Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Broadchurch” is a British television crime drama, which is currently on hiatus, having aired two seasons on iTV in the United Kingdom and on BBC America in the United States. “Gracepoint” is the American remake of the same program, and it has the same story and character types as well as the same male lead, namely David Tennant. “Gracepoint” aired on the Fox network before the show was officially canceled after one season.
What: “Broadchurch” and “Gracepoint” were both created and written by Chris Chibnall and focus, at least initially, on the death of an 11-year-old boy and the impact of grief, mutual suspicion, and media attention on the surrounding town.
When: There are conflicting reports about when the two series of Broadchurch aired; series one originally aired on iTV in Great Britain and on BBC America in the United States in 2013, while series two aired in early 2015 on both stations. Gracepoint aired as an “event series” on Fox from October 2, 2014, to December 11, 2014.
Where: In Broadchurch, the action takes place primarily in the fictional town of Broadchurch, in the county of Dorset, in the South of England, on the scenic Jurassic Coast and in surrounding areas, such as the county courthouse, though series two does travel to the fictional town of Sandbrook, as David Tennant’s character, Alec Hardy, investigates a case from his past. Gracepoint occurs primarily in a fictional town on the northern California coastline called – you guessed it – Gracepoint.
Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below! Of course, for the female members of the panel (Chief Couch Potato and moderator Kylie included), the primary reason was: David Tennant, David Tennant, David Tennant. The male members of the panel sighed with moderate contempt and resignation at this revelation. To them, we said, “Oh well!” Just look at the man, for heaven’s sake:
How – as in How Was It?
The pilot/premiere rating scale:
***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!
**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.
*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.
** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.
* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.
Broadchurch (watched by the entire panel):
Series 1: 4.5, by average of the podcast panel
Series 2: 3.7, by average of the podcast panel
Gracepoint (watched by Hilary, Kyle, and Kylie only): 2.7 on average (Kyle rated it a 2, Kylie rated it a 2.5, and Hilary rated it a 3.5).
Series one focuses on the search for the boy, Danny Latimer’s, murderer by detectives Alec Hardy (Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman). The second series primarily focuses on two plot strands: the trial of Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) and the reopening of the Sandbrook case, a case Hardy failed to properly solve, which brings him unwanted notoriety throughout the investigation of the Broadchurch murder. Tennant, Colman, and most of the cast of series one returned for series two. Gracepoint mirrors the plot of the first series of Broadchurch almost exactly, changing character names and locations, except for the Millers.
How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS
Several frequent panelists nominated Broadchurch as a candidate for CPU! podcasting purposes. The familiar voices found on this panel – namely Kristen, Nick, Krista, Hilary, Kyle, and Chief CP Kylie – are all fans of British television, including Doctor Who, and found the series recommended to them at one point or another because of that fact (and/or because of David Tennant, as noted above). All of the panelists have quite a bit to say about this stirring and intense mystery, which they see as largely successful, despite the fact that the show did not find American audiences quite as readily, at least not until the remake Gracepoint was aired on American television – and even then only marginally, as Gracepoint was canceled by Fox.
We cover Gracepoint in this podcast episode as well, even though half of us only (Hilary, Kyle, and Kylie) watched any part of it. If it’s not made clear by the above ratings, those who watched Gracepoint strongly recommend the original show, Broadchurch, over the inferior Gracepoint. Kyle and Kylie, who watched the British version first, were annoyed by the fact that Gracepoint is, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, exactly the same as Broadchurch with American actors playing American versions of the characters, except for Tennant, who plays an Americanized version of his character, accent and all. Hilary was more forgiving, as she watched Gracepoint first – and the Tennant Force is strong with her – but still cautions that Broadchurch is far better done.
Opinions fluctuate on the second season of Broadchurch, which causes some trepidation for the third season, announced to be the program’s final, which started filming in May 2016. As always, it’s a heady and deeply analytical discussion about the success of the show and the story, as well as the effects each had on each of the panelists.
This particular episode was recorded in May 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of both first and second seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we will at last be publishing the fifth and final (for now) chapter of our X-Files series, when returning panelists Nick, Sarah, Hilary, and Kyle return to discuss the six-episode revival miniseries that aired on Fox in January and February 2016. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations (Broadchurch only)
1) Will Joe Miller somehow return to Broadchurch, despite his banishment by the other residents of the town? Kylie predicts that he will try to come back and to acquit himself in the town’s eyes because he has convinced himself, on the strength of his legal defense, that he is truly innocent.
2) Series/season three is said to be focused around a sexual assault in the town. Will the perpetrator be one of the characters we already know? Or, will it be someone totally different?
Broadchurch is recommended to fans of British television generally, fans of mystery and crime procedural shows, and fans of David Tennant. Broadchurch is recommended by the panel, strongly, over Gracepoint, unless, as one panelist pointed out, you just want to watch more hours of Tennant. Broadchurch is moody, tonally dark, and extremely intense, so emotionally preparing oneself to watch this show may be necessary. The panel also universally agreed that Broadchurch Series One is better than Series Two, though both series are considered by the panel to be better than the American version of the program. In any event, the panel praised Series One highly, noting it to be a well-written, well-performed, and well-directed, self-contained mystery, while Series Two meanders more and splits focus between two plot strands, rendering the execution messier, even if the series ends on a strong note. Gracepoint is a carbon copy of Broadchurch, and the original did it all better.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
Gracepoint was officially canceled after the 2014-2015 American television season. Broadchurch is currently on hiatus but was renewed for a third and final season by Britain’s iTV, which is currently being filmed. A release date has not been announced for either iTV or BBC America. Series One and Two is available for streaming on Netflix, while Gracepoint can only be purchased or rented via services like Amazon. CPU!’s Broadchurch panel will revisit this program once season three fully airs in the United States. Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the Broadchurch podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels! And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!