Couples seem to “meet cute” in movies and TV shows.
Not this time. Instead, they nearly collide.
Two strangers are driving opposite ways on a narrow Australian road, neither paying much attention. Soon, one vehicle is upended; so are two lives.
That’s in “Darby and Joan” (shown here), the eight-part mini-series on the Acorn streaming service, with two parts each Monday, starting Aug. 8. It has flaws, especially in the early parts, but gradually clicks.
Sprawling across gorgeous Queensland landscape, this stars Bryan Brown, who’s from Australia, and Greta Scacchi, who’s … well, from everywhere.
She plays Joan, a nurse with problems: Her husband said he was in Madrid, then died in Australia.
He’s Darby and it takes a long time to learn anything more about him. They have nothing in common except age, diligence and lots of time to probe mysteries.
There’s the big mystery – what happened to this husband Joan thought she knew? — and maybe some questions surrounding Darby. And there are smaller mysteries tosolve each hour.
That’s the weakest part of “Darby and Joan”: Many of the one-per-hour mysteries are slim and sketchy, dependent on sudden confessions. It isn’t until the fourth hour (the second on Aug. 15), that we get a fully formed tale, with twists and peril.
Before then, fortunately, we’re involved in the overall story.
Brown has long been a steady, macho force in Australia. Scacchi has lived everywhere – Italy, England, Australia (where she became a citizen), the US. They are solid actors, the sort we’re happy to follow through some gorgeous countryside.