348 of 356 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2013
I find myself eschewing American TV lately for these absorbingly realistic British series. The people in this show quickly seem real and transport you effortlessly into being part of their fictional world. In Broadchurch, the seaside town is a seemingly caring, close-knit small community. Their warmth and connection to one another is heartening, and immediately puts the viewer on notice that the murder of one the village's children will affect all who live there. The newcomer is the new DI Alec Hardy, who has taken the spot from his new assistant Ellie Miller while she was on vacation. References to a dark past make you wonder about his brusque, almost-pompous attitude, and heightens the tension between him and the close-knit police force & neighborhood he has dropped into at the start of investigating the worst crime the town has supposedly seen, the murder of an 11-year-old boy.
I enjoy how normal and non-stereotyped the British actors in this police show are, and the dialogue rings true and succinct. Also, not having visited, the scenes of this British beach town are a delight to see. I look forward to continuing to watch the investigation unfold as well as learning the deeper emotional lives of this multi-faceted program. Why can't American producers use real-looking characters instead of showing us stories populated with character "types" and starring "beautiful" people of normal sizes and shapes?
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2013
The most extraordinary story ever, written & produced by Chris Chipnall, one of the top British writers today. A Brilliant cast, featuring the cream of British actors. The best drama of the year, keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire film. The locations for this film are beautiful.
The body of a 11 year old boy is found on the beach in Dorset, England. The murder and following investigation create a chain reaction that will tear this small seaside town apart. A town wrapped in secrets, like most small towns anywhere in the world, and they become known as the investigation proceeds. The Murderer remains veiled until the final episode and a surprise and more importantly the reason.
The two investigators, DI Hardy a harden, efficient, and blunt outsider with the reputation for failure - played brilliantly by David Tennant - and DS Miller a sensitive and friendly local - played by the extraordinary Olivia Coleman. The interactions between these two is amazing - some of the best dialog and zingers - like when Miller tells Hardy "leave me alone or I will piss in a cup and throw it on you." - Or when Hardy tells Miller "I pray nightly that you will leave me alone." The remaining Cast is spectacular - you can actually feel the grief and suspicion coming from their characters. The film is well worth getting if you like great drama and great acting.
This film is 8 episodes or about 6 hours, so you don't have to watch all at once but I bet once you start watching, you won't want to stop. I purchased my DVD from Amazon.co.uk, which I got in late May of 2013 - about 9 months ahead of the American region 1 version going on sale and play on a multi-region DVD player or my computer.
105 of 111 people found the following review helpful
There is nothing I can criticize about this show...everything is terrific. Usually, I'm well aware of even minor flaws, but everything from the casting to the directing, the acting to the cinematography, is all beautifully done. The story holds the viewer from the first minute. In a peaceful little town in Britain, where it appears that nothing much ever happens and everyone knows everyone else, a young boy is murdered. Immediately, like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples spread out to engulf each person and each sector of the community. The actors have that wonderful British look: crooked teeth, wrinkles, a refreshing lack of plastic surgery and Botox, so that they look like real people and you can tell them apart. No lineup of Barbie dolls and stud muffins here! The location is just charming enough to emphasize the horror of what has occurred, and just seedy enough to emphasize that there's more to this than meets the eye. To top it off, a local newspaperman finds himself in hot water as, struggling to get assigned to a major paper, he jumps the gun with the media and a bigger player comes to town. The main protagonists - though they don't steal the scenes but blend in harmoniously - are the new lead investigator, fresh from a scandalous situation in the big city, and the local woman who expected to get his job. Since most folks are friends or relatives (the reporter is the nephew of the female investigator), it seems hard to keep a secret, yet secrets abound. The first episode, without appearing rushed or confusing, manages to bring in a host of suspicious people and events and attitudes. One of the best things about the series is that it is a closed one, i.e. you know in advance that the whole story will be wound up in 8 episodes. That keeps it tight and prevents unnecessary filler, such as the kind found in series which are open-ended. I happen to know the whole story arc, but the acting will keep me glued to the screen for the next 7 episodes. The series has not only been renewed (presumably with a different case to be solved) but American tv is developing a version of it. This is a gem!
