Whenever my husband and I finish a show on Netflix, we tend to have to try at least two or three new ones before we settle on one we like enough. Between our high moral standards and our snobbishly nit-picky artistic ones, we’re very hard viewers to please in general. But this is especially true when it comes to procedurals (things like cop/detective shows where the main characters solve a cases, etc.).
After trying a few different network procedural shows, we quickly discovered that they’re often not very good. Cheesy dialogue, flat characters, failing to keep our interest… Leaving us wondering why they all had to suck so badly.
It was in the middle of one of these show-hole, might-as-well-try-this-one phases that we stumbled upon the British procedural “Broadchurch” and actually kept watching it.
The entire first season is one case. It begins with the arrival of Alec Hardy, a somewhat pompous and reserved detective beginning a chief position that detective Ellie Miller thought she was in line for. This just as an 11-year-old boy, best friend of Ellie’s son, is discovered murdered. So season 1 is these two detectives, who do not get along one bit (initially, anyway) working to discover what monster in this tiny British town could have done such a thing. Season two revolves around the murderer’s trial, and I’m honestly quite curious where season 3 takes us.
This show is intensely compelling, with believable, real characters and heart-wrenching drama. The case takes several unpredictable turns, just when we think the answer is so obvious.
Perhaps one aspect that works so well in this show is the relationship of the two main characters. They start off rather at odds, since Ellie wanted the guy’s job; and you kind of just want to punch him as much as she does, because he’s so full of himself at times. Yet, over the course of their time together, they grow, they bond, they learn to work together, and they become a team. In a completely non-romantic way.
So, this is really a show you’ll want the kids asleep for. For a few reasons.
There’s some language, ranging from frequent mild profanity to the occasional F-word. There’s some violence here and there.
And then there’s the sexual issues. To begin with, this show goes kind of dark on occasion. With the murder investigation comes the question of whether molestation and pedophilia were involved, so those topics are talked about. In the course of the investigation, several characters’ past secrets come to light, so we get discussion of things like a married man’s affair with another woman, and (a little more disturbingly) of incestual relations in a minor character’s family in the past. All of these things, though dark, are integral pieces of the plot and don’t typically feel like excess filth thrown in for the heck of it.
Unfortunately, though, there were a few other sexual elements that weren’t really necessary. In one instance, a main character has a one night stand and their activity is shown briefly. There are also a couple instances of minor characters seen having sex, and a couple instances of male butt nudity. But at least these scenes were fairly infrequent.
There’s also talk of a woman having had an abortion in the past, and it’s painted somewhat sympathetically (though there’s also a character who chooses life for her unplanned baby, which is refreshing…). And, strangely, there’s a couple of old women who declare their love for one another, which definitely could have been left out.
Okay, so that’s kind of a laundry list of moral issues, I admit. But at least a large portion of them are essential plot pieces and don’t feel excessive. On the whole, the show is compelling and well-done. When season 3 comes to Netflix streaming, I will definitely be eager to see where it goes next.