Monday, 5 January 2015

Broadchurch - season 2, episode 1, ITV 1 review

Broadchurch is back. The stand-out television crime drama of 2013 returned this evening, the storyline of season 2 a secret that writer Chris Chibnall has maintained as a closely guarded secret. The first question, of course, is whether revisiting such a superb show, is a good idea. How can it live up to the standards already set? I suppose that, in this day and age (and probably in any day and age) the crucial factor was public demand. Just as fans wouldn't let Conan Doyle kill off Holmes, so people clamoured for more of Broadchurch.

Holmes was never, though , quite the same man after he returned from the Reichenbach Falls, and the need to do something fresh but equally gripping supplied Chibnall with a huge challenge. During the first few minutes of this episode, it crossed my mind that anyone who hadn't seen season 1 would probably be feeling dissatisfied. I recall watching seasoon 2 of The Killing and, to be honest, wondering what all the fuss was about. It was okay, but didn't seem to me to be remotely close to a masterpiece.I felt missing season 1 was a definite disadvantage.

Broadchurch, however, benefits from great writing, from exceptional acting, and a compelling locale. You can't go far wrong with David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, but now we have new characters thrown into the mix, most notably Charlotte Rampling, playing a senior barrister who just happens to have retired to Broadchurch. When the presumed killer from season 1 decides to plead not guilty to murder, will Charlotte agree to the parents' request for help? We can guess the answer...

There is also a new plot strand, reaching back to the last disastrous case of Tennant's character. This seems to me to be a clever development, a really good way of refreshing interest. There were moments of improbable melodrama at the end, with an exhumation attended, bizarrely, by almost all the main characters in the story. And the defence barristers' chambers seemed pretty unrealistic to me, too. But I loved the mysterious "bluebell" clue - reminscent of Francis Durbridge! All in all, the story buzzed along, and despite some reservations, I'll certainly be watching episode two.

6 comments:

classicmystery said...

My concern is where the story can go now as a mystery crime drama. I see one twist in the Sandford part and nothing convincing for the trial. Hopefully I'll be surprised...

Deb said...

We're in the process of watching the first season (thank you, Netflix)--I'd love to binge-watch all eight episodes in one day, but I promised to watch only with my husband and oldest daughter, so none of us "gets ahead" of the others. As a result, we have to wait until the stars align and we all have a free evening to catch the next installment. I find it gripping--although I want to take a razor to David Tennant's scruffy beard stubble. I can say already, though, that I will be watching season two!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I watched this and had to remind myself what had happened in the first series, but it was a bit of a struggle. and I got quite confused when I saw Eve Myles and David Tennant acting together - Torchwood meets Dr Who!

I'll be watching episode 2!

Sally Spedding said...

Do agree with you, Martin, especially re; the bluebell! And yes, it buzzed along, but we just wished the actors' were more audible. Silent Witness yesterday, was in a different league, sound-wise, so we're hoping that Broadchurch follows suit!

Spangle said...

I agree with you to an extent. At the end of the first episode, I was wondering where this is going to go. Although having said that, not knowing in which direction the new series will go, means that I'm looking forward to seeing the second episode tonight!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these very interesting comments. I've just seen episode two, and it's continuing to grip me. There are various elements in the plot that are implausible, not least in the court case. But it's well written, and at the moment I'm quite willing to suspend my disbelief.