Broadchurch has been compared to Downton Abbey because of its British-American crossover appeal, and The Killing (only with a satisfying first season conclusion) because of its moody tale of murder. You should probably be watching on BBC America tonight.
The show centers on the mystery of who killed a young boy in a sleepy coastal town called—what else?—Broadchurch. In the pilot, boy's body is found underneath a cliff, at first implying suicide, but it's obviously not just that. The boy died of strangulation. But, as is the case when crime dramas like this are successful, it's really about the people that are alive. Specifically the two detectives—or detective inspectors because this is Britain. One is a woman, recently returned to the force, whose son is a friend of the deceased. The other a newbie in town with a mysterious past.
The show is filled with British actors that you think you know from somewhere, the leads in particular. Olivia Colman you may recognize from Hot Fuzz or The Iron Lady. David Tennant is an obvious name for fans of Doctor Who. And in that first episode, that one that gets you hooked, its really their appeal that draws you in. Tennant, speaking in his natural Scottish brogue, is not as charming as he is as the Doctor, but equally magnetic. Colman's nervous energy is compelling. Though you'll find the premiere relies on some tics—the use of slow motion rather recalls Sherlock —the episode is not just intriguing for the mysteries that will follow, but emotionally affecting. We found ourselves tearing up in places.