Monday, August 5, 2019

MURDER MOST ENTERTAINING



Instead of actually working on GDEs (the “E” is for “extension”) or updating business client books, I have been binge-watching the early “seasons” of the popular long-running British police series “Midsomer Murders” on Acorn.tv, going back to Season 1.

The show, which first aired in the UK in 1997, is based on Caroline Graham's series of books about Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Barnaby set within small English country villages in the fictional county of Midsomer.  As of this writing I have completed the first 11 series and am midway through #12 – completely through the tenures of Sgt Troy and Sgt Scott and into, initially Constable but by the end of 9 Sgt, Jones.

As Wikepedia describes, the show is "peppered with both lighthearted whimsy and dark humor".  Episodes also touch on the personal life of DCI Barnaby, with his wife Joyce and daughter Cully sometimes tangentially involved to some degree in the mystery settings.     

I first discovered this series when it appeared on the A+E cable channel many years ago, when A+E programs actually had something to do with art and entertainment.  Episodes have also appeared on various PBS stations.

I subscribe to Acorn.tv, an online “streaming” service similar to Hulu and Netflix.  Acorn is the publisher of DVDs of many British and other former “empire” country television shows and movies.  Acorn.TV “offers world-class mysteries, dramas, comedies, and documentaries from Britain and beyond”.  While I watch online, it is also available on a variety of devices including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku.  You can watch all seasons, or series, of your favorite shows going back to the very beginning.

In addition to “Midsomer Murders” the site has all the episodes of the “old favorites” like the Agatha Christie chestnuts Miss Marple (with both actresses) and Hercule Poirot as well as lesser known Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, “Inspector Morse”, “Foyle’s War”, “Prime Suspect”, “Rosemary and Thyme”, and “Lovejoy”, and more obscure and newer shows.   I have especially enjoyed “Blue Murder”, “The Last Detective”, “Murder In Suburbia”, “Vera”, “Agatha Raisin”, and “Queens of Mystery".

The shows are not limited to those from the UK.  Australian, Canadian, and even New Zealand tv mysteries are included.  Like “Murdoch Mysteries” from Canada (a police detective working in Toronto around the turn of the 20th Century using CSI-type technology to solve mysteries that often involve real historical figures), “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and "Miss Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries" (two more period pieces), “Mr. and Mrs. Murder” (about a married couple who run a crime scene clean-up business), and “Winter” (a Prime-Suspect-like procedural) from Australia, and “The Brokenwood Mysteries” from New Zealand.  Each week new shows, and new “series” of continuing shows, are added.

And it has “Doc Martin”.

In addition to the high definition quality, the best part of the subscription is there are no commercial interruptions.

ACORN TV offers two options: a monthly subscription ($5.99/month) and an annual subscription ($59.99/year).  You can go to https://signup.acorn.tv to sign up for a free 7-day trial. 

You can also watch "Midsomer Murders" free on YouTube -
www.youtube.com/results?search_query=midsomer+murders
and it is available on Netflix and AmazonPrime.

BTW – another great source of British television episodes with a huge inventory is https://www.britbox.com/us I enjoyed its original series “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco”.

FYI, I do not subscribe to NetFlix, Hulu, AmazonPrime, or other streaming services - only Acorn.tv and Britbox.

A special “Things No One Ever Told You” item - When star John Nettles, aka DCI Tom Barnaby, decided to leave “Midsomer Murder” after 14 years he was replaced by actor Neil Dudgeon as Tom's cousin John Barnaby, also a DCI.  But why did the replacement character have to be another Barnaby?  “Midsomer Murders” was known as “Inspector Barnaby” when shown elsewhere in Europe.  It was extremely popular, especially in Scandinavian countries.  So, there needed to continue to be an Inspector Barnaby. 

TTYL










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