What time is it? You got it—time to discuss another TV premiere! This one is a little different from the shows I have discussed/will be discussing this season. You see, this is actually a mini-series that is, from what I understand, almost an exact adaptation of the British series Broadchurch. Like, even some of the names are the same. Plus, one of the lead actors is playing the exact same character he played in Broadchurch. It’s kind of a weird situation. Anyway, let’s talk about the premiere of Fox’s Gracepoint, shall we?
What I liked:
- David Tennant as Det. Emmett Carver. It’s weird for me to see Tennant in a role like this—I’m used to seeing him in lighthearted, quirky roles (i.e. The Doctor in Doctor Who and Peter Vincent in Fright Night), but here he is a gruff, grim man who doesn’t have the charm of some of his other characters. Nonetheless, Tennant plays the character well, and the first episode hints at a checkered past that could make things very interesting.
- Anna Gunn as Det. Ellie Miller. So far, she’s a pretty likable character. She clearly cares about her job and the people of Gracepoint, and her friendship with the victim’s parents put her in a pretty tricky situation—she sympathizes, but she still has to do her job. And I want to see how her relationship with Carver goes. So far, they’re not exactly getting along since he basically stole her promotion. A rocky start, but we’ll see how it evolves.
- The setting. Gracepoint is a coastal town in northern California, so of course there are some really nice, scenic shots—particularly the opening. Also, I like the small-town aspect. The newspaper’s motto is “Celebrating the everyday.” A sign outside of a church reads “Love thy neighbor.” A billboard in town proclaims Gracepoint “America’s Last Hometown.” This all leads me to…
- The premise. This is an innocent place that has never been subjected to stuff like this, and everyone is horrified. It makes me think of The Hunt, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
- The mysteries. Yes, there’s the encompassing mystery of how Danny (Nikolas Filipovic) was killed, but several things happen in this episode raise some series questions—especially involving Ellie’s son, Tom (Jack Irvine). We’ll see how everything unfolds…
What I didn’t like:
- The slow start. Yes, we’re given a few pieces of information, but not much happens in this episode to really push the plot forward. I don’t mind a show taking its time to introduce the plot and the characters—in fact I’d prefer that rather than being thrown too much at once—but sometimes less is simply less.
- Nothing sets this show apart yet. I’m sure that will change after another episode or two (or at least I hope so), but right now it just feels like another cop drama.
- The grim, heavy atmosphere. It’s the same kind of problem I had with the first episode of The Leftovers—the feeling that the show is hindering itself with such depressing material. Depressing can be interesting. It just has to be done right.
- David Tennant’s lack of British accent. Okay, that’s an incredibly superficial point, but yeah. I miss it. Why can’t he have his natural Scottish accent? Or even an English accent? He just doesn’t seem right without it…
- Redoing an already solid show. I have heard so many great things about Broadchurch that part of me thinks it’s a damn shame that Fox deemed an American remake necessary. Honestly, this first episode kind of made me want to check out Broadchurch instead…Guess that’s not a good sign, huh?
The Potential: If Gracepoint kicks things up a notch, I could see potential there. It just needs to find something unique—something that sets it apart from bajillion other cop/murder shows out there right now. Even if it isn’t as good as its British counterpart (or even if it’s an entirely unnecessary remake), there are still pieces in place for it to be fairly good. If you haven’t seen Broadchurch, it might be worth a shot. If you have seen Broadchurch, it might just be an hour of déjà vu…
My Grade: B-