A young boy has been murdered in Gracepoint, a small coastal town with a tightly knit community.
Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant) and local detective Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) are tasked with finding the culprit, a case that soon leaves its marks on the entire town.
The damning criticism you can bestow onto Gracepoint is that of profound indifference.
If you watched Broadchurch, the British original TV series Gracepoint is adapted from, this American cousin will in many ways feel like a cheapened repeat performance, not unlike Broadchurch’s own second season.
If you’ve never watched Broadchurch before there is still no reason to substitute it with Gracepoint, because even if the main argument for the creation of Gracepoint had been to make Broadchurch more attractive for American viewers, the success of purely British TV such as Doctor Who and Sherlock on BBC America negates such an argument.
Thinking an American version would be easier to follow is weak insult to the average viewer at best, and thus Gracepoint comes off as an attempt to milk the same cow twice.
This is because Gracepoint has stayed as closely to the original as possible, and closely in this case means that cinematography, editing and even dialogues are identical in all places that make it possible.
Broadchurch lives in large part from its on-location shooting on the coast of Dorset, Gracepoint‘s coastal town however comes off as mostly sinister, making Gracepoint seem excessively bleak in addition to its already serious subject matter.
The story itself and its plot development is still very good, however the acting quality is a rollercoaster ride, and it’s not a fun one: great actors and actresses such as Jacki Weaver, Nick Nolte and Anna Dunn shine, while some of the scenes with actors in smaller roles put a serious dent in the show’s atmosphere.
David Tennant, who reprises his role as number one grump on the job might feel appropriately smug for having passed American casting standards (John Simm, who auditioned for his own role for the American adaptation of Life on Mars, famously failed), feels out of place in Gracepoint, and his half-baked American accent does not help this.
What’s most surprising is that Gracepoint episode has been written and co-produced by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, who could have helped things had he stayed on.
Gracepoint might be an okay show on its own, but by being a downright copy it set itself up for failure by comparison that even a slightly changed ending can’t eradicate.
Starring: David Tennant, Anna Dunn, Michael Peña, Nick Nolte
Release Date: 8th June 2015