Broadchurch Outshines All Other Crime Dramas Again In Its Second Season

Courtesy:  eOne/itv

Courtesy: eOne/itv

British crime drama Broadchurch is one of the greatest series within its genre on television today. That is in comparison to crime dramas both overseas and in the United States. It already proved that two years ago when it first debuted two years ago overseas on the British television network itv. It built one heck of a reputation over the course of its premiere season’s run both among UK and American audiences (not counting those that watched the American re-imagining that was Gracepoint). That meant that it had some major expectations to live up to when it was announced that Broadchurch had been re-upped for a second season. UK audiences already know that the hit crime drama more than lived up to its reputation when itv aired its second season this past March and April. American audiences that didn’t have access to itv weren’t so lucky. Speaking of luck, now that its second season has officially hit store shelves here in the U.S., American audiences will get to see for themselves what the series’ UK audiences already knew. Season Two lives up to expectations first and foremost because of its writing. The writing alone will keep viewers literally on the edge of their collective seats from Season Two’s premiere right to its surprising finale. The work of the series’ cast strengthens that argument even more. The material included as bonus material with this season rounds out the reasons that Broadchurch has more than lived up to expectations in its second season. By itself, the set’s bonus material proves entertaining enough. Together with the work of the series’ writers and cast, all three elements combine to make Broadchurch’s second season just as gripping and entertaining as its first season. What’s more, all three elements come together to prove that after only two seasons, Broadchurch has proven to be one of television’s greatest crime dramas if not the best.

Broadchurch is only two seasons into its run with a third season allegedly in the works beginning this summer. Even as young as it is, it has proven in only two seasons to be one of the best of its kind. The main way that it proves this is through its writing. The most noticeable way that the writing has proven so important again is that it continues in exactly the same fashion as the series’ first season. Rather than use the season’s eight episodes this time to make eight different cases (which is what American crime dramas would have done), Broadchurch’s writers have used all eight episodes of Season Two to tell the story of the fallout from Season One. And boy is there ever fallout? D.I. Miller’s husband Joe is finally in court, facing potential punishment for the murder of the Latimers’ son in Season One. Mark and Beth’s marriage is put to the ultimate test after Mark is asked to take the stand. Ellie’s friendship with Beth Latimer is put to the test, too after revelations are made about Ellie’s confrontation with her husband at the end of Season One. Making things even more interesting is that Ellie is pulled in to a second case being investigated by Alec. It is a case that has haunted Alec for years, as he notes at one point. With so much going on, one would think it easy for the writers to let Season Two get bogged down in itself. But the writers didn’t let that happen. It is obvious over the course of Season Two’s eight episodes that the writers went to painstaking efforts to keep that from happening. Their efforts paid off in spades. At no one point do any of these story lines overpower the others. Rather the writers have surprisingly managed to balance it all with the utmost expertise. The end result is a collection of story lines that will keep viewers literally on the edge of their seats from the season premiere to the season finale.

The manner in which Broadchurch’s writers handled Season Two’s multiple story lines is just one way that this season’s writing makes its episodes so engaging. There are just enough twists, turns, and red herrings to keep viewers guessing right up to the very end. At one point, the writers leave viewers thinking that in fact maybe Mark actually could have been the killer thanks to his meetings with Ellie’s son Tom (Adam Wilson). It does seem a bit creepy to say the least. The writers also keep viewers guessing whether Lee (James D’Arcy) was responsible for the deaths of Pippa Gillespie (Hollie Burgess) and her sister, if it was Lee’s wife Claire (Eve Myles) or if it was perhaps even both of them. The ultimate reveal will leave audiences astonished. As if that isn’t enough, viewers will find themselves just as shocked when Joe Miller’s final fate is revealed. The writers went to great lengths to mislead audiences as to what would happen to Joe. And those efforts paid off greatly. To that extent, that revelation will leave viewers breathless, chomping at the bit for the series’ third season. Yet again it shows just how important the writing is to the series throughout Season Two.

