by Kathleen Costa
AcornTV can be a life-savor when rainstorms rage outside and power goes out. I still have my trusty iPhone, iPad, and computer for several hours (times three) to stream my favorite shows from this decade or several decades in the past: intense detective drama, quirky cozy mysteries, laugh-out-loud comedies, and informative documentaries. For me, it’s a reasonable membership fee (monthly $6.99; annual special $69.99), one my budget can easily handle. Along with new and classic programs being added regularly, many new seasons have been airing lately like Bloodlands (2), Whitstable Pearl (2), The Larkins (2), and The Madame Blanc Mysteries (2). Rain, rain don’t go away!
The Madame Blanc Mysteries has returned for a second season with Sally Lindsey again cast as Mrs. Jean White (aka Madame Blanc). Since being entangled in the black market antique trade, the murder of her husband, and other odd, suspicious deaths, Jean’s made many friends since moving to Sainte Victoire, France: the local gendarmerie Inspecteur André Caron (Alex Gaumond), taxi driver Dom Hayes (Steve Edge), the pub owners Niall and Celine Connor, the local garage owner Gloria (Sue Vincent), and wealthy Judith and Jeremy James (Sue Holderness, Robin Askwith) who own the chateau. Jean sold the infamous emerald ring she inherited in season one, and opened her own shop, Brodeur and White Antiques, with partner Charlie Brodeur (Sanchia McCormack), who herself suffers due to her wife, Simone, being to jail for art forgery. Between them, though, they are expert in any era, any style, and any artist, and usually know the history, scandal, or gossip attached to a particular piece.
Of course, Jean’s determination to solve her husband’s murder and avoid incidents that seem to target her, had her becoming closely involved with the officials in charge and proving to be quite an asset. Dom is more than just the taxi driver, chauffeuring her around, he is a good friend and partner in exploring crime scenes, interrogating witnesses, and coming to her rescue. But, in truth, it’s Jean who comes to the rescue of many of her friends who otherwise might find themselves in jail or the morgue: (1) Caron is accused of his wife’s murder, and Dom’s Uncle Patrick has yet to give up old habits, (2) Jeremy discovers on his boat the dead body of a domestic to a famous chef, and a witness is victim to a hit and run, (3) a cold case, rumors of a hidden priceless treasure, and an almost fifty-year-old murder causes more anguish and murder, (4) an abusive man gets his comeuppance, and his son is arrested, (5) Jean’s friend is victim of several attempts on his life, and a stalker is in the shadows, (6) music legend is murdered in a locked room, and the record company finances are questioned, (7) local robbers cross the line to murder, and Cooper, Gloria’s new beau, is incriminated. There are snippets throughout the series of the danger targeting Jean due to her involvement uncovering a killer and spoiling a lucrative scheme from season one … revenge, it seems, is a dish best served cold!
Earns 5+/5 Hidden Gems! I love the premise of an ex-pat in France, expert in the antiques and art world, and one who easily falls into friendships with the a diverse cast of characters. The village of Sainte Victoire (film location is Malta & Gozo) is portrayed as the epitome of old world France with its cafés, stone walks, small streets, and gathering places set on the shores of a crystal blue sea. Several speak French (translations are available), drink French wine, and even serve up a nice beef bourguignon adding to the ambiance. It feels, however, too short at about 45-minutes an episode. I’m used to 60 to 90-minute mysteries, providing more time to delve into the characters, so I’m left a little wanting for more in the stories.
Art and antiques are a fascinating element offering some interesting Google-worthy information: Eastern European legend explaining why a spider decorates a Christmas tree as well as being introduced to a cake comb, kintsugi pottery, and Faberge flowers, and learning about peacock and snake symbolism, seventeenth century cabinet makers Roentgens as “trailblazers … mavericks in mechanical ingenuity,” and the most intriguing was fortune teller, contract poisoner, and purveyor of sorcery “La Voisin” who was executed as a witch in 1680 (that’s what you get when you try to implicate the King’s mistress!). I am eager for season three!
Be an AcornTV member! Enjoy these Dramatic Gems!
Bloodlands. The first and, now, second season airs with James Nesmith (Murphy’s Law) as Detective Tom Brannick who is investigating a current cases appearing linked to series of missing persons’ cases twenty years ago that also included his wife. Season one is a prerequisite! Earns 5/5 Shocking Secrets!
The Clinic. Intriguing interpersonal relationships with secrets, backstabbing, and marital angst filling the halls of the Clarence Street Clinic while patients pop in and out of this Dublin clinic. Earns 5/5 Pub Shots!
single-handed. Sgt. Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) transferred from Dublin to the Irish coast and becomes entangled in a complex series of crimes that expose secrets and shed light on internal conflicts. Earns 5/5 Family Dynamics.
Fan Alert! Facebook has an Official AcornTV site which anyone can follow. They provide updates on new programs, countdowns to premieres, and some bonuses.
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