by Kathleen Costa
ACORN-TV earns 5+/5 Brilliant Detective and Crime Drama Programming!
ACORN-TV continues to provide hundreds of the best programming options 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 or annual subscription fees are very reasonable and with hours of commercial-free streaming enjoyment for the true anglophiles, you won’t be wondering, “What’s on the telly tonight?”
On my ‘telly’ there are several new and acclaimed programs along with rebroadcasting fan favorites making Acorn-TV a great streaming option for me. From the police station to the courtroom, from London to Loch Ness, from a few laughs to serious nail biting they have programs that will entertain all interests.
These British imports are highly recommended. They are light and dark in their treatment of crimes and misdemeanors with lead detectives that are realistic, intuitive, often calculating and in their own way, endearing. Several of these longer running shows have all episodes available making it very enjoyable to start from the beginning to see the personal and professional growth manifest itself. Although some of the supporting cast has a change or two, I find reasons to watch them all…over and over and over again!
It’s nice to have a little comedy in your drama…
Hamish MacBeth earns 5/5 Scottish Bagpipe Serenades! Hamish MacBeth began airing on June 26 bringing back the twenty episodes first aired in 1995-1997 with Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty, Once Upon a Time) starring in the title role. The characters and several story lines are based on M.C. Beaton’s novels following the mostly lighthearted investigations by Constable MacBeth who seems more interested in “keeping the peace rather than following the letter of the law.” The characters are delightfully quirky, relationships are tested, and characters leaving and new ones arriving makes for a marvelous experience sans the haggis.
Agatha Raisin earns 5/5 Amateur Sleuths! Agatha Raisin began airing the entire first season earlier this year starring the perfect casting of award-winning actress Ashley Jensen. The stories also based on M.C. Beaton’s novels following the delightful Agatha Raisin, a former London-based PR executive, as she ingratiates herself into the small Cotswold community she has retired to by investigating mayhem and murder of locals and visitors alike, all while fostering relationships with her hunky neighbor, a BFF single mother and an eager police detective. Agatha is a big favorite with her style and vulnerabilities making her endearing as she discovers a penchant for this detective thing.
Midsomer Murders: Part 2 earns 5/5 Chief Inspector Shields! Midsomer Murders began airing new episodes in its nineteenth season on July 17 with my new favorite, Neil Dungeon, returning in his sixth season as Chief Inspector John Barnaby. Murders plague Midsomer again with Georgian re-enactors and a ‘Ninth Symphony’ curse, but are no match for Barnaby’s understated manner. DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix) compliments Barnaby’s style with a more black and white perspective, and his youth makes for a delightful ‘younger brother’ dynamic. Playing out in the background is Barnaby’s wife Sarah (Fiona Dolman) struggling to pen her first novel. Starting as a historical fiction later, it turns into a historical murder mystery. Why not? With her husband the lead detective in the local constabulary, she has her own technical advisor at home.
Check out this Acorn-TV review KRL Midsomer Murders-x-2=4-ever Favorites
Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas earns 5/5 Mysterious Christmas Capers! Murdoch Mysteries Christmas Special aired on July 24 with a delightful mystery surrounding a Robin Hood style St. Nick that has taken on the personae of Constable Crabtree’s illustrated novel hero Jumping Jack. The story compliments the series with the brilliant steampunk-style inventions, signature clever contemporary references, and the continued endearing relationship between Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy). This is more than just a Christmas tale.
Pie in the Sky earns 5/5 Miniature Silver Pepper Grinders! Pie in the Sky is a delightful favorite with the entire forty-episode series airing with Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter) starring as Detective Inspector Henry Crabbe who finds himself on the hook with his superior (Malcolm Sinclair) to continue using his intuitive skills to investigate crimes instead of retiring and following his gastronomical dream of opening up a restaurant. His wife (Maggie Steed) encourages him to open up Pie in the Sky (named for his signature steak and kidney pie fans have called addictive), but is frustrated at times when he is called away to head up investigations into smuggling, theft, and missing persons and expounding on the charitable works of Alexis Soyer, the use of organic vegetables, and raising his own chickens for the best eggs.
When you need a bit of realism in your drama…
Vera earns 5/5 Wrinkled Raincoats, Pet! Vera began airing new episodes from its seventh season on August 7. First airing in 2011, it is based on novels of the same name by well-known Inspector Vera Stanhope (brilliantly portrayed by Golden Globe winner Brenda Ethylene). Through the seasons she mentors Detective Sergeant Joe Ashworth (favorite David Leon) and writer Ann Cleeves and follows the investigations of a somewhat disheveled Detective Chief Incurrently DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty).
Her detective-style is abrupt and demanding, pushing her team to uncover the truth without delay. She seems to always be impatient with someone slow to finish witness interviews, background checks, or evidence reviews (Poor DC Kenny Lockhart). She does show a soft side of concern for her team referring to many as ‘pet,’ ‘luv,’ or ‘sweetheart.’ This seventh season does not disappoint…very engaging investigations of drug trafficking, cold cases, secrets and murder.
Loch Ness earns 5/5 Psychological Profiles! Lock Ness, airing on June 19, is an Acorn-TV original six-part mini series exploring the dark side of the Highlands. Scottish Highland Police DS Annie Redford (Laura Fraser, Breaking Bad) is investigating the suspicious death of a local piano teacher, and when the coroner discovers part of the victim’s brain missing, DCI Lauren Quigley (Siobhan Finneran, Downtown Abbey) is brought in from Glasgow to head the investigation along with acclaimed psychological profiler Blake Albrighton. Then a human heart is found at the site of a teenage prank; one of the teenagers is DS Redford’s daughter and the other goes missing…it just got serious!
The journey is dark and deep, and there’s more to this community than the monster in the Loch. This is a marvelously engrossing series with intertwining story lines of department intrigue and family dynamics and with excellent acting from all, we have a great example of a British crime thriller.
Other programs that should not be missed…
All things Agatha Christie…earns 5/5 Iconic Detectives! Miss Marple, Poirot, the 1983 Partners in Crime, the Tommy and Tuppence Mysteries, and the 2015 Tommy and Tuppence: Partners in Crime are currently airing…classics and iconic episodes that are worth watching over and over again.
The Helen West Casebook, earns 5/5 Case File Notes! The Helen West Casebook, currently airing its three-episodes, is based on the novels of former crown prosecutor Francis Fyfield. This short series is not short on engaging drama following Helen West (Amanda Burton, Silent Witness) of the Crime Prosecution Service as she puts passion into her search for justice often in opposition to the authorities saying to move on. Her “Casebook” includes suspicious deaths, missing persons, and murder along with professional and personal challenges…all in the life of a prosecutor.
Jericho of Scotland Yard earns 5/5 Family Heirloom Pocket Watches! Jericho of Scotland Yard is airing the four episodes following Chief Inspector Michael Jericho (Robert Lindsay), “a respected, uncompromising and forward-thinking detective investigating high-profile murders in 1950s London.” There’s a bit of ‘cheek’ mixed in with the drama as investigations surround a local crime boss and police corruption.
Winter earns 5/5 Homicide Detectives Downunder! Winter has a pilot film “The Killing Field” and a six-episode Australian murder mystery starring Rebecca Gibney as Detective Sergeant Eve Winter. DS Winter is sent to investigate the murder of a young woman found at the bottom of a cliff, but discovers a hit and run victim and more crimes than one could shake a ‘boomerang’ at.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.