Hampered by a competitive timeslot and beset by claims that it was too similar to Broadchurch, FOX’s Gracepoint was fighting an uphill battle to begin with. Sadly, it now seems the show won’t ever reach the top. It will not get a second season.
The news shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who was paying close attention. According to TV Line, the finale only did 4 million total viewers and even worse, a .9 in the coveted 18-49 demographic. That’s pretty poor, especially for a conclusion that promised to reveal the killer. In the end, the numbers weren’t anywhere close to what would be needed to produce Season 2, especially since it was only announced as a limited venture to begin with.
At its core, Gracepoint was a reworking of the popular British series Broadchurch. It recast lead David Tennant, gave him an American accent and switched up his supporting cast. A few key plot points were altered and a major twist was added. In general, however, it was 70% the same. Maybe that’s why viewers didn’t really tune in. Then again, maybe it’s simply because Americans don’t often dive into serial mysteries, at least apart from True Detective and Twin Peaks.
Regardless of the specific reasons, the series’ failure is a shame. Leads David Tennant and Anna Gunn turned in great performances as Gracepoint’s detective and Michael Pena was incredibly strong as the murder victim’s father. They did enough to create a full-on hit. Momentum and luck just weren’t on their sides this time.
As for Broadchurch, the show actually received good news following its season. It got renewed for a second season and just released a trailer earlier this month. It’ll follow the same two leads and not surprisingly, looks really damn good.
In some ways it’s probably better that Gracepoint didn’t get a second season. Trying to return to the scene of a mystery is always a little bit weird. With the exception of Jessica Fletcher, no one on Earth gets to know that many murder victims, but still, the cancellation is sad for what it might do to the larger mystery genre. There are some of us who love watching a great case unfold, and while mysteries of the week are still going strong, there’s something special about a multi-episode head-scratcher meticulously planned in advance.
Here’s to hoping TV executives pay more attention to True Detective than to Gracepoint, at least when it comes to market trends.