For TV viewers, the coronavirus impact brings some good news, plus more bad.
The good: Two screening services – Acorn (including a flashy new “Miss Fisher” mystery, shown here) and Sundance Now – have extended their free trial period from seven days to 30.
And the bad: Some shows are being delayed. FX is pushing back “Fargo”; Showtime has some shows going ahead and others not.
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When people spend more time at home, that stirs interest in the streaming networks, both large – Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Hulu – and specialized.
Now two networks have extended their free-trial period from a month to 30 days. Acorn is $6 a month, Sundance Now is $7 and both are $60 a year,
Acorn began with British shows and has a rich collection, led by “Doc Martin” and “Line of Duty.” With new competition from Netflix, it has ranged further. It recently added the intense Irish mini-series “Blood”; the giddy Australian movie “Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears” arrives Monday (March 23), with “Deadwater Fell” – a British mini-series with David Tennant and Cush Jumbo – on April 6.
Sundance Now has some shows that have aired on other American networks – “State of the Union,” “Riviera,” “Little Drummer Girl” – and many that haven’t, including “A Discovery of Witches.”
FX had planned to launch the fourth “Fargo” mini-series on April 19. Now filming has shut down after shooting eight of the 10 episodes; the network said only that it’s hoping this will air sometime in 2020.
Showtime’s news, by comparison, is mixed:
– “Black Monday” will slow its pace. The plan had been to air two new half-hours each Sunday, as “Kidding” did. But starting this weekend (March 22), the same episode will air at 10 and 10:30.
– Two documentary series have been delayed. “Outcry” was expected to start on April 3, with “Love Fraud” on May 8; they’ll be later this year.
– But other shows were shot well in advance and are ready to go. A new “Penny Dreadful” – this one set in 1938 Los Angeles and rippling with Mexican-American folklore – starts April 26; “Billions” begins its fifth season a week later, on April 3.