ITV's new Scottish drama offers viewers beautiful scenic landscape of the Highlands, but that's just about it. With one-dimensional characters, choppy dialogue, and a less than intriguing plot line, The Loch is a less impressive, Scottish version, of Broadchurch.
The small Scottish town of Lochnafoy rests on the edge of the picturesque, yet mysterious, Loch Ness. The quite town is thrown into disarray when the town's beloved music teacher is found dead. As the investigation turns into a murder inquire, local detective Annie Redford (Laura Fraser) is thrust into her first murder case.
One can't help but compare ITV's new drama to the channel's internationally acclaimed murder mystery show, Broadchurch. The Loch, following in the footsteps of the hit program, may have been ITV's attempt at continuing Broadchurch's legacy, while simultaneously challenging BBC's hit Scottish crime drama Shetland. But The Loch struggled to match the thrill and artistry of either of those programs.
The show struggled to create any sense of anxiety when it came to introducing the suspects for Lochnafoy's murdering citizen. Living in the shadow of Broadchurch's pristine execution, The Loch failed at making the audience care. The mystery element was lost in fuddled mess of characters and plot. Lochnafoy may have won the prize for the most brutal serial killer, but it lost the jury prize for creating any sort of drama with its subpar suspects.
The most disappointing aspect of The Loch is it's flat, stagnate characters. A collection of colorful and mysterious characters is essential in order to make a murder mystery succeed. The Loch's characters are stereotypically shifty, shady, and stale. They all feel like cartoon versions of real people: there's no authenticity about them but they resemble reality just enough to allow you suspend your disbelief partly. The characters are less Broadchurch and more Emmerdale.
The best character in entire program is the loch itself, Loch Ness. The location and scenery adds an ominous, moody aura around the fictional town of Lochnafoy. It's the perfect atmospheric setting for a dark and dangerous murder to hide. And as director Cilla Ware continues to shove down our throats in all promotional material about the loch's metaphoric role, "On the surface, everything seems fine but underneath there’s something really rather nasty."
Overall, the only thing that will keep me coming back to this program is my love for the Highlands and my inability to not know what happens-- even if it anticlimactic.
The Loch airs on Sundays at 9pm on ITV