BBC America's Broadchurch

A Media Buyer Turns TV Critic and Recommends New Mini-Series

By Staff Writer
In August 15, 2013

Photo via BBC America

There are many perks to being a broadcast media buyer. Among them is the opportunity to preview new shows, watch early trailers, study research and estimate Nielsen ratings so that we may effectively select and recommend programs best suited for our clients’ advertising. While that process typically deals more with math and statistics than the actual reviewing of a show, we do consider whether the general content is appropriate for each individual client. Rarely, however, does a new program come along that truly makes this media buyer want to shed her appellation and become a TV critic simply to recommend a show for others to watch. Well, I have to say that BBC America’s Broadchurch is an exception to the rule.

Broadchurch stars David Tennant of Doctor Who fame and Olivia Colman, who had the distinction of winning BAFTAs (UK’s version of Emmys/Oscars) in both the Drama and Comedy categories this year.

Although I have only seen the pilot episode (which premiered in the United States on August 7) and part of episode two, I am officially hooked. Nominated for myriad BAFTAs and creating a buzz in the UK, the mini-series should prove worthy of American viewing. Radio Times reported that “the show hit a rate of 8,493 tweets per minute (TPM) … it accounted for a massive 65.9% of UK Twitter traffic” and set a record as the most tweeted show in UK history. That beats another little UK-to-U.S. series entitled Downton Abbey.

Broadchurch is a self-contained mystery centering around the death of an 11-year-old boy in a coastal town of the same name. And, unlike The Killing, it promises to offer a conclusion by the end of its eight episodes. Clearly, that is not a lot of time to devote to a show that reached over 10 million British viewers with its last episode, received awards and nominations throughout Europe and has been heralded with stellar reviews in the United States already.

David Tennant (pictured above with Olivia Colman) plays Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, an experienced London cop whose last case was an investigation of a child murderer that was publicly botched. Seeking refuge in a small Dorset police station, Hardy is immediately faced with the inexplicable death of a young local lad, Danny Latimer. Olivia Colman plays the role of Detective Sgt. Ellie Miller, who comes back from maternity leave to discover that gruff Alec Hardy is her new boss — a position she was promised by her superior. To complicate matters even further, her son was the best friend of the murdered boy.

While fans of The Bridge and Top of the Lake will naturally gravitate toward Broadchurch, I strongly encourage everyone to preview this show — check out the pilot episode. Keep in mind that the first two episodes are deemed the slowest of the series. So if you, too, get entangled in the mystery and the personalities after watching the premiere, know that the tension will only escalate as the show progresses.

It is more than a murder mystery. It is more than an odd couple police pair facing off against each other while internally facing their own demons. It is more than a psychological look into a small town with secrets behind every window (Why is the priest so nervous? Why does Ellie’s son delete all his e-mails with the victim? Why does a reporter steal a stuffed toy from the makeshift memorial? Where was the victim’s father the night of the murder?). It is more than a commentary on how businesses can claim sorrow over the event while being more worried about the economic effect on their beach town’s tourism. It is more than insight on how media coverage can affect a family already dealing with tragedy. It is a show I highly recommend — both as a media buyer and a media critic. Watch Broadchurch on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America and let me know what you think.

P.S. And please watch the original on BBC America. Don’t wait for the Americanized version (FOX already bought the rights to the show and will air their series in the 2014-2015 fall season).

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!