by Kathleen Costa
Acorn-TV provides an opportunity to enjoy hours of acclaimed, often award-winning, productions with excellent video and audio quality as a weekly appointment or a weekend binge for a very reasonable monthly membership fee. British productions are only part of the programming. Many of the shows with which I’ve become a serious fan come from “down under.” These Aussie or Kiwi gems have been top notch! Ok, the “G’day, mate!” accent is one that makes you listen intently, but one good thing about streaming is you can always rewind if you miss something.
Jack Irish Earns “Favorite” Status!
With an excellent Aussie cast and superior thought-provoking drama along with a pub and horse track, and satisfying karma, Jack Irish is one of my most favorite dramas here or “down under.” The deftly written combination of “comedy and pathos” woven with “humanity, people, and relationships” is accented by a cast that embrace their characters like it is part of their own make-up. The main dramas are contemporary and intense, but trips to the pub and horse track are the perfect respite. I highly recommend the entire set of telemovies and two seasons found on Acorn-TV!
Lights! Camera! Jack Irish!
The Jack Irish franchise has been adapted from novels of the same name by Peter Temple. First produced in 2012 as three ninety-minute telemovies, the background, character connections, and three very exciting storylines whetted the appetite of a very engaged audience. Bad Debts was the first to air introducing Jack Irish, brilliantly cast with Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential, The Time Machine), as a criminal lawyer with a very busy firm. With several cases on the docket stretching his attentions to only what’s in front of him, he tries to placate a disgruntled former client wailing about the personal consequences he suffered due to his lost case. Not realizing how close to the edge this client was dangling, he suggests cooler heads, but the man storms out of the offices. Then there’s a gunshot. Jack rushes outside to find his wife, who had just been visiting him, shot dead in her car. The client appears with a weapon in his hand, taunts him about “…you listening now, Jack?,” and pulls the trigger on himself.
Months pass. Jack, with a more scruffy appearance, has left the firm and is now acting as a debt collector for a questionable horse racing enthusiast. This leads him into taking on some private investigation gigs which then leads him into trouble he had hoped to avoid. He partners professionally and personally with an acclaimed investigative reporter Linda Hillier (Marta Dusseldorp: Acorn-TV Crownies and A Place Called Home), uses his connections with a grumpy, old-school cop, gets assistance from a few questionable characters, and finds refuge at the local pub and solace with his woodworking. All three movies are excellent and engaging!
Bad Debts Jack receives several messages from a former client including a final frantic call he later discovers preluded the client’s “death by cop.” He is compelled to investigate since the wife says he had earlier received a call indicating he might have been innocent of vehicular manslaughter. The investigation reveals land deals, developers, and perilous predicaments.
Black Tide Jack has opened up a new, yet small, barrister/solicitor firm, and a friend of his late father hopes to make a will cutting out his son. The son already had conned a lot of money out of his dad, but retrieving any of it is unlikely since the son has gone missing. The search sends Jack into covert federal police operations, the opium trade, and men with big guns.
Dead Point Jack’s tragedy is revisited when he is approached by an important judge, his former father-in-law. A snitch has gone missing who has important items in his possession in a red book. Finding it is imperative leading Jack into waterfront corruption, a men’s private club, and more blackmail at which you could shake a ‘boomerang.’
Jack, the Series, is Very Compelling!
Due to the popularity of the three telemovies, Jack Irish was expanded in 2016 to a six-part mini-series reuniting the original cast members and adding guest stars Claudia Karvan (Newton’s Law) and Jacek Koman (Moulin Rouge). With the added time to develop the storyline, it becomes more intricate, spanning events from Australia to the Philippines and back. Totally engaging!
Blind Faith opens with the destruction of a small village on Mindanao Island, and those with damaging evidence of the atrocity are in jeopardy. Jack is hired to find a missing brother putting him in the middle of murder charges, corporate shenanigans, and a charismatic pastor of an evangelist McChurch. Linda takes an “award-making” job in the Philippines, but finds heat, substandard working conditions, and a connection to Australia that could be her last report. The pub still offers a pint and a discussion of rugby history, and back at the track, Jack gains a four-legged roommate.
Jack is Back!
Peter Temple passed away in early 2018, so season two is dedicated to his memory. Acorn-TV aired in September another six-episode series that takes place three years later with Jack continuing, without much effort, to find himself in the middle of very perilous situations. The cast returns joined by psychiatrist Rory Finch (Danielle Cormack) adding complication to Jack’s commitment issues and runaway teen Gus (Tiarnie Coupland) challenging Jack’s paternal instincts. Absolutely engrossing!
A suicide? A missing courier? Once again Jack is unwittingly drawn into a perilous journey when he discovers the body of a young man missing for almost three years. Bent on finding out what happened, he runs into a questionable courier service, government corruption, an international university, a distraught father, and murder. While dogging bullets, Jack is also assisting in a sting operation to stop a crooked horse enthusiast.
Acorn-TV Streams a Trifecta of Bonuses
Behind the Scenes The cast discuss their insights and experiences with the show and its second season, Guy Pearce as “Jack,” shooting in India, and the wardrobe. Tweet Readings The cast reads a few tweets offering kudos and facilitating a laugh or two. “Jack Irish rocks the cardigan!” Wilbur’s Series Recap One of the “bar stool old guys” at the Prince of Prussia pub gives a delightful synopsis of all things Jack Irish!
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.