Broadchurch or Gracepoint? Is the US version just a shot-for-shot remake of the ITV drama?

We watched the Gracepoint trailer. And then re-watched the Broadchurch one. And something seemed uncannily familiar...

When Fox first announced their remake of award-winning British drama Broadchurch we were all a little puzzled, and not just by the prospect of David Tennant doing a US accent…


Why do Americans always feel the need to put their own spin on our telly? (The Inbetweeners, Gavin & Stacey, Skins, are just a few of their failed attempts.) And surely the plot had to differ, otherwise we’d know the outcome from the outset, right? 

Well, today we got our first glimpse of Gracepoint starring Tennant as the renamed Detective Emmett Carver alongside Anna Gunn, Nick Nolte and Jacki Weaver. Having watched it, I’m feeling rather baffled – by the looks of things, the three-minute preview is nothing more than a shot-for-shot remake of Chris Chibnall’s ITV drama. The only thing to change is Tennant’s moniker.

Not only are the scenes identical but so are the characters. For starters, Danny Lasseter looks uncannily similar to Oskar McNamara’s Danny Latimer… 

Kendrick Sampson is another who shares more than a passing resemblance to his British counterpart Jacob Anderson – both portray Dean, the druggy boyfriend of Chloe, seen here sharing the same dispute with the Latimer/Lasseters’ daughter. 

And it’s not just the visuals that feel familiar – the scenarios the characters find themselves in remain strikingly similar. Take the trailer’s opening moments, for example. Beth Lasseter/Latimer discovers from a fellow driver that a body’s been found at the bottom of the cliffs…

…and has to be restrained by police after she runs onto the beach and discovers it’s her son…

…before grieving with her family after the news is confirmed: 

The two sequences are practically identical, but it’s not just the set-up that irks me. It’s the melodramatic music. Broadchurch trod a fine line between delicate poignancy and over-acting but Gracepoint, at first glance, pushes past it. I’m aware it’s unfair to pass judgement after just three minutes of footage but at times the trailer had me cringing as well as bemoaning the lack of any original ideas. 

A watch of the trailer feels like an irritating rehash of Broadchurch’s “best bits”. Below is Jacki Weaver’s Susan Wright sharing a heated dispute with Nige Carter – much the same as Pauline Quirke did a year ago. 

And here’s Ellie Miller sharing a hug with her husband Joe (is he as devious second time around? Time will tell…)

Before reassuring her son, Tom, who is already looking secretive and shifty when it comes to his one-time best friend Danny.

Journalist Olly Stevens (played by Jonathan Bailey) has morphed into Owen Burke (Kevin Zegers) but both are seen here on the beach, confirming the story from Ellie before firing off details to the internet. 

While, even the facial expressions of Alec/Emmett and his two Ellie Millers are uncannily similar after the discovery of Danny’s body. Poor David Tennant must have suffered deja vu the entire shoot.  

Now, I’m more than aware that this is just the start for Gracepoint. Tennant has already informed us the ending will be “different” and there are ten episodes for the Americans to go off on a tangent. But why make their first footage so unimaginative? Gracepoint is a high-profile endeavour for Fox, one they’ve no doubt got their best writers working on – why don’t they get some original ideas rather than remaking the original with added melodrama? I was already nervous when this venture was first announced. This trailer has done nothing to abate my fears…

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