The painstaking efforts of Broadchurch’s writers in the series’ second season have resulted in eight episodes that will have viewers just as rapt as the episodes that made up the series’ first season. That is because the series’ writers have so expertly balanced each of the season’s various story elements from beginning to end. In a similar vein, the work of the cast this season is just as much worth the note. Olivia Colman (D.I. Ellie Colman) is most notable of the cast members this season. That is because of the impact of the story on her character. Viewers see her really grow and change over the course of this season’s episodes. Ellie is forced to face a lot of challenges this season. She sees her friendship with Beth Latimer put to the test after she is forced to take the stand in her husband’s case. She also has the emotional strain of the case on herself. Having to balance all of that emotional stress with helping D.I. Alec Hardy (David Tennant) only makes things more difficult, especially after the surprising verdict handed down to her husband by the jury. All of the psychological and emotional stress put on Ellie breaks her down. And Colman is to be applauded for the manner in which she interpreted Ellie’s reaction to it all. She shows the impact of these stresses to the fullest without going over the top even once. Her furious reaction toward her son after he lied to protect his dad is a prime example of how expertly Colman interpreted Ellie’s emotional strain as is her reaction to the verdict as Alec talks to her about his own case. That moment is actually a moment when Tennant shines, too. His reaction to her anger actually makes for a certain amount of humor if only for that one moment. Getting back on track though, Colman’s portrayal of Ellie is just one example of how the cast’s acting has added to the enjoyment of Broadchurch’s second season. Newcomer Marianne Jean-Baptiste adds even more enjoyment as the despicable yet sympathetic defense attorney Sharon Bishop.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s portrayal of defense attorney Sharon Bishop is another example of the role that the cast’s work plays in this season’s success. It is such a fine example of the importance of the cast’s work this season because of how easily Jean-Baptise makes it to hate her character yet feel a certain amount of sympathy for her at the same time. Audiences will love to hate Sharon because of her dogged determination to discount all of the prosecution’s witnesses including Mark Latimer, D.I. Miller, and D.I. Hardy. Bishop is like an attack dog when she faces each of the prosecution’s witnesses. Once she sinks in her proverbial teeth, she does not let go. As much as this makes her easy to hate, the revelation of what has caused her to be the way she is makes her something of a sympathetic character, too. In seeing what Bishop is personally going through, audiences won’t be able to help but feel sorry for her to a point and maybe even understand why she is the way that she is in the courtroom. Such ability to make audiences feel so many mixed emotions about one character is a tribute to Jean-Baptiste’s talents. And it shows yet again why the work of the cast is just as important to the success and enjoyment of Broadchurch’s second season as the work of the series’ writers.

The work of both Broadchurch’s writers and its cast pay off greatly over the course of the episodes that make up its second season. Thanks to the work of all involved, both those that might be new to the series and those that are more familiar with it will find themselves literally on the edge of their seats from the season’s premiere to its finale. Having made their way through all eight episodes of Season Two, audiences will also take note of the material included with the set as bonuses. The standard “making of” featurette is there as is a full complement of deleted and extended scenes as well as a group of interviews with the cast. The interviews in question see the cast discussing not just the events of Season Two but also those of Season One and how they relate to Season Two. While being mostly short vignettes, the interviews still each offer their own insight and entertainment. Viewers will laugh as James D’Arcy playfully compares his character to the classic villain thanks to the way that the writers developed his character. David Tennant’s joke about sitting on the bach in his “undercrackers” will have viewers laughing just as much as his co-star. In comparison to those short segments, the deleted and extended scenes played continuously run approximately half an hour. That is a lot of material that hit the cutting room floor (or in the digital age, the recycle bin). It’s obvious why some of the material in question got the axe. Other later scenes from Episodes six, seven, and eight make for more debate, though. Some of the scenes in question could actually have been kept. Others were more of a 50/50 call. It just goes to show the impact–yet again–that bonus material can have in the enjoyment of a presentation whether it be a TV show such as Broadchurch or any random movie. It is yet another way in which Broadchurch proves to be just as gripping and entertaining in its second season as in its first if not more so. Combined with the work of the series’ writers and its cast, all three elements together show why this season of Broadchurch is another hit not just for itv and eOne, but for viewers, too. It also shows once and for all why the second season of Broadchurch is without a doubt one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-up audiences.

As one can see by now, there is a lot to say to the positive in regards to the second season of Broadchurch. The series’ writers have crafted eight more episodes that display great depth and that expertly balance every story element. The cast’s equally impressive interpretation of Season Two’s scripts will pull viewers even deeper and leave them not wanting to turn it off. The bonus material included in Season Two’s home release rounds out the presentation, adding even more depth to the season as well as some laughs. All three elements together make Season Two one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-up audiences. Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Entertainment One is available online now at:

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Broadchurch Outshines Almost All Other Crime Dramas In Its First Season

