Acorn TV

Want scripted shows? Acorn has a bundle of them

Surrounded by reality shows, some viewers might start scrambling to find scripted TV.
That makes this a good time for the Acorn streaming service. On Monday (Sept. 18), one British mystery (“The Chelsea Detective”) ends its season and another (“Mrs. Sidhu Investigates,” shown here) begins. Three weeks later, a third one (“Harry Wild”) arrives.
All of those then go to the Acorn library, which is substantial. As the writers’ and actors’ strikes continue, this could be a good place to retreat.
This mini-streamer (at lacks the bulk of Netflix or Disney+. For a modest price (one week free, then $7 a month) it has a modest selection of new shows from other countries, plus that library. A few shows have been awful – “Cannes Confidential” seemed to be performed by runway models, unfamiliar with the English language – but most have been solid and entertaining. Read more…

Amid melancholy, a character actor soars

Defying the wise counsel of his career advisors, Adrian Scarborough became an actor – and a busy one.
He had subservient roles – the valet in “Blunt Talk,” butler in “Upstairs Downstairs,” chauffeur in “Don Juan in Soho.” He had bigger ones – Villanelle’s handler in “Killing Eve,” the iffy doctor in “Sanditon.” He played more doctors, plus vicars, a goblin, a bunny, a mole and Winston Churchill.
It’s been an enviable career, sort of. “You have these great character roles,”said Scarborough, 55, “but only for two or three days …. You parachute in, do a few scenes and don’t really get to meet people.”
Then came “The Chelsea Detective” (shown here). It’s a chance to dig into a person and place he finds fascinating. Read more…

“Signora” brings smart stories, Foxy fun

Sylvia Fox didn’t really want to go to small-town Italy for her niece’s wedding.
She had plenty of things to do in London. Working for the MI-6 unit, she handled informants worldwide; also, she had an ex-husband with benefits.
But after fuming at her bosses, she departed for the wedding. She would soon prove to be one of the greatest aunts in fictional history.
That’s the start of “Signora Volpe” (shown here), an exceptionally good mystery series. The first season – three movie-length tales – streams over three Mondays (starting May 2) on Read more…

Real-life police hero: no guns or quips or lollipops

By now, we’ve seen lots of TV cops.
We’ve met cops with attitudes, cops with quips, cops with guns or lollipops. Now meet Colin Sutton – the real-life Englishman at the core of two “Manhunt” stories (shown here with Martin Clunes as Sutton), the second arriving on
Calm and quiet, Sutton is like no TV cop, with one exception: “There’s a faint element of Columbo,” said Ed Whitmore, the series’ writer and producer. He “invites people to underestimate him.” Read more…

The British master old-cop/young-cop tales

American TV may savor the good-cop/bad-cop concept.
But in England – where crime shows flourish – there’s old-cop/young cop. Just ask Neil Dudgeon (shown here), whose “Midsomer Murders” is starting a four-movie stretch on the Acorn streaming service.
“I spent a lot of times as a younger actor, (paired with) a senior actor,” Dudgeon told the Television Critics Association. “And the senior actor would do all the thinking and be rather brilliant at solving a crime. And then he would say to me: ‘Oh, look, he’s run off into the river. Chase him!’” Read more…

The Brits (and their colonies) give us good mysteries

For more than a century, the British have mastered the art of murder mysteries.
Lately, some of their younger colonies – Canada, Australia , New Zealand – have joined in. And Americans … well, we get to watch them, at a time when they’re really needed.
Bertie Carvel, starring in a new batch of Adam Dalgliesh tales (arriving in November), points to Dalgliesh’s creator: “I think P.D. James said she thought people like murder mysteries because they bring order out of chaos …. That’s something we need right now.”
Lucy Lawless – producing and starring in the current “My Life is Murder” series (which is shown here, with Lawless and Ebony Vagulans – agreed. “It’s giving people a sense of justice. The world’s been so unjust for the last six years and people are hungry for it.” Read more…

“Bloodlands” reflects brooding beauty of Northern Ireland

The coastal expanse of Northern Ireland seems to be waiting for a tough murder mystery.
Now it has one. “Bloodlands” (shown here) opens Monday (March 15), for a four-week run on the Acorn streaming service.
“The idea came from that very distinct sense of place,” writer Chris Brandon told the Television Critics Association. He wanted “a story that really used the landscape of Northern Ireland.” Read more…

It’s charming-village time, yet again

A familiar story gets fresh twists in “The South Westerlies.”
That’s a mini-series that arrives Monday (Nov. 9) on the Acorn streaming service ( Despite a slow-start and an open-ended finish, it’s a journey worth taking.
And it happens to be a scenic journey. This is set in West Cork, an Irish area popular with tourists, with its jagged coastline and even a tad of surfing.
Kate Ryan (Orla Brady, shown here) used to love summers there, but now she’s strictly a city person, living in Dublin and ready for a promotion to Oslo. First, however, she’s assigned to spend some time in a West Cork village. Read more…