I spent around half of my Memorial Day weekend absorbed in Broadchurch, and it was TIME WELL SPENT. Broadchurch follows DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman) as they investigate the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer in the peaceful seaside town of Broadchurch and bicker with one other.
IT’S VERY… SCOTTISH.
I started watching Broadchurch because Ten (also David Tennant) is my favorite Doctor and my fellow Tenth Doctor-loving Whovians kept recommending it to me. Now, I’m an unlearned American, so I don’t really know that much about the parts of England, but I do know that a complaint by many British viewers of Doctor Who was that Tennant, who’s actually Scottish, wasn’t allowed to use his real accent on Doctor Who. Well, in Broadchurch, everyone is Scottish. Literally everybody, except maybe Paul Coates (played by Arthur Darvill, also a Doctor Who alum). So much so that I had to turn on the subtitles because (1) I cannot understand British slang in the first place and (2) Scottish accents are difficult.
Yes, I am American, thanks for asking.
TENNANT IS BRILLIANT AS ALEC HARDY.
I thought I’d have trouble watching Tennant, who plays one of my favorite characters of all time, play a leading role in another show. I was mistaken. Completely. It’s quite strange going from watching happy-go-lucky Doctor Who to the intense suspense of Broadchurch, and I thought that it was weird that they’d cast Tennant as a very stoic, crotchety DI. But Tennant manages to bring to Broadchurch the same emotional depth and much-needed comic relief that he brought to Doctor Who.
OH, AND ELLIE MILLER?
She’s amazing, thanks for asking.
It’s refreshing to have a crime show center on a woman who doesn’t look like she just got ready to walk a runway in 5-inch heels. Ellie Miller is, by standard definition, “not pretty,” but the show doesn’t rely on her looks to attract viewers. She’s smart, she’ll kick your butt, and she’s not afraid to voice her discontent.
THE BEST PART, THOUGH? THE MYSTERY.
Eleven-year-old Danny Latimer is found murdered on the beach, and DI Hardy excludes no one, including the Latimer family, from suspicion. Then follows a season-long, complicated murder investigation that leads you to suspect everyone from Danny’s father to his best friend and everyone in between. Essentially, if you’re going to watch Broadchurch, earmark eight hours to watch Season 1 to keep yourself out of absolute misery.
The brilliant thing about the show, too, is that they give you all of the clues needed to solve the mystery. Unlike other shows, the detectives don’t withhold key pieces of evidence until they unveil their wonderful theory. You are perfectly capable of solving the mystery with DI Hardy and DS Miller. Can you?
AND IF THE TENTH DOCTOR, ELLIE MILLER, AND MYSTERY WEREN’T ENOUGH TO CONVINCE YOU, WATCH IT FOR THE CINEMATOGRAPHY.
I mean, the show doesn’t even have a title sequence, it just has random shots of TV-Dorset with BROADCHURCH emblazoned on it.
Conclusion: WATCH IT. What shows have you been watching recently? Do they include crime in small seaside towns and ex-Doctors?
* All images from Broadchurch and Doctor Who.