I watched the first episode of Broadchurch before going to bed last night, an eight episode detective series from last year starring David Tennant and written by Chris Chibnall. I was pleased to see that, like True Detective, every episode of Broadchurch shares a writer, in this case Chibnall, who's also written for Doctor Who--I've liked some of his Doctor Who episodes--42 in particular--and some I've disliked--The Power of Three--though my dislike for the latter may be due to Amy and Rory fatigue--two characters on the show who had worn out their welcome. I liked the first episode of Broadchurch a lot.
I talked to my friend Martin Johnson on Friday for the first time in years--he's one of maybe three people I've met in my life I can really talk movies with so when he recommended Broadchurch that was all I needed to know. He said the show clearly reflected the influence of Twin Peaks. I remarked there seems to have been a lot of such shows lately--in addition to True Detective there's been Wayward Pines and Hemlock Grove. Of the ones I've seen (I haven't seen Wayward Pines yet), Broadchurch is the first one to emulate one of the most striking aspects of the Twin Peaks pilot, the time David Lynch spends portraying the incredible grief experienced by Sarah Palmer and the residents of Twin Peaks who knew Laura. Broadchurch begins with the death of an eleven year old boy and, like the amazing series of moments where Laura's parents seem to instinctively know something's wrong, we see the child's mother figuring it out from the fact that the boy doesn't seem to be at football practice and she gets stuck in traffic and hears it's because a body has been discovered at the beach.
The show wisely follows the Twin Peaks playbook from here, introducing the wide variety of people who inhabit the little town by showing their various reactions to the boy's death. There's a teenage girl and her secret boyfriend, a flirtatious hotel concierge, and a shop owner played by David Bradley.
Tennant as Detective Inspector Hardy is not as eccentric as Dale Cooper. He's a very low key character, an outsider in the fictional town which is in Dorset--Tennant uses his natural Scottish accent. He comes off as weary and focused. Tennant's good as always and Chibnall seems to know there's not much you need to add to that.