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Crime dramas are all the rage on American television. Each one of the “Big 4” has more than its fair share of gritty crime dramas. Even the cable networks are becoming overloaded with their own crime dramas. Even PBS has its own crime drama series in the forms of Endeavour and the newly resurrected series Inspector Lewis. Considering all of this, it goes without saying that fans of the crime drama genre have more than their share of shows from which to choose. The problem is that save for perhaps PBS’ Inspector Lewis and Endeavour, the majority of the crime dramas that fill the broadcast spectrum today are relatively formulaic. Now thankfully, eOne has offered American audiences a series unlike any other crime drama out there today, including those on PBS. And that is saying something. The series in question is Broadchurch. The series’ first season is available now on DVD. And this debut season of the British import is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, it is a serial. But the show’s writing more than makes up for that. That’s just the beginning of what makes this first season a hit. The use of original music at the right moments will keep viewers’ just as much on the edge of their seats from episode to episode. The same can be said of the acting on the part of the cast. This includes not just lead actors David Tennant (Dr. Who) and Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady, Hot Fuzz, Locke), but to the cast in whole. Their acting, along with the wisely used music and even smarter writing together make Broadchurch: The Complete First Season a truly surprising first impression from this British import. And it gives quite a bit of hope for the series in its second season. Audiences that give this season a chance will largely agree with that sentiment when they purchase or order the box set for themselves.

Broadchurch is not the first imported drama or even crime drama to make its way to America’s shores. The series, as a matter of fact, has been adapted for broadcast on the Fox network this fall. Before audiences even begin to watch that Americanized ripoff, they would do well to check out Season One of Broadchurch if only for the show’s writing. That is the most important factor to the success of this season. Any viewer that is the parent of a small child will agree that this season’s story hits hard because of its reality. It’s a sad reality that children die in this country (and other nations) every single day at the hands of rather sick individuals. That reality gives so much depth and believability to this season’s story. Fair warning, it’s difficult to watch and will make any parent want to hold their child even closer by the season’s final minutes. Even more so, any viewer that is left dry-eyed after watching this season’s story simply isn’t human. Even this critic will admit to tearing up quite a bit by that time.

The emotional depth and believability of the writing is just the starting point of what makes the first season of Broadchurch such a surprise of a series. Audiences will appreciate just as much the twists and turns that are included over the course of this season. They are just enough that they will keep viewers watching on the proverbial edge of their seats right to the season’s end. The twists don’t just include the characters, either. There are minute details on which the camera focuses at random points that keep viewers thrown off the track right up to the shocking season finale. The finale won’t be given away for the sake of those that have yet to see Season One. But it is most definitely unexpected, though sadly very much a reflection of life. To that extent, it makes this season’s story all the more gripping and worth the watch.

On an even deeper level, the writers responsible for bringing Broadchurch to life are to be applauded for the manner in which the series’ first season was constructed. Rather than have eight separate episodes, the writers used the model from Fox’s 24 in establishing each episode. Whereas each episode of 24 is one hour, each episode of Broadchurch’s first season is a continuation of the previous episode. So, all eight episodes of this season comprise just one storyline. And each episode has been written so well (unlike 24), that audiences won’t be left feeling like they need a program to figure out what’s going on. It’s the final touch to the series’ writing that makes the writing the cornerstone of this first season.

The writers behind Broadchurch are to be highly commended for the painstaking efforts put into making this series’ first season the gripping first impression that it proves to be in the end. Just as worthy of applause in Season One are those responsible for the show’s music. Yes, the music in this series plays just as important a role in its success as the writing. This is hardly common in most American television series. Audiences will note in the series’ first season that unlike so many other shows out there, it doesn’t rely on popular songs or music put in just to be there. The music incorporated in Broadchurch: Season One plays directly in to the series’ writing. The smart use of dynamics and overall placement from scene to scene within each episode heightens each episode’s emotional depth. Whether it be the season’s more pained moments as when Danny’s mother saw him lying dead on the beach, or even the more tense moments of the search for the killer, those charged with music placement went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s one more factor that makes the debut season of this gripping British crime drama worlds better than its countless American counterparts.

The music and the writing behind the first season of Broadchurch are by themselves integral parts of the season’s overall success. Together they make Broadchurch a fully gripping and engrossing series in only its first season. There is still one more aspect of this first season that proves Broadchurch to be the standard by which so many other dramas should model themselves. That final factor is the acting on the part of the cast. That applies not just to lead actors David Tennant and Olivia Colman but to the entire cast. Each member of the show’s cast expertly interprets the show’s script, making it even more difficult to figure out who is the killer until said person is revealed in the season finale. On the other hand that expert acting also pulls in viewers on a deeply emotional level, too. That expert acting on both sides of the coin adds one more level of depth, thus making this season of Broadchurch even more gripping. That final factor, set alongside the season’s writing and music, makes the presentation whole and wholly of the best first impressions from any new series in recent history. It makes the first season of Broadchurch one that any fan of dramas must see at least once this year.

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season is available now on DVD in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Broadchurch-Season-1-David-Tennant/dp/B00HGE90Z4/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1403311459&sr=1-1&keywords=broadchurch+the+complete+first+season. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at entertainmentone.com/home. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.