Broadchurch: Season 1 (All Episodes)
July 23, 2017 9:55 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Two detectives investigate the mysterious death of an eleven year old boy in a small seaside town.

Or, if you like, the Tenth Doctor and Prisoner Zero investigate the death of the Thirteen Doctor's son. Rory Williams and the First Doctor are persons of interest.
posted by DirtyOldTown (19 comments total)
 
I'd never actually seen this as my spouse was knee deep in postpartum depression when this came out and watching something about a sad mother with a dead kid was not going to happen.

With Jodie Whittaker now cast as the Thirteenth Doctor, we thought we'd give it a go. Whittaker is impressive, though it's hard to get any sense of how she might play The Doctor based on this as Beth Latimer is a pretty resolutely regular person and not at all analogous to a time and space hopping weirdo.

I was more impressed with Chibnall's writing here than on his episodes of Who. And there is a much more expressive touch to the cinematography than the Davies/Moffat era of Who ever had. There's a bit of an echo of this more languid, emotive style in the YouTube teaser for the new Doctor. So maybe he will be able to out his stamp on things visually.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:01 AM on July 23


In non-Whovian thoughts, I thought it was interesting, the contrast between Jack and Joe, who both did little more than hug young boys. (Well,up to the murder obviously.) The intent was presented as the point of separation. Still ruminating on that.

I am a big fan of Tennant and it was interesting to see him toss aside his normal charm and play a prickly mess of a person.

Mostly though my takeaway is the reaffirmation of something I got from Tyrannosaur... that Olivia Colman might be one of the very best actors alive.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:05 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I really liked this - I liked the pace of unfolding of plot and revelation of character.. Nothing felt too out of nowhere.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:21 AM on July 23


I love Olivia Colman in this.

I've watched a little of season two -- the writing of the second season seems lacking? The choices of the main characters seem less sensible than I'd hope and the characters just don't seem as real. This is in contrast to the first season, which was truly excellent.
posted by amtho at 11:33 AM on July 23


What was intensely frustrating about this show through the first season is that the detectives accomplish exactly *nothing*. They bumble around following red herrings every episode, and eventually the perp just turns himself in, out of impatience and boredom I imagine. It was well shot and acted, but the plot could have resolved itself entirely without the presence of the lead investigators.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:40 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


For me, the plot wasn't about "will they catch the guy", but just "who did it," "what will happen to the community," and "what will happen to the Latimer family". Those threads were satisfying.
posted by amtho at 12:34 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I agree. It was how the whole town was affected and all the characters' lives and reactions seemed very realistic and organic. However the second season was the complete antithesis of the first so, I'd be wary, Who fans.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:05 PM on July 23


And on the third hand, I was drawn in to the whole thing by watching only the latest episode of the third season, which I thought was good (drawn in by an AV Club review), so maybe the second season's writing (and/or other) problems were solved.
posted by amtho at 2:30 PM on July 23


Whittaker is impressive, though it's hard to get any sense of how she might play The Doctor

She's a good actor, but she doesn't seem to be a grab-your-attention lead actor which makes me wonder if it was good casting.

I'm not saying they COULDN'T write a Doctor that would play to her strengths. I'm not even saying I have seen enough of her work to judge her properly or anything. I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised and maybe actually watch Doctor Who again.

Broadchurch, however is just scandinoir garbage, just like The Killing, Witnesses, The Missing, Thirteen, The Fall, Top of the Lake, Fortitude, The Break, Marcella, etc., etc. — the shitty new kind of crime show that's shot prettily, well acted, has a very pretty credit sequence (though with shit music, seriously, Fortitude has the worst credits music I've ever heard), but the writing is so bad and the characters are so fucking stupid, it's soap opera level manipulation and coincidence. Everything is milked slowly for drama, especially grief, especially delicious grief, and around 2/3rds of the way through, the shitty characters resort to doing random impulsive angry things with incorrect guesses about who Done The Bad Thing We've Been Dangling Forever, because the writers have crushed the show under their awful sleazy gluttonous slurping at emotions, pretending things will have interesting outcomes, but the weight of smarmy normalcy crushes everything and they deliver only boo fucking hoo family drama plus petty fizzling-ass character reveals, all in lieu of advancement of plot, all soaked in the mushiest form of lazy bland white liberal outlook. Not whodunits, but whogivesashits full of I-don't-characters. Fuck this whole kind of show. They're all bad dogs.

Anyway those are my feelings about Broadchurch.
posted by fleacircus at 1:04 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


fleacircus, I get this, but I think perhaps this show is aimed at someone other than you. The plot may be just a semi-arbitrary structure on which to hang the family emotions and small character complexities -- those are some of the things at the heart of British theatre and acting tradition, and it may be what a huge chunk of their audience is coming to Broadchurch to get.

I'm not saying the writing and show are immune to excess, but that the mission of the show's creators and the desires of it's happiest audience are perhaps not the same as what you are looking for.
posted by amtho at 8:07 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


This made me a big Olivia Colman fan (only previous exposure was via Locke and The Lobster). Her "Don't call me 'Ellie'!" still pops into my head once in a while and it's been months since I watched.
posted by paperback version at 1:30 PM on July 24


I started this one because of my Olivia Coleman fangirling, and it did not disappoint. Second to her performance was the scenery.

