We (my wife and I) finished watching the second series of Broadchurch a couple of weeks ago. I liked it almost as much as the first one. The plot was more diffuse, taking up where the first series left off, with the trial of the murderer arrested in that case, and also re-activating the unrelated and unsolved case which seemed to torment Detective Inspector Hardy in the first series. Arguably the two pieces aren't really fitted to each other that well, but they're both strong stories, so I didn't mind.
The acting is mostly superb. I have to mention especially Olivia Colman as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, one of the two main characters (the other being David Tennant as Hardy). This is one of those portrayals that cause me to lose completely any sense that I'm watching someone playing a part.
(I haven't decided whether this is a pattern or not, but it seems to me that a lot of these British TV shows deal more interestingly and effectively with their female characters than American shows do. Now and then I get a glimpse of an American cop show, and the policewomen and other female characters very often make it impossible for me to see them as anything other than beautiful and vain actresses. None of the women in Broadchurch is presented that way. Though several of them are quite attractive, they don't have that look-at-me-I'm-so-beautiful air. And Ellie is rather plain. That's part of what makes her so real-seeming and effective--Olivia Colman is willing to look downright ugly when her character is dealing with terrible pain, and she makes you feel it.)
And then there's the place, and the photography, and the music. I can't imagine how they make those seacoast scenes look as rich as they do--very soft but at the same time very clear and vivid. I can only hope no one sold his soul for the gift.
I didn't find the lesbian subplot to be distracting, but it is superfluous. Except for the one scene in the last episode, the relationship could just as well have been a friendship. And, as has often been pointed out, that's an insidious thing about the current obsession with homosexual relationships: now any close friendship between two people of the same sex is at least suspected and often presumed to be a sexual relationship.
We discussed Broadchurch and the thrown-in lesbianism in the comments on #29 of the 52 Authors, Josephine Tey. It was brought to light there that the BBC actually has an official policy--part of its "diversity" code--of presenting homosexual relationships often and positively. It's becoming a cliche. My wife and I watched a good many episodes of the mostly excellent series Call the Midwife, up until the point where it became obvious that they were about to announce that one of the midwives was a lesbian. We gave it up in exasperation, not wanting to sit through another round of the Struggle Against Homophobia. Currently we're watching Home Fires, a drama about the lives of women in the early days (and presumably on) of Word War II. The preview of one episode showed the unmarried schoolteacher having an unexpected female visitor. "Well, here it comes," I said. And sure enough.... The lover came and apparently went in that episode, so maybe, as with Broadchurch, the lecturing is not going to get in the way. I would think homosexuals might find this diversity checkoff patronizing.
SPOILERS ALLOWED in the comments.