Warning: This post contains spoilers, but only from the pilot episode. So basically you're safe unless you just don't want to know what the show is about in any capacity.
In case you haven't yet figured it out, I'm a tiny bit obsessed with Doctor Who. There is a three-inch vinyl TARDIS sitting on my desk at home, and I definitely own a T-shirt that says "Bowties Are Cool." So, I guess I'm that person now.
And Doctor Who is a gateway British show.
Soon enough I'm testing the waters with Sherlock, which (spoiler alert) was also amazing in a totally different way (another show you should be putting on your Netflix queue immediately). I'm not sure really what to do now since new episodes don't reach us from across the pond until next year, even though they are totally putting them out in the UK in the fall. Totally unfair, if you ask me. AMERICANS ARE PEOPLE TOO, OKAY, BBC?
Then I find out that David Tennant is starring in a new TV show, and Arthur Darvill, who played Rory in Doctor Who, is also in it. WHAT. (A lot of Doctor Who actors show up in Sherlock, or even minor characters show up as major characters later. BBC is clearly not concerned with audience confusion on that. I'm not complaining.)
SIDEBAR: I just found out this show on ITV, which is NOT the same as BBC. Are not all UK shows on BBC? This is probably why they withhold things from us.
The show is called Broadchurch, and it's a crime drama featuring David Tennant as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy. The pilot starts us off with a mysterious death of a child in a town called Broadchurch, in which they found his body on a beach early in the morning.
DI Hardy comes in as the new guy with some possibly-questionable background (the "Sandbrook case" was mentioned subtly a few times), and definitely some issues of his own I'm sure will unfold as the show goes on.
DI Hardy rocks the 5 o'clock shadow, shaggy hair, I've-been-up-all-night-so-don't-mess-with-me vibe, which is a fun departure from Doctor Who for David Tennant. Plus he uses his regular, more Scottish accent, which helps take him away from the character I know and love and into this new one. He's brooding, serious. Straight to the point. It's easy to tell he's seen some things in his lifetime.
Second to him we have detective Ellie Miller, who used to have Hardy's job. We find out very quickly that her son was very good friends with the boy who died, Danny. Her reaction to the death is heart-wrenching and true-to-life. It seems that she will be Number 2 in this show, and I think she will great to watch.
Additionally in the cast we have Danny's parents, grandmother, and sister, who were fantastic as well, particularly Danny's mother, Beth. Her reactions were even more heart-wrenching than Ellie's.
On top of the community's dealing with Danny's strange and suspicious death, we have the media. The constant tension between respecting the family's privacy and breaking news in a town where nothing typically happens is a huge player in the pilot, keeping you locked in the whole time. A young reporter, Olly Stevens, chooses to share the name of the victim to the world via Twitter and single-handedly ruins the trust between the investigative team and the family as well as introduces the family to the world. Sure, the whole mentioning-Twitter-on-TV thing is always a bit weird for me, almost like breaking the 4th wall, but it was true to life, and I thought they did it well without over-emphasizing it. I was literally yelling at the TV. YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS, OLLY. DON'T DO IT. UGH. YOU DID IT? YOU ARE THE WORST EVER OF ALL TIME.
Overall I thought the storyline was intriguing without being graphic, which I appreciate, and definitely compelling. The show very subtly opened up so many possible routes for suspects--it could literally be anyone in such a close-knit town--and gave very strategic but minimal details on what might have happened to Danny, so I am absolutely going to keep watching to figure it out. The best thing about this show so far, to me, is how true-to-life it seems. That's what makes it so heart-wrenching and fascinating. Nothing is black and white, and nothing is overdone or heavy-handed. The acting seems genuine. It all feels like this could really happen. Which is why my heart was beating about 40 percent faster after the episode ended.
I prescribe an episode of Parks and Rec in between watching this show and sleeping. At least for those of you who, like me, watch very few dramas.
David Tennant is fantastic in his new role. He's definitely not The Doctor, but he's perfect as DI Hardy. Though I would probably watch that guy play any role. Even a mini-series about Barty Crouch, Jr. Maybe.
Other fun casting choices in this episode included seeing Filch (of Harry Potter fame) as the man in charge of Danny's paper route and seeing Arthur Darvill play a priest of some sort.
All available episodes are on iTunes, and the first one is FREE, y'all. So go try it out and report back.
Have you tried Broadchurch yet? What did you think? If not, will you?