It seems impossible to talk about Gracepoint without discussing that it’s (allegedly) an exact replica of the British series Broadchurch. I have never seen Broadchurch so I can’t speak to that, but its fair to point out that people who have seen Broadchurch are (loudly) wondering why it needed to be remade at all.
Those discussions aside, Gracepoint is telling an interesting story. In the pilot a young boy is killed and the rest of the series (a “limited event” according to FOX, which I can only assume is code for “mini-series unless it really takes off”) will focus on the investigation of who killed him and the effect it has on everyone living in the small, resort town.
Murders in small towns are a bit cliché, but they continue to garner interest because of the very nature. When you live in a town where everyone is on first name basis, a heinous crime takes on an even darker tone. Add in intense media scrutiny and you have a pressure cooker ripe for drama. You also have a damn good basis for a television show.
The strongest point in Gracepoint’s favor is its stellar cast including Oscar nominee Jackie Weaver, Emmy winner Anna Gunn and import David Tennant who is reprising his role from the British original, among many others who may be less known, but still on par. The concept of a temperamental, mysterious male, Emmett Carver (Tennant), lead is little tired, but luckily Ellie Miller (Gunn) is just as temperamental and flawed as her counterpart.
In the negatives column, Gracepoint over-relied on the use of slo-mo to create drama to the point that it got a little comical. After that it’s easy to understand why fans of Broadchurch might fear the Americanization (i.e. over-dramatizing and an overall generic feel) of their beloved show. But the performances and the otherwise strong direction should keep it from slipping too far down the network rabbit hole.
But perhaps what excites me most about Gracepoint is the genre it represents. Crime drama’s are a dime a dozen, but a non-procedural crime drama is incredibly rare on this side of the pond. Is it a little lame that America could only create a series with a singular focus by directly coping it? A little, but I’ll still take it.
Final Verdict: Definitely worth it. Or you could just binge Broadchurch, I suppose.
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