.

Speaking of bad American ideas, Broadchurch is being remade for the U.S., with the show renamed Gracepoint. Tennant - with his Scottish accent? - will again star in the production, with Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn to replace Olivia Colman. I’ll likely watch it, though I do question why such a remake was necessary. It wasn’t as though Tennant needed subtitles. Well, not too often.

At any rate, this was a very enjoyable eight hours of television.

No comments: