Bernie Anderson
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Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Your Weekend Binge - Broadchurch Season 1

New Feature!

Every so often we just need to binge through a great TV show. I realize there are a lot of people who will call this a waste of time. And I'll give you a piece of that. It may be a waste of time.

But, I do believe there is value in binging a show, if you do it the right way.

Look for story

Thanks to "The Story Grid" I watch for the 5 rules of story telling in everything now.

  • Inciting incident
  • progressive complications
  • Crisis
  • Climax
  • Resolution

These five elements are in every great story. I make it a rule to determine what they are in everything I watch. If it's unclear, it's often a story that's not great. But binge-watching great shows helps to refine these storytelling skills.

Watch critically and analytically.

While looking for the global story arch, I also watch shows with an eye for the detail. I'm particularly interested in cinematography and video editing. I look for shots that would make great photographs, as well as editing details: long shots versus jump cuts.

It's likely annoying to watch anything with me - but this is how binging great shows is worth my time.

This new and occasional feature will reveal what I've binged - and why I recommend you do too.

Renee' and just finished watching season 1 of a British TV series called "Broadchurch".

NOT Dorset County, England. This seaside view is in Asia. 

NOT Dorset County, England. This seaside view is in Asia. 

Broadchurch = 100% binge-worthy.

Qualifier - we've not seen seasons 2 or 3 (the show was finished after three seasons). There are only 8 episodes in season 1. So this is an easy binge. But a great one to work through.

Here's why.

1. This season tells a masterful story.

The story lands squarely in the "who done it" murder mystery genre - with all of the necessary tropes and obligatory scenes the genre requires. But there is masterful innovation within the sub-plot lines, giving the characters a surprising emotional rail. I genuinely cared about the characters. The plot grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until the final reveal.

2. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous

The camera work in this program is breathtaking. Broadchurch is the name of a fictional village on the Jurassic coast in Dorset County, England. The region contains the signature cliffs, significant to the plot of season 1.

I've added this place to the paces I want to visit someday. The camera work does the region justice.

The principal photography makes spectacular use of wide-shots as a part of the storytelling. Wide-angle is one of my favorite cinematic story-telling techniques.

3. These writers though

Okay - this is aligned with the story-telling point. But the unexpected twists and turns of what you expect to be a typical murder mystery show are astounding. They won some awards in the UK for their work. Rightly so. The arch of the season forms a perfect fulfilling circle. The last episode is a satisfying (if not heart-rending) watch.

4. The acting is on point

English actors David Tennant and Olivia Colman play the leading roles in the series. Colman won best actress in the BAFTA awards. David Bradley also won best supporting actor for his poignant portrayal of Jack Marshall. He's one of the English septuagenarian classics. Of course, Tennant is great in his role, as well.

5. An emotional story

I'm not giving up any spoilers. But there are several touching, mournful, and even heart-wrenching moments. Season 1 is completely self-contained. The writers intended for the show to be three seasons but made season 1 a complete story in case the series didn't get renewed. I plan to watch seasons 2 and 3 later this month.

So looking for something to binge this weekend?

Check out Broadchurch Season 1 on Netflix.