Great news for Midsomer Murders fans. It’s been a long wait, but the Midsomer Murders Season 21 premiere is now in sight. When […]
Great news for Midsomer Murders fans. It’s been a long wait, but the Midsomer Murders Season 21 premiere is now in sight. When […]
Acorn TV has added a new English detective series entitled Queens of Mystery. It’s a quirky series that takes a bit of getting used to, but if you’re into dead bodies and murder in small English towns this is right up your alley.
Like Midsomer Murders, the local population is dropping like flies. Only this time, it’s not the priest of Father Brown, the handsome vicar in Grantchester, or high-heeled Agatha Raisin solving the cases. Meet three-crime writing authors and their niece, a regular detective out to solve the crimes.
The first two episodes revolved around the murder of a crime writer, at a crime writer’s contest convention. The third and fourth episodes focus on the reunion of a band, and the murders of its members. I could swear this storyline happened to be one like it in the twenty seasons of Midsomer Murders, although a bit different to fit this new mystery.
The aunts, Beth, Cat, and Jane, are all crime solvers because they are all best-selling authors writing murder mysteries of their own. They seem to also be connected to these recent murders in one way or the other. They are great sleuths and cannot pass up the opportunity to investigate. Maltida Stone is the young detective assigned to her hometown of Wildemarsh, England (another fictitious location). The young Matilda has an unsolved mystery of her own regarding the identity of her father, which question continues to pop up in the series.
What makes this series different is that it’s narrated, which can be confusing at first. Juliet Stevenson, who narrates the tale while you are watching, adds little tidbits about the past or what the characters are really thinking during the moment. At times it can be entertaining, but at other moments, a bit distracting. However, it’s what makes the new series unique. You may remember Juliet playing the wife of Mr. Elton in the 1996 version of Emma.
So if you love people being stabbed, poisoned, strangled in an English setting, this series is for you. It’s a good filler while Midsomer Murders is filming their next season. The series introduction is quite unique, as well, and kudos to whoever thought that intro up.
My first thought at seeing the landscape in this Australian outback setting brought a question to mind. How do people live in such a harsh environment? Wonderfully shot with some stellar overhead views of the vast scenery comes a crime mystery about two missing men on an outback cattle station.
Judy Davis plays a sassy middle-aged policewoman (Emma James) who is reluctantly paired with Aaron Pedersen (Jay Swan), an over-zealous detective. Emma is quirky and knows the town/area like the back of her hand, while Jay saunters in as the gun-slinging Aussie cowboy type in boots and a hat ready to get dirty and solve the crime.
The six episodes of what happened and who-done-its keep audiences well engaged in a mystery that unfolds bit by bit. Like a slow peel of an onion, the more layers stripped away in this mystery down a dusty road, the stinkier the core becomes. It’s a great show, well acted, and engaging. The Aussies are giving the Brits a good run for their money on this outstanding series.
Interspersed between the main crime are the sideline stories of father and daughter problems, as well as a drinking estranged wife. Add that to the brother and sister relationship and secrets from centuries past regarding their ancestors who settled the land before them, you have some good side plots.
Check out the series but bring bottled water. After a few hours of the dry Outback, you may get thirsty along the way or need a dish of ice cream to cool off.
Acceptable Risk, streaming on Acorn TV, is an Irish series that aired in 2017. It’s a drawn-out mystery, focusing on the life of Sarah Manning (played by Elaine Cassidy). Life is peachy until her husband is murdered, and she eventually discovers she married a man of mystery whose actions led to his death.
The story unfolds to a rather convoluted plot that includes corporate corruption, the Canadians getting involved in the investigation, the United States FBI, the local Dublin detectives, a sister, and unyielding Sarah absolutely determined to find out who killed her husband. Thrown into the mix are her children and their issues as she attempts to unravel the mystery shrouding her husband’s true identity.
The character of Sarah Manning at times comes off as obsessive in her search for truth but if it wasn’t for her tenacity the truth would have never been revealed. However, by the end of the series, Sarah became a prickly character that began to grate on my nerves. Nevertheless, you understand her undying motivation to face danger when others in the investigation have thrown in the towel and given up or been told to leave the matter alone or suffer consequences.