111 of 123 people found the following review helpful
I knew within the first ten minutes that this series is one I would follow. I could feel the tension, the suspense, as mom awakens after dreaming her son was on a cliff. As the morning moves on, she discovers that her son, Danny is missing. He has not been to school, did not go to his paper boy job, and doesn't answer his phone. She soon finds out her boy has died.
DI Alec Hardy has been on the job a week in this pleasant seaside town. Crime rate is low and we learn that he has had some problem with a previous case. He is brusque but efficient. He wants everything done correctly. He is called to the beach where the body of a boy has been found.
DI Ellie Miller, played by Olivia Coleman is superb. She returns from a three week vacation to find her promotion has been given to another, DI Hardy. She is very angry and frustrated, with no time to deal with her feelings she is called to the beach where she recognizes the young man who has died. There she meets DI Hardy for the first time.
There you have it, each person has a story, and we are in for quite a ride. I keep hearing that the end is shocking. I think I know who the killer is, we will soon find out!
Highly Recommended. prisrob 08-08-13
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2013
This is a wonderful whodunit, with a seemingly endless supply of suspects, red herrings, twists and turns, and secrets to be unearthed. Most American TV shows don't bother to go this deeply into the characters - and I'm finding that I really enjoy a drama that provides me with characters that are more than cardboard cut-outs by the end. I also really enjoy that this story takes eight hours to be fully told, and doesn't simply wrap itself up in an hour or two.
Broadchurch's primary strength is in the fantastic, stellar performances of its cast: David Tennant is brilliant as a driven, PITA, haunted, and seriously ill DI Hardy; Olivia Coleman develops from a bright and bubbly DS pissed at having her promotion stolen from beneath her into a haunted and suspicious woman; and Jody Whittaker and Andrew Buchan as the murdered boy's parents key into the emotions any parent would feel in their situation - and that's just to name a few, key roles.
Another strength lies in the mechanics of storytelling at its best: making us care about the characters, whether they were main characters or supporting role only. Chibnall takes his time telling this story, and turns the spotlight of the plot on each "suspect" in turn, so that we have no cardboard cutout "villains", but rather fallible humans from which to choose our suspects. He doesn't lay all the suspects out in front of us at once, but presents each in their turn as they would have come the the attention of the police. There are red herrings galore: plot twists and subtle misdirections that paint the character involved with suspicion, deservedly or no.
And finally, there is a fantastic strength in the unflinching way the story wraps up, seeing the grief that such a small village where everybody knows everybody else's business would have to go through to begin the healing process.
All in all, this program is the reason I ended up purchasing a region-free Blu-ray/DVD player, because I absolutely HAD to have this as soon as it was available.
Give it a try. It starts slowly, so be patient - but there are hints even in the first episode of the complexity of the story that is going to unfold. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2013
I can't say too much how much I enjoyed this series. Unlike most murder dramas, this story isn't about autopsies and gunfights. It's about human nature. It's about the tragedy of the murder of a child. It's about the court of public opinion, the sinister nature of irresponsible journalism, the failures, frailties and flaws of our fellow human beings. This is 'Shakespeare writes a detective story'.
Chris Chibnall has now gone to the top of my list as a writer. It was beautifully done. In no way has he broken the cardinal rule of show, don't tell. Nor has he made the horrible mistake of creating any perfect character. All of them, from youngest to oldest, are wonderfully imperfect human beings, and with no character is this more obvious than our protagonist, DI Alec Hardy, masterfully played by David Tennant as the world-weary detective with secrets of his own and a shadowy past. He is so wonderfully written by Chibnall and executed by Tennant that we find ourselves won over by a character that on the surface is quite unlikable. Tennant's performance has, IMO, overshadowed his role in Doctor Who with this work. He has proven before that he's far more than the Tenth Doctor. With his Hardy, he made me forget about all other roles.
