Tag: Acorn TV

No Offense (Acorn TV 2018)

NO Offense

3 Kernels

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.

 

 

 

Delicious (Acorn TV 2016-17)

delcious 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 (Acorn TV)

4 Kernels

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.

**WARNING: SPOILERS**

Source: Striking Out season finale delivers ‘line of the year’ and leaves viewers on a cliffhanger

Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages (2014-2016)

Villages4 Kernels

I’ve been to England four times and often wished I could rent a car and drive everywhere visiting the little-known villages I haven’t seen.  How many of us have loved the photographs of quaint English country life and wished we could live in such an idyllic place?  I know that I have.

In all honesty, I’m not much for watching traveling shows, but this three-series wonder is an absolute gem.  Currently streaming on Acorn, I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to see the inner workings of these smaller communities.  At the present time, I’m only beginning Season 2 but have much more to see.

What is unique with this particular travel series is that while you’re riding in the car with Penelope to the next location, you know what is down the road is going to be as fascinating as the last.  So far I’ve traveled to Wales, Lancashire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Devon, and Cornwall, among other places.  Penelope immerses the audience not only in the village’s history but its people, architecture, challenges, and sometimes quirky celebrations communities hold together.  It’s a wonderful series that only deepens your longing for England.

The running time for each episode is 47 minutes. So brew a cup of tea, gather some biscuits and sit down for a wonderful tour of beautiful England’s landscape and its villages.

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Another series that is almost as entertaining if you’re interested in things regarding the monarchy, is Penelope Keith at Her Majesty’s Service also streaming on Acorn.  Here she visits the iconic locations and explains the unknown rituals that have continued on for centuries.

Episode 1 is at Windsor Castle, including a ride on the Queen’s barge.  Episode 2 visits Inveraray and Holyroodhouse, locations the royal family frequent. Episode 3 is on location in Northern Ireland at Hillsborough Castle and Episode 4 at Caernarfon Castle in Wales.  It’s another wonderful show for those who love all things English.

 

Line of Duty (BBC 2012-Present TV Series

4 Kernels

BBC films. Acorn TV posts. I binge.

It’s as simple as that scenario to keep me glued to my recliner. My latest binge, when I should be writing and editing my books, Line of Duty – now streaming on Acorn TV.

The show is from a different slant about DS Steve Arnott (a short man who has a lot to prove), who is transferred to the police anti-corruption unit after a dastardly stint in another. Series one focuses on the officer of the year, who tells enough lies to wrap himself up in a sticky spider’s web with no way out.  

It’s well done, well acted, just the right amount of suspense, not too boring that you fast forward, and keeps you guessing and entertained until a surprising and inconclusive ending.  I’m afraid to start season two because I will probably waste the entire day getting nothing done.

As usual, British television does it again. The show apparently started in 2012 and is now in season five in 2017.  I suppose that tells you it is good enough not to cancel.

Check it out if you’re a crime-crazy nut that would rather watch the corruption from inside the force, rather than the force fighting the corruption outside.

UPDATE:  As a side note, I’ve watched Season 2 and Season 3, and they continue to be extremely engagement, to say the least.  Great show!  Keeps you guessing.

The Brief (ITV 2004-2005)

Brief4 Kernels

Streaming on my Acorn television subscription on Amazon is The Brief, an ITV television series, consisting of two seasons.  Frankly, it’s too bad that The Brief was so brief being only eight episodes because I found it rather engaging.  The ratings apparently weren’t up to par on the second season, and the lead role of Henry Farmer, played by Alan Davies, left the show so it didn’t continue.

It’s based on a group of defense barristers, who sometimes end up prosecuting cases against their own co-workers.  Linda Bassett plays Maureen Tyler, the head of the legal group.  As stated in the Radio Times review, it is an “engaging blend of courtroom drama, suspense, intrigue, and humour” (or humor as us U.S. folks spell it).

Of course, like all other main characters who are either solicitors, barristers, or DCI’s, they are riddled with personal problems or destructive habits.  Henry Farmer’s downfall is gambling,  and the man has a definite problem.  He ends up homeless and bankrupt but manages to keep on his feet by living with others and taking tough cases that pay well.  Since I’m not privy how all this works in the barrister world, I’m in the dark on the wheeling and dealing of case loads.  He is not, by the way, a Silk, but he is good barrister nevertheless.  I rather like Henry Farmer’s character because he is a decent human being in spite of his habitual gambling.

I especially enjoyed each case, and the courtroom antics were actually intriguing rather than yawningly boring.  Of course, court process in the United Kingdom is a bit different than in the United States, particularly when it comes to wearing robes, special collars, and the wigs of horsehair that make them look like 18th-century blokes.  You must admit the long-time practice makes it look a bit more posh and formal than our United States courtrooms with our attorneys in three-piece suits.  If you want to know more about the practice, here is a good link to read.  CLICK HERE Then there is the matter of where they sit the accused in a box that looks like a perch from on high to see everyone involved. All the tables in front of the judges are taken up by the barristers.

If you are looking for a short eight 90-minute episode binge watch, this makes a good choice.  Oh, and by the way, you can actually understand what everyone is saying since the setting is the posh side of London rather than the back roads of Britain, Ireland, or Scotland.

Enjoy!

The Dark Ages: The Age of Lights (BBC Documentary 2012)

Dark Ages3 Kernels

Well, I’ve stumbled across another great documentary on Acorn TV from a rather colorful narrator – Waldemar Januszczak, an art critic. Once again, had he taught in my high school, I might have actually listened and learned.

Though he’s not as good looking as Dan Jones from Secrets of Great British Castles, he is entertaining in his quirky presentation and voice. Instead of crawling into dungeons, Waldemar has the habit of getting on his knees to point locations on a map. Besides the information you receive, this show is also an armchair travel event around the world to ruins, old churches, and museums that will astound you at every turn.

This utterly fascinating series brought to light a ton of information about lost civilizations in the Dark Ages and the contributions they left behind that were actually enlightening. The documentary is a four-part episode:

  • Episode One: The Clash of the Gods
  • Episode Two: What the Barbarians Did for Us (Huns, Vandals, and Goths)
  • Episode Three: The Wonder of Islam
  • Episode Four: The Men of the North

The first episode astounded me. The depiction of early Christian art and how it intertwined with the Roman and Greek gods is evident. It’s interesting to note how a young and rather happy Jesus morphed over the centuries into a very different portrayal of a suffering Christ.  Early Christian symbols and their explanations are also touched upon.

What the barbarians offered in the way of art and architecture gives an in-depth look into civilizations that rose and fell but left behind astounding creations. The portrayal of the barbarians and how they were demonized in story-telling throughout centuries has cast a dark shade of untruths. Especially the “Goths,” who we think of today as a movement into the dark side, when in fact they were Christians who created beautiful mosaic artwork telling the story of Jesus.

The final two episodes focus on the emergence of Islam, it’s architecture and science and contribution to civilization.  Then he heads north to the Vikings, and the Norse gods and conversion to Christianity. They were craftsman who also made their mark of enlightenment in the Dark Ages.

If you are looking for another documentary that might add a bit more entertaining instruction into your life, you might take a look at this series.

The Brokenwood Mysteries (Acorn TV 2014-15)

Brokenwood4 Kernels

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!

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