by Kathleen Costa
After almost a year of enjoying my membership with ACORN-TV, it is still a top streaming option. I have taken advantage of hundreds of the best programming including news & reviews, mysteries, dramas, comedies, documentaries, foreign language, feature films, and some programs only available on or original to Acorn-TV. The regular monthly subscription fee is very reasonable; I spend more on the price of “low-fat, caramel latte”! For this self-proclaimed Anglophile, I have enjoyed hours of commercial-free streaming, I never have to wonder, “What’s on the telly tonight?”
Acorn-TV is my “go-to” streaming entertainment, and with my Press Pass, I was thrilled to be able to binge watch the first nine episodes of the long-awaited return of Murdoch Mysteries. Entering its eleventh season and one of my “You are the Top!” for 2017, this show puts an exciting twist on the detective formula. Set in the early 1900s, stories revolve around the investigations, inventions and techniques, and interactions inside Toronto’s Station 4 Constabulary led by Detective William Murdoch (Yannik Bisson) and supported by his wife and city coroner Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), and Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris). Sprinkled with several delightful reoccurring and single-episode characters, fans are treated to clever stories often with engaging themes, historical cameos, and humorous references to contemporary pop culture.
Season Ten, an absolute must and also available on Acorn-TV, ended with the mother of all cliffhangers. A dead burlesque dancer under Murdoch’s protection winds up dead in his bed making Murdock the main murder suspect. Three constables covertly assisting Murdoch with the investigation lie in pools of blood after being ambushed in a rain of gunfire. Inspector Brackenreid is caught off guard and finds himself with a cocked gun at his head. Julia has been kidnapped. And Murdoch…languishes behind bars. What results? Months of anxious nail-biting and fear about which fan favorite might be dead, alive, or on death row. Take a breath…
YouTube Trailer for Murdoch Mysteries Season 11
Season Eleven Murdoch Mysteries Earns 5+/5 Turn-of-the-Century Brilliance!
Opening (Up From Ashes) we find Detective Murdoch stripped of his law enforcement credentials and sitting in jail unable to actively pursue the people who have framed him for murder. One constable is laid to rest, one is recovering from his injuries, and Constable Crabtree is in the morgue. Brackenreid and Julia are both feared dead, and corrupt Councilman Williams and ruthless developer Graham both show they hold all the cards. Penelope Marsh, a well-respected woman who has run constabularies in London, is brought in to keep Station 4 Constabulary out of the investigation game, and Detective Llewelyn Watts, not initially caught in the scandal, is uniquely positioned to continue where Murdoch left off. So, the investigations moves forward…quietly. Ok, there’s more to the season, eighteen episodes in all, so uncover your eyes! The main characters are fine, but how that comes to pass, how the killers are made public, and the joy to see them squirm is all part of the fun.
The rest of my weekend binging kept me engaged, googling facts behind the fiction, and even providing a few giggles. Along with each 45-minute episode’s murder or mayhem to solve, sometimes incorporating real-life people, a few issues weave throughout. The spotlight is on racism with Julia’s assistant, now Dr. Rebecca James, trying to find a full-time position as a doctor. The tabloid side of journalism is explored with reporter Louise Cherry’s sensationalist approach often interfering with reporting facts and truth. Julia’s fertility concerns put her in search of a remedy with a possible pioneering hormone therapy. There’s love, friendship, goodbyes, and hellos…all great fun!
Counterfeit wines (Merlot Mysteries) turn to homicide including interesting insights into wine labeling and the clever idea that Murdoch invented a new corkscrew.
Helen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell (8 Footsteps) add a bit of historical realism when a murder takes place at a dinner party presented entirely in the dark requiring one of Murdoch’s stereoscopic sound inventions to determine the killer.
Canadian physician and co-founding professor of Johns Hopkins is cameoed (Dr. Osler Regrets) spurring discussion on aging and the questionable tabloid practices by the press.
Constable Crabtree and Brackenreid’s son and new Constable go undercover (21 Murdoch Street, get the reference?) to find two students missing at a prestigious private school.
The newly popular automobile (The Accident) turns a traffic accident into a crime scene with tragic results for one reoccurring supporting character.
Obituaries have it backwards (The Talking Dead) when printed before two questionable deaths occur, then four more come forward with their obits in hand. Finding the lynchpin connecting everyone requires every bit of Murdoch’s critical thinking or Detective Watts might be a victim.
The 90-minute Christmas special (Home for the Holidays) incorporates a trilogy of entertainment. William and Julia travel across Canada to spend the holidays with William’s brother’s family, stumbling onto a murder with conflicts between local native tribes, and dealing with unruly preteens. The Brackenreid’s hoping to improve their financial situation invest in a new bond program with Charles Ponzi…we know how that turns out. And Crabtree and Higgins twist the truth a bit with their ladies about their snow-skiing abilities, and learning how to ski by being dragged behind an automobile has “this can’t go wrong” smirks all over it.
All ten seasons are available on Acorn-TV along with a new episode from season eleven added each week for days of marvelous fun. You can pop in at any point in the Murdoch Mysteries world and be entertained by clever, well-acted characters, engaging storylines, steampunk-style inventions, puns and plain fun…and even a few more cliffhangers. This just may be at the top of my best for 2018!
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