Thursday, May 28, 2015

Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
David Tennant (“Doctor Who,” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) returns as Alex Hardy and Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady, Hot Fuzz) resumes her role as Ellie Miller, last seen having her life torn apart as husband Joe confessed to murdering local schoolboy Danny Latimer in the seaside town. And in the eight episodes of Season Two, the focus is the trial for Latimer’s murder, as well as the return of a murder case that continues to haunt Detective Hardy. Additionally, this season, Hardy and Miller are joined in highly acclaimed roles by Emmy nominated film and television actress Charlotte Rampling and Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated Marianne Jean-Baptiste, as well as James D’Arcy Cloud Atlas, Hitchcock, Jupiter Ascending), Eve Mylese (“Torchwood,” “Merlin,” “Little Dorrit”) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Bad Education, Blandlings, “Glue.”
Show (4 out of 5 stars)
Picking up months after the arrest of Joe Miller and the town begins healing; Detectives Hardy and Miller have gone their separate ways.  Alec is a training instructor and Ellie is working as a traffic cop in another area. The Latimers are preparing to welcome a new baby into the family and the rest of the town adjusts to life after Danny’s death. When Joe’s trail begins, the Latimers’ lives are once again thrown into chaos.

They convince Jocelyn Kinight (Rampling), a retired lawyer who lives in town, to prosecute the case, taking on her former student, Sharon Bishop (Jean-Baptiste), who is defending Joe.  As the case goes on, the townspeople are called to testify and their secrets are revealed. No one is immune from questioning and as Mark and Beth watch the trial, they wonder how it’s going to turn out.

Meanwhile, Alec reveals to Ellie the real reason he took the job in Broadchurch… he’s hiding the key witness from his previous case in Sandbrook. Alec is determined to find the true killer of the two girls and when Lee, the man who was acquitted of the murders, arrives in Broadchurch, Alec brings Ellie into the fold and introduces her to Claire, Lee’s ex-wife, and Alec’s witness. Ellie ingratiates herself with Claire and the two women become friends.  But little does Claire know, Ellie is trying to find out the truth. As Alec and Ellie try protecting Claire, she goes around them and sees Lee, letting him back into her life.

When a new lead is discovered, Ellie and Alec travel back to Alec’s hometown and meet with the other detective on the case… Alec’s ex-wife. They work together to uncover the secrets Claire, Lee and the girls’ family are keeping and find the real killer of both girls. With both cases now complete, Alec leaves Broadchurch and Ellie begins a new life with her boys in their home. The Latimers and Ellie rekindle their close friendship and honor Danny on the beach.

“Broachchurch” is such an amazing show. The characters are so well put together, and thought out, and the actors who portray each character are perfect in their roles. David Tennant, who I am a huge fan of, is excellent as Alec Hardy. He is sympathetic, emotional and frustrating all at the same time. He is stubborn, but you see his relationship with Ellie and his trust in her grow. Alec’s life is still chaos; his medical issues are compounded with his two biggest cases and his unsuccessful attempts to ensure convictions in both. Olivia Colman is wonderful as Ellie Miller, who is trying to put her life back together after learning her husband murdered her best friend’s son. 

In her relationship with Hardy, Ellie keeps him grounded and brings some light-heartedness into his life. She trusts him more than anyone and is willing to work with him to help him solve the case that brought him to Broadchurch.  All the actors were exceptional in their roles and I even came to like Ollie, Ellie’s nephew.  One character I did not like, was Bishop’s partner, Abby.  She was deplorable as a character and the actress was a bit annoying. I also did not like Eve Myles as Claire.  Something about her really bothered me, but I can’t put my finger on it.

The story was great, picking up shortly after the events of the last season. The writing was sharp and the two cases flowed together perfectly. I really enjoyed watching the season and am looking forward to the next season. I didn’t watch the second season on BBC America when it was on, because I was waiting to receive it on DVD.  Having binge-watched all eight episodes in three days, I’m glad I didn’t watch it on television because I don’t think I would have been able to wait for each new episode.

