Broadchurch: 1.02 - Review

Week two in Broadchurch, and it's fast becoming clear that this is the bastard child of The Killing and an ITV detective show. In last week's debut episode, we met the villagers of Broadchurch, detectives David Tennant and Olivia Colman, and a dead boy called Danny.

This week: it's Meet The Suspects time! Spoilers may happen, so catch the episode on ITV Player if need be.


Could a killer live in this village? Well, it's a broad church...

The problem with Broadchurch is that it's kinda half a good show. There are some nice stylistic touches, the backdrops are pretty, they've definitely hired a good cast, the mystery plotline is fine so far, and I laughed at least twice at jokes which seemed intentional. Unfortunately, the other half consists of clunky dialogue, a vague sense of unreal panto which interferes with the sense of Real Grit they want, and an odd inconsistency to the direction.

There are a lot of nice shots and cuts away to slow-mo, but the actual scenes seem very standard meat-and-potatoes drama. The Killing, clearly a massive influence on this show, and even the not-great Utopia, both managed to keep their slick visual choices going throughout the running time. On the other hand, Broadchurch goes from a glossy sequence that resembles the video for David Tennant's first single as a solo artist, straight into a really straight-on scene between Tennant's character and a suspect, with no particular flair.

David Tennant Working The Haunted Look As Ever

Speaking of Tennant, I still find his gruff detective a little off, but happily the character is having longer conversations as he gets more at ease, and Tennant suits that much better. The sequence where the psychic turns up, everyone laughs at him, and then he hits the mark on Tennant's dark past, though... yeah, nice emotional pause, but it really doesn't fit with the stark realistic tone they'd been building.

Honestly, I don't want to be too snobbish about "ITV Drama", but they do need to watch the obvious dialogue (Must every character just blurt out whatever they feel?) and needless silly foreshadowing. But y'know, I'm a third into Broadchurch now, and at least the plotting hasn't bored me yet. Now we enter the mid-section of the run, and this is where their ability to hold our interest really gets tested.

Broadchurch airs Monday at 9PM on ITV. Check it out on ITV Player. I still hope it isn't the priest.

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