The villain of the story is the corporate head, Hans Werner Hoffman, played very coldly by Morten Suurballe. The man literally gives you the chills as the master of evil and manipulation. The other cast members do a fine job, coming in and out of the picture of the story, but Sarah Manning is the die-hard focus that will drag you to the surprising end of corporate greed and secrecy.
To be honest, I had to split this series out into two. Initially, I became bored and uninterested after the first few episodes because Sarah was getting on my nerves. It sat for a month before I returned to finish the series just so I could write you a review!
Since that’s the case, I wouldn’t call this series a binge-worthy watch but more of a slow and sometimes irritating trip to the end credits. Others, of course, may have a different opinion as it appears the series was an “acceptable risk” to watch. Whatever floats your remote, folks, is fine with me.
No Offense is a British television police show set in Manchester, UK (love Manchester). Season One is currently streaming on Acorn TV. If you love British crime drama, a variety of police types from DI, DC, DS, DCI, PC’s (you’ll just have to look all those acronyms up), you’ll enjoy this one.
DI Vivienne (aka Viv) played by Joanna Scanlan is the team leader. Her personality is a bit prickly, crass, and a go-getter against fighting crime, however, when the prime suspect is close to home, it’s time to burn the evidence and hopes her two close girls on the force are on her side.
The first season revolves around a serial killer who drowns girls with Down Syndrome. It’s the main focus of the show, but each episode carries small off-shoots of other cases. The department is well rounded out with great characters from those in plain clothes to those in uniform, which occasionally get their own screen time about their personal lives. The ending of Season One is a bit of a twister.
What always amazes me is this DI, DC, DS, etc., never carry guns. It’s only the uniformed police, unlike the USA where everyone is packing something, including the citizens. Of course, our knife stabbings aren’t as prolific as they are in the UK.
Well, anyway, I’m probably going to find season two because I don’t feel like waiting for Acorn to get around in a year from now loading the next batch. I find that I lose traction waiting for additional seasons to arrive on Acorn, BritBox, Netflix, etc. How can you really binge a long one with only six to ten episodes? It ain’t possible.
Season 1 – 3 Stars
Season 2 – 1 Star
Meet the dysfunctional family whose central character Leo played by Iain Glen. He is having an affair with his first wife, Gina, played by Dawn French. Twenty years earlier, he left her for a younger woman named Sam, played by Emilia Fox. At one time he and Gina owned a hotel, were both celebrated chefs. He now runs that hotel with Sam.
Leo makes a mess of his life when his current wife discovers he’s shagging his first wife on the side. When he finally decides to ask for forgiveness and confess his love to his second wife, he ups and dies by accidentally taking too much heart medication. He leaves behind a bankrupt estate, debts, children that no one knows about, and a convoluted mess of relationships. If that weren’t bad enough, Gina, his first wife has been holding onto a secret of her own that her mentally disturbed daughter, Teresa, is unaware exists.
The tale waffles between the odd and often strained relationship of Gina and Sam who attempted to keep the hotel afloat after Leo’s passing. They have their own secret buried in the backyard that will eventually come to haunt them. Joe and Sam have an 18-year-old son named Michael who has a nearly incestuous relationship with his supposed half-sister. It’s another storyline that plays out to a surprising conclusion. Among the two seasons an old lover returns, Gina’s father shows up who she hates, the police are investigating money laundering, and another secret in the closet that Leo has held quiet for twenty years emerges.
Season one was mildly entertaining in the fact that dead Leo narrates the story and occasionally appears to his daughter and Gina. However, when season two rolls around, the storyline crashes into the ridiculous, making me wonder what hallucinations the writer entertained The ending makes absolutely no sense, and if it were a book, I probably would have thrown it against the wall. Just when things are all coming together for the good of everyone involved, Gina goes off the deep end with no rational reason for her behavior whatsoever. By the end, her character and the audience’s relationship with her turns from tolerable to absolute hatred.
If you’re curious, give it a watch only if nonsensical endings do not get the best of you.
Striking Out is a series available on Acorn TV. It’s an Irish legal drama broadcast on RTE Television. It’s based on a variety of legal professionals (solicitors and barristers) and their professional and personal lives in Dublin. The show focuses on Tara Rafferty. Poor Tara walks in on her fiance, Eric Dunbar, shagging another colleague. Brokenhearted she breaks the engagement, while Eric kicks himself through two seasons for having lost the best thing in his life.
