The Chelsea Detective

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…

Slow time for TV? Not if you like mysteries

Sure, the TV world is sputtering now. Summer line-ups are winding down; the fall ones are patchwork.
But let’s note an upside: This is a great time to watch mysteries.
A funny one (“Only Murders in the Building,” shown here) just started its season; a serious one (“Dark Winds”) began a week earlier. Another (“Justified: City Primeval”) is funny AND serious and violent..
Then there’s “The Lincoln Lawyer,” which just finished its split season. And “The Chelsea Detective,” which starts a new season on Aug. 28. Six days later, three shows – “Unforgiven,” “Professor T” and “Van der Valk” – all start their seasons on PBS. Read more…

Solitary, solemn Brits keep solving mysteries

As our TV sets fill up with British crime-solvers, some traditions persist.
At home, these people are solemn and solitary. That has continued – with occasional exceptions – from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot, Inspector Morse and more.
And it’s true of Max Arnold in “The Chelsea Detective” series (shown here), on the Acorn streaming service. “I think he’s a born-again melancholic,” Adrian Scarborough, who plays him, told the Television Critics Association. “Putting him … in the middle of the Thames, on his little houseboat, was very deliberate.”
That’s part of an overload of crime tales from England and its former colonies: Read more…