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‘Gracepoint’: Fox remake gives ‘Broadchurch’ fans daunting déjà vu

(Photo Courtesy of Fox) (Photo Courtesy of Fox)

What do you get when you team a time-traveling Timelord with Skyler White to solve a murder in a small town in northern California? You get Fox’s new television drama, “Gracepoint,” premiering Thursday.

"Gracepoint" is a remake of last year’s critically acclaimed BBC crime drama “Broadchurch,” which stars David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. It centers on the murder of an 11-year-old boy in a small town, Broadchurch, and how it disturbs the people who populate the town in a "Twin Peaks"-reminiscent style.

Fox’s "Gracepoint," which stars Tennant and "Breaking Bad’s" Anna Gunn, follows detectives Emmett Carver and Ellie Miller as they investigate the murder of a young boy in an idyllic coastal town in northern California.

Upon hearing that Fox would be releasing a remake of "Broadchurch," I was initially excited, especially after learning Tennant would be returning to star in the show.

However, I must admit, when I watched the pilot episode of "Gracepoint," I was a little weirded out.

The first three episodes of "Gracepoint" mirror "Broadchurch," almost eerily copying each scene frame by frame.

Tennant keeps the same mop hairstyle and stubble from "Broadchurch" and rehashes the same scenes, only in an American accent.


If Fox were going to do this, why wouldn’t it just buy the rights to the original series and air it in the U.S.? Do these television networks think that Americans aren’t capable of absorbing a show outside the U.S.? Americanizing an already successful show might make sense if the original series were in a different language.

Fortunately, "Gracepoint" eventually veered off into its own story after the fourth episode. It was relieving to know that it wouldn’t just be a total rehash of "Broadchurch."

This didn’t make up for how dramatized the scenes were, though. The dramatic pauses, short statements and over the top close-ups seemed too Hollywood for an already trite plot.

The clichéd small-town murder mystery worked in "Broadchurch," because the acting was phenomenal and believable. The cinematography wasn’t over-the-top and the show generally delivered an element of realism that "Gracepoint" can’t quite grasp.

Gracepoint does earn a few redeeming qualities, however. The 10-episode miniseries has a deliberate plot progression that's not too slow but keeps the overall storyline evenly paced.

The ongoing banter between Gunn and Tennant is entertaining as Tennant’s “tough guy,” “no-nonsense” attitude is brilliantly contrasted by Gunn’s compassion and empathy for the victim’s family and other townspeople.

Gracepoint airs Thursdays on Fox.


Reach the assistant news editor at or follow her on Twitter @kelciegrega

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