Among the storyline you are immersed in Tara’s cases, but also a larger sideline plot of corruption being investigated that involves her former law firm and all sorts of hidden secrets. Tara works alongside her mentor, Senior Counsel Vincent Pike, to uncover the dirty coverup. There isn’t a whole lot of internal courtroom drama, so you won’t have to sit through hours of testimony on cases.
Season one kept my interest, but season two really sucked me into the dark side of the hidden dealings of Eric’s father and newly formed love interests between the cast members. Trust is a huge issue, and the audience has no idea who to trust in this convulted storyline. Now I’m stuck waiting in limbo for season three! It better be back.
Below is an article on season two but beware the spoilers.
This is a good series to watch, and here’s hoping it continues to some type of conclusion in the future with the bad guys getting their due and love for Tara finally realized.
I’m usually more active tossing around popcorn kernels on my blog, but I’m the middle of editing my newest book, Lady Grace. It’s sucking the life out of me, giving me dreams, and making me cry. Here’s hoping nobody throws it against the wall when they read it.
In any event, when I’m focused on writing, my television addiction slows to a crawl and reviews may not be forthcoming. At the present time, I’m watching Lochness on Acorn TV, but each episode is released weekly. Sadly, I’ll have to wait to find out who is pulling out hearts and brains after they kill people. It’s a monster at Lochness but not the sea creature type.
In the meantime, there are plenty of old reviews to read. Happy binge watching, my friends.
Midsomer Murders waved farewell to a much loved veteran star of the show when Sykes, Barnaby’s beloved pet dog, hung up his lead and retired from the show at the end of the last series.
I didn’t know that beloved Sykes had gone into retirement until I tuned into Season 18 of Midsomer Murders on Acorn TV. To my horror, the dog is now buried in Barnaby’s backyard! I wanted to weep and quickly Googled to make sure Sykes (that cutie) was still alive and hadn’t actually crossed the Rainbow Bridge into doggy heaven. The talented pooch has gone into retirement. I, on the other hand, will be working well into my old age even in doggy years.
The furry friend has been replaced by a new dog in town named Paddy. In addition, a new Sergeant has arrived at DCI Barnaby’s side. Oh, the joys of parting bushes in the dark of night where lurking killers wait for their victims! I’m back to devouring British crime.
Apparently, Season 19 has been in the works. It’s a never ending village of gruesome deaths where residents quickly repopulate the quaint villages, replacing the deceased. It’s a wonder anyone is left.
Coming from way down under (think New Zealand) is a rather interesting crime show with a little country music to entertain. Love the NZ accents! Seeing that I actually have distant cousins in New Zealand (thanks to my 2nd great Uncle Henry who left England in 1860 and sailed to the other new world), I’m enjoying the show and scenery. Apparently, it’s filmed near Auckland.
Rather than the usual DI with deep emotional problems, we have a semi-entertaining character, Mike Shepherd (played by Neill Rea). He’s had four wives, loves country music, looks a bit scruffy in his clothes, could use a good shave and haircut, and drives a classic junker. Every time he’s in the car cruising down the highway (on the wrong side of the road to us U.S. folks), he has an old cassette in the dash, playing a country song. The show pretty much uses all country tunes as its backdrop music.
His partner in crime, Detective Kristin Sims, is played by Fern Sutherland. She carries the gun, gives a good chase after runaway suspects, and banters with Mike adding to the entertainment. They make a good team, and I’m enjoying a more lighthearted atmosphere after having left the grim Hinterland that ticked me off after the season finale. (I still have visions of that damn burning trailer.)
Brokenwood is a fictional location, small town, and everyone knows everyone. Reminds me of Midsomer Murders. Actually, you wonder after all the killing how in the world the population keeps steady. Of course, in this New Zealand version, there are no bushes being parted in the dead of night by gloved hands or peacocks screaming in the background.
As far as the mysteries, actually they are a fairly good mixture of who-done-it. Deaths scenes are not quite as bloody and gross and some shows — thank goodness. My guessing of the culprit has been off a few times, but as good detective shows go, they always get their killer in the end.
If you’re looking for another binge watch, you might enjoy this. It’s not as binge-prone as most shows because I can still wait to see the next episode at my leisure. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about a lot of others that drive me to post-traumatic series disorder (or whatever that make-believe mental disease I came up with a few posts back).
So mate, enjoy the country music and get on with it!