It’s not Series 1, but Broadchurch’s Series 2 is not a waste of time
Yesterday a friend asked me what I thought of the second series of ITV’s hit show, Broadchurch. The question is not out of the blue. I think she probably wants to know if it’s worth watching.
A lot of shows struggle to keep their audience in their sophomore seasons and Broadchurch in particular have been getting some criticism in the UK (I don’t know what these criticisms are – I tend to stay away from any reviews regarding the show for fear of getting spoilers – but apparently critics in the UK have had strong complaints that even one of the cast members spoke out against them.) It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for anyone who watched the first series to get disillusioned by the sequel, so I gave my friend’s question a serious consideration. Whatever her real reason was for asking, though, the opinion I gave her yesterday still stands today. That is, while I understand the concern people might have over Broadchurch in its second series, I say that it’s worth watching.
Mind you, I’m not keen on passing judgment before the second series is over but, yes, I do think that so far Series 2 has been very different from the first series.
The first series was intense: the murder mystery was thrilling with its tight plot and a cast of suspects with their own arcs, and the emotional drama was absolutely gut-wrenching. The entire show had an amazing structure that gripped you for eight whole episodes. The second series, however, is very all over the place. Each episode is well made but to say that they are gripping? That would be an exaggeration. They introduced Alec Hardy’s Sandbrook case here, but there’s barely a connective thread between that to the courtroom drama involving the Broadchurch murder. It’s not that the legal aspect of the story isn’t interesting – I’m highly curious about whether Joe Miller, like Annalise Keating, can get away with murder – but, admittedly, it just doesn’t pack the same punch as the first series’ story.
Furthermore, some of the characters I sympathized with in S1 have become so annoying (Beth, mostly) that I wish that they could just drown in the sea. Ellie and Hardy are still compelling as characters, and I still care a lot about them (and someone better give Olivia Colman every award there is on the planet for being such a marvelous actress), but I could do without the likes of Olly and the priest and those lawyers (or barristers, I should say). Well, I suppose some of them are tolerable but, really, in the end all I really want is for someone to slap Beth and tell her to get over herself.
(Also, I’m sick of the portrayal of unscrupulous journalists by English television in ever But this is a whole different discussion, which I’d rather not get into right now.)
So Broadchurch has changed a lot… but it’s not that it’s worse than before. It’s just that it’s different. As a series that doesn’t rely on sex, gun fights, forensic science and other ridiculous Hollywood tropes to build its story, Broadchurch still works and is still above par compared to many other filth we see on TV. Beth may annoy me to death but at least her character has changed and developed somewhat. Claire Ripley and Lee Ashworth might creep the hell out of me but they’re great foils to Ellie and Alec. And Ellie and Alec, again, are still two of my favorite characters in any shows in the world because now we’re delving deeper into their souls. At its core, Broadchurch is still a story about people, about human beings and their flaws, and how they deal with impossibly stressful situations. For that reason, I still love it. I can’t get enough of it. I want to know more about it.
Critics are going to critique, haters are going to hate, and all that crap. I, for one, am going to enjoy it while it lasts. (And so will my mom, actually. She’s become a major Broadchurch fan since I introduced her to it. Now she can’t wait to watch new episodes…) Whatever happens, no matter what the ratings are, Broadchurch still has an audience in the two of us.