Acorn TV

“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…

“The Nest” brings subtlety and venom

“The Nest” (shown here) arrives Monday (July 13) on Acorn, giving us one of those couples we can all envy.
Rich, smart and attractive, they live in a gorgeous, waterfront home near Glasgow. And then … well, then they meet a woman who has a mysterious past and nothing to lose.
Parts of that plot could describe many movies. This could be “Chloe” with Amanda Seyfried or “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” with Rebecca De Mornay or countless others. Storytellers love to start with perfection, then stir things up.
But “The Nest” has the advantage of time and detail. It’s a five-hour story – the first two hours debut Monday on – with the time to provide depth to each character, while spinning them through fresh detours. Read more…

Stuck at home? Here are some strong choices

As the virus shutdown continues, it’s time to dive deeper into the TV pool.
I’m guessing you’ve already found some of the streaming giants, from Amazon’s marvelous “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” to Netflix’s deeply observant “The Crown.” But now let me offer some of my personal preference to dig through.
A few are coming up quickly – the first half of a nature gem (shown here) on Monday (March 23), the season-finale of “This Is Us” on Tuesday. Most, however, are easy to find; here they are, in five chunks: Read more…