Gracepoint “Pilot” Review

It seems that Fox just can’t come up with a winner. Ever since the conclusions of hit shows House and 24, the network has struggled to produce quality programming with any semblance of consistency.

Shows of such meager merit as the hilariously awful “The Following” have come to dominate Fox’s rotation. Even the Sutherland-led Touch couldn’t do anything to resuscitate the flat lining station. Fast-forward to fall 2014 and here’s “Gracepoint” which is yet another attempt at a poignant drama that never rises above the most perfunctory of exercises.

“Intrigue” is the name of the game for Fox’s new show and, unfortunately, the show never manages to establish any reason to care who murdered Danny Solano. This is in large part a failure of the show’s primary characters, most of whom fit into cliché archetypes.

Leading the charge is a rugged head detective with a mysterious past, Emmett Carver, played by David Tennant. Anna Gunn puts on a decent performance as Tennant’s partner in the investigation, but viewers who found her character an impossible irritation on Breaking Bad aren’t likely to find Gunn’s newest role any better as she moans, cries and complains throughout the episode.

Occasionally, tired and annoying characters can be salvaged by a rollercoaster of plot, but that ride never comes in “Gracepoint’s” pilot. Sure, this is just the pilot, but there should be something other than the small-town murder to keep the audience hooked for next week. As it stands, the only thing keeping viewers latched onto the show is the hope that it may turn into something better down the line.

This isn’t to say that “Gracepoint” is entirely graceless, however, as there’s plenty of beautiful cinematography to be found throughout the hour. In large part, this is due to the show’s gorgeous coastal location but also thanks to some smart camerawork found throughout. Shots such as the panning camera following Mark Solano as he moves throughout the town are incredibly well-done and work to keep the viewer engaged with the episode.

For now, though, Fox’s “Gracepoint” is an entirely skippable hour of nighttime television that can barely manage to keep a pulse as it trudges through its routine plotting and over-used characters. Only the most avid fans of murder mysteries should stay on board.

Verdict: Gracepoint is as by-the-numbers as it comes, only worth the time of the most die hard murder mystery fans.

Score: C-