For people who watched “Broadchurch” on BBC America in 2013, the first two episodes of FOX’s “Gracepoint” will look awfully familiar.
That’s by design. In adapting “Broadchurch” for FOX, executive producers Dan Futterman and Anya Epstein (“In Treatment”) didn’t want to make too many wholesale changes to the source material out of the gate — including, apparently, in their choice of lead actor. David Tennant stars on “Gracepoint” as the American version of his “Broadchurch” character.
“We all talked about how to transplant this show into America. The first order of business was, don’t screw up what works, because it was fantastic. … It was great TV,” Futterman said Sunday (July 20) at the summer TV press tour. “So we didn’t want to break what was working. But we also wanted to raise this show in a different country. We have 10 episodes as opposed to eight, so we start to veer from the [‘Broadchurch’] story line.”
The first two episodes of “Gracepoint” play as very faithful adaptations of their “Broadchurch” counterparts. Fellow executive producer Carolyn Bernstein says the writers considered other starting points, but “the way that story was told was so well-done, that why would we contort ourselves to figure out a different way to tell the story when that was the smartest, most compelling way to launch this particular story?”
Having two more episodes does allow “Gracepoint” to introduce some new characters and explore some others in ways that “Broadchurch” writer Chris Chibnall didn’t have time to do, Futterman says: “We got a little more real estate, we were able to go down a couple different roads, and the cumulative effect ends us in a different place.”
Despite the early similarities to “Broadchurch,” “Gracepoint’s” story goes its own way starting in episode 3, Futterman says. For fans of the original, he compares the show to watching “The Departed” after having also seen that film’s source material, “Infernal Affairs.”
“I think by the third and fourth episodes, you see very, very great detours,” Futterman says. “And it also reverts to form as well, because the genetics of the show are powerful. … But we deviated as much as we wanted to and as much as we could while still trying to tell this beautiful story.”
“Gracepoint” premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT Thursday, Oct. 2 on FOX.