Another lovely Olivia Coleman jam is Rev, where she's a busy City lawyer slightly mystified by her CoE husband, devoted to a disintegrating London parish.
posted by Jesse the K at 2:01 PM on July 24


Whittaker is impressive, though it's hard to get any sense of how she might play The Doctor based on this as Beth Latimer is a pretty resolutely regular person and not at all analogous to a time and space hopping weirdo.

Well, heck, you could say that about David Tennant's turn as D.I. Hardy as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:42 PM on July 25


I wasn't trying to limit anyone based on roles they played so far, just looking for clues on what her Doctor might be like.

Tennant's Doctor could be imagined about 70% successfully by anyone who'd seen Casanova. I'd love to see some of Whittaker's work that might let her cut loose similarly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:33 PM on July 25


I'm not saying the writing and show are immune to excess, but that the mission of the show's creators and the desires of it's happiest audience are perhaps not the same as what you are looking for.

The thing is, I love crime dramas and detective stories. These shows should be for me. I don't think it's a matter of kind, but of quality.

I think the main problem with these shows is that they are 2-hour stories stretched out to 11 hours. Then, the extra time is filled with really basic ass boring character family drama. The filler drama becomes the main course. This doesn't work well with crime dramas, IMHO, which rely more on overall plot to form something coherent.

An incoherent, stretched out plot makes the police look random and stunningly incompetent, and can give the feeling that show doesn't want to catch its killer. There's a problem of urgency when a 2-hour whodunit becomes a 10-hour slog through the human condition. Of boring humans.

I don't think it's an artistic choice for ALL these shows to be this way. I think it's a crappy formula, producing crappy stories.
posted by fleacircus at 8:49 PM on July 25


So, I just watched the first episode last night, on a whim. I liked it well enough but I knew I could go looking for spoilers so I did, so I could see if it was worth my time. When I found out who the killer was and why, I was like, "Yeah, I'm not watching the rest of this." I mean, there could have been SO MANY MORE INTERESTING choices than the one they made.

I wanted to watch a crime story/detective drama. As fleacircus puts it, I didn't want a show about the human condition.
posted by cooker girl at 10:00 AM on July 26


...2-hour stories stretched out to 11 hours. Then, the extra time is filled with really basic ass boring character family drama. The filler drama becomes the main course. This doesn't work well with crime dramas, IMHO, which rely more on overall plot to form something coherent...

Yes but! I didn't look at this as a "crime drama". I watched it as how a terrible crime affects a whole town. We saw how the family tried to cope, the police officer assigned to help awkwardly making tea. Various individuals came under suspicion, most sad was the Sea Scouts guy. The newspaper editor juggling how to report a story that involved people she knew and had to live amongst. Plus Olivia Coleman and David Tennant's bickering relationship. When the murderer was revealed, I admit I was disappointed because his character was so undeveloped but it didn't ruin the whole season in retrospect. Now the second season *was* crap and the third one, well it had some good points but the best I can say is, it was better than the second season.

OTOH I love Law & Order and still watch it when I get the chance. What I love *is* the (relative) lack of non-work/family drama in the episodes. SVU is unwatchable for that reason (plus it's just creepy).

Just curious fleacircus, what are some examples of crime dramas that you enjoy watching?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:22 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I love crime dramas and detective stories.

I would not recommend this show to someone who loves crime dramas and detective stories. I would recommend it to someone who loved "Olive Kitteridge".
posted by amtho at 8:17 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Broadchurch, however is just scandinoir garbage, just like The Killing, Witnesses, The Missing, Thirteen, The Fall, Top of the Lake, Fortitude, The Break, Marcella, etc., etc. — the shitty new kind of crime show that's shot prettily, well acted, has a very pretty credit sequence (though with shit music, seriously, Fortitude has the worst credits music I've ever heard), but the writing is so bad and the characters are so fucking stupid, it's soap opera level manipulation and coincidence. Everything is milked slowly for drama, especially grief, especially delicious grief, and around 2/3rds of the way through, the shitty characters resort to doing random impulsive angry things with incorrect guesses about who Done The Bad Thing We've Been Dangling Forever, because the writers have crushed the show under their awful sleazy gluttonous slurping at emotions, pretending things will have interesting outcomes, but the weight of smarmy normalcy crushes everything and they deliver only boo fucking hoo family drama plus petty fizzling-ass character reveals, all in lieu of advancement of plot, all soaked in the mushiest form of lazy bland white liberal outlook. Not whodunits, but whogivesashits full of I-don't-characters. Fuck this whole kind of show. They're all bad dogs.

The funny thing is that I love this kind of show, in large part for the exact reasons you describe. There is something very satisfying in having the space to tease apart more aspects of a story than could fit into a 1.5 hour movie. When it is well done (and the first season of Broadchurch is definitely well done), there is a narrative depth and richness that you do not get in other formats, like movies or shows that wrap things up each episode.

When done poorly, it's all the negatives of a soap opera with no redeeming features -- to work, it relies on good acting and good writing, both of which are often not there.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:17 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


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