Olivia Colman, too, is wonderful. Her character enjoys a growth that's wonderful to behold. Colman is as good as any actress out there. I've seen her before, but with her Ellie Miller, she has captured me completely.
In fact not a single actor or actress was badly chosen. From eldest to youngest and male and female, all of them turned in sterling performances. Even the dog! I was especially pleased with Arthur Darvill. Young Adam Wilson, who played Tom Miller, was quite impressive as well.
This series is what TV should look like. This is what The Killing should have looked like. This is TV at it's finest. The story arc was magnificent, centered, not on procedurals and junk science-based CSI (actual CSI is nothing like what's shown on TV) but on the tragedy of it, and how that tragedy bled into the lives of the people of Broadchurch, itself, even the ones investigating it. The dialog was wonderful, especially the banter between Hardy and Miller, whose polar-opposite natures should have been cliche, yet were pulled off masterfully by Colman and Tennant. Hardy's subplot was simply divine. We find out why he is so world-weary, yet, in the end are still left with the mystery of him, and know he is Broadchurch's greatest mystery still. Little touches, like the 'love thy neighbor' signs add further richness and poignancy and lend the tale yet more humanity. Rich in character development, beautifully photographed, the series ended in a perfect denouement. And the best part is we are left wanting more, which is the mark of a truly great story.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
Expect no adjectives like gritty, edgy, or fast-paced here. This is crime drama stripped of the usual cliches that plague so many American productions. The look and feel of this takes me back to the very premiere of "Prime Suspect" in that it presents a trudge through a mundane English coastal town whose social rug is pulled out from under it by an unthinkable act. The local officer compromised by her proximity to the natives with whom she is closely involved, is forced to surrender jurisdiction to a tormented yet determined veteran. Ambitious reporters descend on the town as the press gets word. There is no real list of suspects to be had, only suspicions that gnaw and drive the town to paranoia. This is one of those rare mysteries that is paced like a good book. Highly recommended!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2013
I accidentally caught 10 minutes of this show on TV one night, was very intrigued, then looked it up here on Amazon. I bought the first episode, thinking "OK, if I don't like it, I don't need to buy the rest." There is more intense emotion in the first 10 minutes of this series than there is in many full length feature films! It sucked me in instantly and I find myself obsessing about the characters, their motivations, and the various mysteries behind it all. I've watched 3 episodes now, and am impatiently waiting for the next one to air. I liked David Tennant as Dr. Who, but was never as enchanted by him as an actor as many others. His performance in this series though is simply over the top fantastic! Watch it! You won't regret it!
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2013
I was drawn into this series immediately. A fan of David Tennant from his Doctor Who days, I was waiting impatiently for this series to come to this side of the pond. Olivia Colman plays a police officer, Ellie Miller who returns from vacation to find that she has been passed over for a promotion in favor of David Tennant's character Alec Hardy.
The two are called to investigate the death of a young boy, whose son is best friends with Ellie's son.
Other former Doctor Who actors include Arthur Darville,as the town vicar, and David Bradley, as a shop owner and the boy's employer.
I look forward to watching more Broadchurch!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2013
British TV has figured out how to present an engrossing series without grisly scenes of violence and sex. Not that both are not part of the storyline in Broadchurch, but rather it underlines the tension of the characters and its story. What you see is actors who know their craft and how to tell a story that is compelling and relevant. I grow tired of our American TV series that leaves nothing to the imagination and insults the intelligence of the viewer.
Amazon offered the first episode for free and after watching it - I immediately bought the series. David Tennant and Olivia Colman are brilliant as police inspectors trying to find the killer of an 11 year old boy who lived in a small English coastal town. Their character's lives intertwine into the storyline. It is TV at its best.