Janet King: The Enemy Within (Acorn TV 2014-Present)

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Airing from down under is Australian television show Janet King, now streaming on Acorn TV through my Amazon subscription. Marta Dusseldorp, when not filming A Place to Call Home, plays a prosecutor.  After returning from maternity leave, having twins with her partner, she is thrown back into work and struggles to adjust.

At one point Janet King is called a dyke in the show by another employee, which frankly shocked me. Eventually the character apologized. However, that was not the only ill-spoken reference to Janet’s lifestyle during the series. Be warned, you may see and hear a lot of prejudice aired and spoken on the subject of lesbianism.

Apparently the term for one in her position is a “crownie.”  No she’s not drinking a king of beer or eating a baked good.  Crownies are solicitors who get to wear those funny wigs in court like they do in the U.K.  Frankly, as a U.S. citizen, I really think the attorneys in the states should wear wigs just to humble them a bit.  Can you imagine Perry Mason going to court with a wig on his head?  Well, maybe not.

The series focuses on a controversial case involving a senior ranking police officer and the corruption that is ripe within the judicial system and police involving child pornography. It is filled with court scenes, office politics, political bullies, gay prejudice, criminals, and victims.  I should warn you, however, that the story about child pornography can be disturbing as well as child sexual abuse. It’s not for the faint of heart.  However, as Janet King digs deeper into the mire and uncovers the truth, it stirs up a bees’ nest of nastiness and danger.

I wouldn’t say that the show is as gripping as some others, on the other hand I wouldn’t put it on the shelf and bypass it either.  You may find it intriguing as the layers are peeled back and the culprits are revealed in this sad story of exploited children. Unfortunately, I do think they overstep the boundaries of the subject by showing pictures of children semi-dressed found on a porn website and also a voice clip of a man sexually abusing a child and the little girl’s reaction. If you’ve ever experienced the horror of being violated as a young girl, this could very well trigger a response. Be careful.

As usual, the down under accents are comforting to my American ears, mate.  It’s worth the watch if you’re into this type of office politics, legal mumbo jumbo, and court drama.

A Place to Call Home (Australian TV 2013 – Present)

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Stars: Marta Dusseldorp, Noni Hazlehurst, Brett Climo

To my downfall, I ordered Acorn Television subscription service on Amazon. I’m a junkie and this is a HUGE fix for me to jump into a world of the best of British, Australian, and New Zealand television on the planet. The Aussies are proving to be just as good as the Brits when it comes to television, and A Place to Call Home is a great example.

I recently devoured Season 1, 2, and 3. Season 3 only has three episodes posted on Acorn, but I’ve hit their Facebook page for further updates since the show is continuing to air.

Nevertheless, enter post-World War 2 in Australia, where people who have suffered its ravages have recovered as best they could. It’s the early 1950’s and life is relatively simple in a small town. The nearby big town is Sydney and is referred to as “the city.”

Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp) is the focal point of the story line. She is a nurse returned home to see her mother and aunt. However, Sarah’s mother hates her for converting to Judaism to marry a Parisian Jewish man that she fell in loved with during pre-WW2. They lived in Paris, and when the Germans invaded, their lives turned into a virtual hell. Sarah, believing that her husband was killed during the war, attempts to rebuild her life in Australia. She is haunted, however, by her own suffering having been prisoner in Ravensbruck.

The other central point of the story is the Bligh family, who are the rich land and sheep owners of their district. They live in the big house, and the family is literally run by the matriarch mother, Elizabeth Bligh, a widow. Her son George, and grandchildren live at the estate. Elizabeth has one goal in life and that is to protect the family name whatever the cost. When an impending scandal threatens everything, she vainly attempts to fix everything and ends up alienating everyone.

The series is a multi-plot line of individual lives. The themes of class structure, homosexuality, anti-Semitism, and other issues are at the forefront. The major pain in the neck is Elizabeth Bligh. When you are about to slap the woman in the face, she finally finds an ounce of redemption. Then the writers bring in even a bigger pain in the neck, Regina, who you will absolutely loathe.

It’s another good series to get sucked into. I suppose you could call it the Dynasty-type series from down under.