The first episode of Gracepoint, the American re-make of the BBC Broadchurch, aired last week. Now one caveat with the look at Gracepoint, is that David and I watched and loved Broadchurch, so there was definitely a high standard that we were and are holding this show to. Unfortunately the show did not quite meet that standard. Some of the problem could revolve around the fact that we kind of already know what happens (even though there are claims that the ending could be different). It is difficult watching something when you know what is happening, but everything just feels slightly off. I think one of the problems though is that the characters were so good in the BBC version and the characters in the American version just fell a little flat for me. In the end the big thing is that there was nothing that grabbed my attention enough to make me want to really continue watching. (Spoilers for Gracepoint after the jump.)
Knowing The Plot
Knowing the basics about what is going to be happening during a mystery makes it hard to make the story interesting. There has to be something very compelling in the show to hold someone’s interest. Part of what was so great about Broadchurch is not knowing what was happening and just the building tension of the who did it. Knowing the story makes the tension a lot less palpable, which is part of what makes the story so good to watch. The other problem is that everything is different enough that it is not like re-watching the show and looking for those possible hints or being able to read the situation in new light. It is just seeing the story played out in a different way with different people.
Now the one thing that could have been a saving grace of the show is if the characters were just phenomenal. Many of the characters had very big shoes to fill, but if they could draw us in we could have been interested in their lives. The problem is that they did not draw us in. Everything just felt a little bit flat to me. Having watched Broadchurch it makes sense. I fell in love with Ellie on that show, the actress did a fantastic job. The American version of Ellie does not grab me as much and just feels off. I think that is the same with all the characters because they did not seem to have stepped into their own really, but feel like shadows of the characters that we loved (without the fantastic accents).
I keep saying this, but it really is the best way to describe it; Gracepoint came across flat. It did not feel like it had any depth, it was skimming the surface of resonance and emotion. The real experiment would be to watch Broadchurch again and seeing how the story seems to play out on a re-watch. Would it also be flat or would it still have some of the punch and resonance even though we know what happens? The other big question that I have is whether we had watched this with fresh eyes would it have been better? At this point in time I personally would recommend someone watch Broadchurch over watching Gracepoint, but again my view is very tainted.