Smartly written and methodically slow paced, Broadchurch oozes confidence throughout its 8 episodes rife with crime and mystery. With interesting, fleshed out characters and a compelling plot, there’s enough here to keep viewers guessing right up until the final shocking reveal.
Following the death of a young boy who’s discovered on the coastline of a quiet seaside town, Detective Miller (Olivia Colman) and Alec Hardy (David Tennant) are paired together to get to the bottom of the mystery that shrouds the town. With multiple potential suspects and a plethora of secrets among the different characters dotted through the town, Broadchurch makes for a compelling watch as the mystery slowly unravels. Ultimately, this mystery is what drives Broadchurch forward. There are multiple subplots connecting the characters with conflicting motives and complicated personas that really help flesh the show out. There’s just enough character revelations and evidence given in each episode to keep the mystery going and drive the plot forward. Thankfully, head writer Chris Chibnal does a great job of avoiding spoiling too much and when the final reveal does occur and the full events that transpired the fateful night are revealed, its satisfying enough to round out the full season and make the wait worth it.
Speaking of complicated personas, what really sets this show apart from multiple others in this bloated genre is the chemistry between the two protagonists. I’m a huge fan of both David Tennant and Olivia Colman and seeing them here together is a joy to behold. Their chemistry is incredibly well written and believable, making for a fascinating watch as the season develops.
The camera work and cinematography is really good throughout too, with some great sweeping shots of the town and a good mixture of close up and medium shots to accentuate the drama unfolding. Complete with a decent score to accompany the drama, there isn’t a lot to dislike from this show.
If there’s one downfall here, its the tendency of some of the supporting cast to overact or not quite hit the dizzying highs of some of the more talented cast. Whilst it isn’t initially obvious given the emotion and the engrossing nature of the mystery, re-watching the show and looking out for it does make it more noticeable. Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) is one of the worst culprits for this, nailing the more emotionally charged, aggressive scenes but failing to emanate enough empathy with some of the more challenging, subtle looks that come across as stifled and wooden. With such a talented cast, it can easily be overlooked but once spotted, its hard not to keep seeing it crop up.
Overall the first season of Broadchurch is a surprisingly engrossing watch. With great acting in a perfect 8 episodes of mystery and intrigue, its easy to see why this show is regarded so highly. David Tennant and Olivia Colman steal the show and their incredible chemistry together is a joy to watch unfold. The mystery itself is good and with a shocking yet satisfying ending, Broadchurch is a solid entry in the otherwise bloated crime/mystery genre. Whilst some of the acting from the supporting cast is noticeably wooden and not quite at the same level as the talented protagonists, its hard not to become wrapped up in the engrossing drama that unfolds.