May 12, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: FOX’s “Gracepoint”


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GRACEPOINT:  Thursday 9PM on FOX

THE FACTS:  David Tennant repeats his role as the lead detective in a US adaptation of the hit British miniseries Broadchurch, about the murder of a child in a small seaside town and what the investigation reveals about the inhabitants.  He’s joined by Anna Gunn in what had been the Olivia Colman role as his reluctant partner, as well as a supporting cast that includes Nick Nolte and Michael Pena.  The US version, like the UK series, is written by Chris Chibnall.

WHAT IT’S SAYING:  A cop drama that takes itself seriously.  Not just a particularly grim murder, but lots of unpleasant secrets lurking about.  Heavily serialized.  Will demand the viewer’s attention, and reward it with more substance than the ordinary network procedural.

WHAT IT’S REALLY SAYING:  The trailer suggests that the US script will follow the British original very closely (although FOX has already said publicly that the ending will be different from the shocking close of that version–unless, of course, they’re bluffing).  Not an action drama and not the snappy brand of dark that thrives on basic cable.  The pace may be relatively slow by broadcast standards.  Tennant is a lot easier to understand here than he was on Broadchurch.

THE OUTLOOK:  Just a 10-episode “event” for FOX (although Broadchurch was such a smash that it’s been brought back for a 2d season in the UK), so the stakes are medium-level, especially since it’ll be facing off with Thursday Night Football for most of its run.  Although it fits with lead-in Bones in terms of genre, the two shows could hardly be more different in tone (the closest US equivalent to Broadchurch may be HBO’s True Detective), and it’s unclear whether the Bones audience will enjoy being put through the wringer after they’ve had their hour of fun.  Still, the network seems to be aiming at quality by retaining Tennant and Chibnall, and a decent rating plus critical prestige would be a win.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."