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Post Gracepoint’s Final (Garage Sale) Send-off & Series Thoughts

12 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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When news hit about Fox TV’s Gracepoint Victoria, BC based team having another sale in town, my suspicions that the program is not going to continue past the first season was only confirmed. Ever since I saw episode two of this murder mystery serial, I had a strong feeling that there will not be long-term interest. My issue was with this show’s pace and use of cinematic modernism to create a compelling tale. When compared to the original Broadchurch program, this American version felt too stretched out and I really did not find the use of incidental music all that effective in drawing me into the narrative. All those sounds was just distracting.

By the third episode, I lost interest in wondering if I could figure out who Danny’s killer was. But if I had to guess in what the animated tastes were of one of the children that was in this show, I found G.I. Joe – Valor Vs. Venom and Spy Troops on DVD as perhaps the most violent of animated titles being sold for cheap. Even a wood boomerang is suspect. If they belonged to Tom, that would suggest he might have a violent streak. For the most part, he acts very sedated. It’s almost like he’s hiding some terrible truth himself.

A good mystery needs to be designed to draw people in with its ambience. Having a surreal quality can immensely help than a droning soundtrack. That’s why Twin Peaks will always be fondly remembered. In any murder mystery television series, the more quirky the world is, the better it can keep its viewers. Many other television shows prior to both versions have played with the town keeping a horrible secret formula. Had it been more original in its approach to solve the mystery, I would have stuck to watching. There is crime / courtroom dramas which I absolutely love because of their style, namely Perry Mason, and this show was never meant to imitate that.

And there has always been one production detail that’s been nagging me since day one. How are the cinematographers going to deal with the issue that the city it’s filming in is surrounded by mountains? I had thought about making a gag reel of shots where they are clearly visible in the background. I travelled part of the North Californian coastline and examined maps. I found it funny that there’s more islands than usual when the camera looks out to the sea.

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In this show’s defence, the art production team did create an explanation within episode two, where Detective Carver is looking at a map showing that this township is nestled to one side of a cove! A line to the left of the map Detective Carver is looking at does not break enough to suggest that a series of islands, as suggested in many shots towards the sea, protects this town from any weather fronts coming from the Pacific.

When I live in the city where this series was filmed, the mania for such a big production nearly taking over parts of the town will eventually die down. Sherlock Holmes does not need to figure that out, and nor does he have to realize that when there are more than one warehouse sale of props and items that were either used, appeared, or slated to be used in the production of the show, locals got a chance to pick up something.

I found vast quantities of firewire cables, old analog recording equipment, tons of clothes and artwork (not all of them were featured, I suspect). I say maybe a third of them are real set pieces. The best items, one of the coats David Tennant wore (there’s always more than one) and one of the flags that grace the poles in some street shots, are no doubt being silent auctioned. I surmise that FOX is trying to recoup their losses.

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If this props sale happening this weekend goes well, there will not be much left to rebuild from even if someone at the executive level says let’s make it.

Showrunner Anya Epstein talked to Zap2it and said that the chances for another season “doesn’t seem terribly likely.” When half the cast showed signs of moving on, the likelihood of them returning is very slim. There are narrative points that can be picked up on, like what Joe has to face as he goes to prison or counselling young Tom will get because he looks psychologically damaged. And as for whether or not there are more strange deaths to solve, not even a kitchen sink or toilet cover as a murder weapon is safe from being sold off.

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