Media Monday: BritBox and AcornTV

We disconnected the satellite TV a few months ago and are now streaming only. We still get live channels via YouTubeTV. Which we pay about the same amount for as what the satellite company offered to keep us. But we’d made up our minds so we declined their offer. With the streaming subscriptions, we’re saving about $100/month over what we were paying for a bunch of satellite channels we never watched.

Photo from DepositPhotos

We’re watching a lot of British and Canadian shows via BritBox and AcornTV, thanks to Amazon Prime. Which we had watched many of these already, but we’re back at it, and finding some new ones.

I’ve previously written about Murdoch Mysteries, a product of Canada. There were two new seasons we had to catch up on. And talk about a cliffhanger at the end of Season 14! I immediately had to check and be sure they were filming Season 15. Whew! They are.

Murdoch Mysteries

It took us a year to watch all of Midsomer Murders, and last week we watched Season 22.

PBS recently aired a new version of All Creatures Great and Small, based on the books by British vet James Herriot. We watched Season 1, then went back and watched the older series from the late 1970s and early ’80s. We’d read all the books, of course. Both the older and newer series followed the same book fairly closely.

After we finished the older series, we went back to Midsomer Mysteries, Season 21, Episode 1, The Point of Balance, when Christopher Timothy, the actor who played James Heriot, guest starred in Midsomer as Ned Barnaby, DCI John Barnaby’s father.

That was very fun to watch! Seeing an older “Herriot” and how he’d aged.

We tried Doc Martin. I had tried it a few years ago, at several friends’ recommendation, but just couldn’t get into it. Stud Muffin and I tackled it together and after a few episodes, decided we enjoyed it enough to continue. But as often happens, (and I’ve told him this), he gets me to watching something that I’m not really wanting to watch (American Idol, Survivor, Longmire, to name a few) and then I get hooked and he decides he doesn’t want to watch anymore. Well sure enough, around Season 6, SM got tired of Doc’s perennial jerkness and said he was done. I do see glimmers of him trying to be better, so I’ll continue with Doc on my own. One of these days.

We’re currently trying Father Brown. After the first 2 episodes, SM said he didn’t care for how the “writers” (he blames all story deficiencies on the writers, never the producers, directors, or editors) portrayed the police officers/detectives/investigators as “bumbling idiots.” I disagreed with him. We did take a break and caught up on Midsomer, and we’re back to Father Brown. He hasn’t complained again. I don’t think he’s changed his mind, but at least he’s not arguing with the television set.

Media Monday: Murdoch Mysteries

Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian television series with eight seasons.

Murdoch Mysteries
Murdoch Mysteries

Detective William Murdoch of the Toronto Constabulary works to solve crimes in 1890’s Toronto Canada. Dr. Julia Ogden is the coroner/pathologist. They spar, they flirt, they work together to put villains behind bars or into the hangman’s noose.

Friends from my local Sisters in Crime chapter recommended this series. It had several elements we enjoy so we decided to give it a try.

  • It blends fictional stories with real life people. Nikola Tesla, Harry Houdini, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have all made appearances.
  • It’s rooted firmly in the past but with nods to contemporary elements, much like the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies. Forensics and pathology and investigative techniques all play parts in the plots.
  • The stories/mysteries/crimes are well constructed, although it often falls into the usual TV trap of introducing the culprit as one of the first witnesses to be cleared, but then come under suspicion again later.
  • It has strong characters who spar and memorable secondary characters. Stud Muffin has taken to calling people “ye mucker,” like Murdoch’s supervisor Inspector Thomas Brackenreid.

We watched the first three seasonsĀ on Netflix Streaming. The rest of the seasons we’ll have to get from Netflix DVDs or the local library.

The things we don’t like:

  • Some of the attitudes of the characters are a bit too 21st century, and not true to late-Victorian era mores.
  • As noted above, sometimes the culprit is easy to figure out just because he or she was eliminated early in the investigation.

But those are easily forgivable. We’ve enjoyed the first three seasons and we’ll continue to watch. What are you binge-watching this summer?