I did watch the U.S. version of the show, “Gracepoint,” which also starred Tennant in the same role. As much as I love “Broadchurch,” “Gracepoint” was not as good. I don’t know what it was – the stories were near-identical and the characters were the same. Unfortunately, “Gracepoint” did not do as well as “Broadchurch,” leaving me to wonder why there even had to be a U.S. version. "Broadchurch” already airs in the U.S. on BBC America and I encourage everyone to watch it and not assume the worse if you’ve seen “Gracepoint.”
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
“Broadchurch” is presented in widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is new perfect for a DVD transfer. The colors were right on and the picture was really clear. There were no visible defects and transitions from scene to scene were sharp. It was really easy to watch these episodes on DVD.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
“Broadchurch” is a dialogue-based show and as such, needs strong audio. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound is a perfect setting for that audio. The dialogue is crisp and easily understood. Even David Tennant’s strong Scottish accent is clear enough to be understood. Subtitles in English SDH for the deaf and hard of hearing are available for those who need them.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The special features included on the disc were interesting, but could have been combined. All the short one minute interviews should have been made into one longer behind-the-scenes look at the show. The deleted and extended scenes were interesting and my favorite part of the special features was the promotional piece by Tennant and Colman. Listed below are the features on the disc.
  • Deleted Scenes and Extended Scenes – About 30 minutes of deleted and extended scenes.  Most of the deleted scenes were good to have been left out and the edits made to the extended scenes were also good.  I enjoyed a few of the deleted scenes because they gave a little more background on the events that led Alec to Broadchurch and more background on Lee and Claire and that whole situation.
  • The Making of Broadchurch – A 15 minute look at the series with cast and crew commentary.  This was pretty interesting as it really brought the town and the characters to life.
  • Success and the Series 2 – Five and one-half minutes on what makes the series so successful.  This was interesting in that the actors talked about each other, how excited they were to work together and about the way the show came together from the very start.
  • The Latimers – A just over two minute profile on the Latimer family.  The actors talk about the family, the characters and how the characters of Beth and Mark each saw their marriage.
  • David Tennant and Olivia Colman: The Success of Series 1 – David Tennant and Olivia Colman talk about the first season of the show in this one and one-half minute feature.
  • David Tennant and Olivia Colman: On Writer Chris Chibnall – Just under three minutes of the stars talking about the writing of the show and how the cast comes together for the reads.
  • David Tennant and Olivia Colman: West Bay in Dorset – One minute and 45 seconds where the stars talk about the main beach location of the show.
  • Andrew Buchan and Jodie Whittaker: At the Latimer’s House – Running a little over one minute, the actors who play Mark and Beth Latimer talk about the Latimer home and how it feels being inside the location.
  • David Tennant and Olivia Colman: On Series 2 – Two minutes of David and Olivia discussing season two, working together and where there characters are when the story picks up.
  • Jodie Whittaker/Beth Latimer – One minute of the actress talking about the show and the location.
  • Andrew Buchan/Mark Latimer – Buchan talks about season two and the story. This has a runtime of a little over one minute.
  • Eve Myles/Claire Ripley – One minute and 30 seconds of the actress discussing her experience as part of the show.
  • Charlotte Rampling/Jocelyn Knight – Rampling discusses her part in the show in this one minute interview.
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste/Sharon Bishop QC – Jean-Baptiste talks about her role and the show.
  • Writer and Executive Producer Chris Chibnall Interview – Chibnall talks about the location, the story, and how it all started and it grew into more than he thought it would.
  • Producer Richard Stokes on David Tennant and Olivia Colman – The producer talks about his lead actors.
  • David Tennant and Olivia Colman Promoting Broadchurch Series 2 – The stars promote season two by filming lead ins for various countries.

Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Even though the special features are scored a little lower, they really don’t affect the overall score for the season. I really enjoy “Broadchurch” and am looking forward to the third season, next year. The series is smart, engaging and interesting and really tugs at your heartstrings. Season two shows you what happens when the trail begins and everyone in the town is affected. If you haven’t seen season one, I definitely recommend seeing it before beginning season two. Not just for the spoilers, but for the background.

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