As you can no doubt tell, lately I’ve been on a bit of a TV kick. Specifically, outside of “Iron Fist,” a British TV kick. And since the final Steven Moffat-penned season of “Doctor Who” starts next month, I figured I’d further get acquainted with his soon-to-be successor, Chris Chibnall. I figured what better way to do so than by finally checking out “Broadchurch.” Now, I’ve only watched the first season of the show, hence why this is a “Current Obsession” blog.
So, what is the show about? Well, it’s a crime drama set in a seaside little town called Broadchurch. The first episode kicks things off with the death of 11 year old Danny Latimer. Once his death is ruled to be a homicide, the show delves deeper into the town’s residents and plants clues and red herrings about who committed the crime. Everybody is considered a suspect, save for the detectives working the case, local resident Ellie Miller (played by Olivia Colman) and city slicker Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant). The stakes are high, the melodrama is in full force, and the case is resolved by the eighth episode’s end.
I initially watched the first episode a year or two ago. While I did like it, I found I wasn’t in the mood for a crime drama at the time and promptly set it aside. But once I dived back in to continue Season 1, I was hooked immediately. Sure, mysteries are always fun to solve, and I liked getting to know the diverse cast of characters. But part of the draw was the setting as well. I live near a small town and have visited small waterside towns nearby, so I took to Broadchurch’s quaint aesthetic instantly. I could understand why some of the characters felt drawn in by the town, while others felt trapped. I’VE felt that way living where I do, so it made the town feel all that more interesting to me.
I was surprised by how easy to get to know the show’s large cast. Every character served a purpose, even if some got the spotlight more than others. I don’t feel like there was a bad actor in the bunch, honestly. Some of my favorite characters included local vicar Paul Coates (played by Arthur Darvill), store owner Jack Marshall (played by David Bradley), and Danny’s mom Beth (played by Jodie Whittaker). But my personal highlight of the show is the dynamic between Detectives Miller and Hardy. They have great chemistry as they learn to work with each other despite their opposing personalities. I thought Olivia Colman did a fantastic job portraying a woman who has close ties with everyone in town and is forced to attempt to be impartial despite it. And I can’t say enough good things about David Tennant. Yes, most people know him as the Tenth Doctor (and possibly Kilgrave at this point), but I equally loved his more serious and moody role here. Plus, it was great hearing his natural Scottish accent and a far cry from the shouty-ness I’d grown used to with Peter Capaldi.
If I had any gripes with this season, it’s that the writing at times felt a little too…poetic? I’m not sure if that’s the right word for it, but some of the writing seemed a little unnatural occasionally. While I liked the cinematography, I felt they relied a little too much on the use of slow-mo to make some moments feel more dramatic. Not saying it didn’t work at all, but it felt a tad overdone. And finally, I wish there had been a few more indications of who the killer turned out to be. It didn’t feel like it came out of nowhere, but it still felt like most of the other characters got more attention even though they amounted to red herrings. I suppose that could have been the point, since the show makes a statement about not trusting anyone whatsoever. I just think the execution could have been a little better.
Overall, I can see why “Broadchurch” is an appealing show to so many people. It’s got an intriguing mystery, solid characters, and a charming setting to bring everything together. At this point, I’m not sure what to expect from the next couple seasons. It’s strange to think they were allowed to continue since the story in this season was wrapped up pretty well. However, I’ll gladly revisit the show’s world and characters again. It’s just that good.