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: Longmire

Longmire is based on a book series that I’ve heard of but never read.

A couple of summers ago, Stud Muffin came home from work and said someone had recommended the Longmire television series to him. So we found it, DVR’d it, and settled in.

I was pleasantly surprised to find I genuinely enjoyed it.

LMWalt Longmire is the Sheriff of Absaroka County, in Wyoming. It’s a rural area, populated by ranchers, farmers, Native Americans. Crime runs from petty theft to murder.

The series opens a few months after Walt has been widowed and the search for his wife’s killer and justice are the over-arcing story lines for the first few seasons.

After three seasons on A&E, the series was canceled but then picked up by Netflix. I’m almost done watching Season Four, and Season Five will release in September.

It’s interesting to me that although Stud Muffin was the reason I started watching this show, he’s lost interest and I now watch it alone.

He doesn’t like the unrealistic events he feels the show portrays.

I think the story telling and writing are some of the best on television.

He doesn’t think the police procedural episodes are accurate.

I like the scenery and a glimpse into a truly rural way of life. We live in the “country” but in truth, we’re twenty minutes from Starbucks and shopping. Not so true in Absaroka County.

The stories often show the tight-rope walk policing a small community can be. And it’s a stark look at the realities of life on a reservation. The strict boundaries between the reservation and the rest of the county, the division between the tribal police and county sheriff. Who can investigate what and where. The boon a casino can be to the locals but the problems it brings with it. Not the least of which are greed and a thirst for power.

Walt makes mistakes in his assumptions, but that doesn’t stop him from working through to the best solution.

I also think the show is perfectly cast. Robert Taylor is an extraordinary Walt Longmire, weathered, worn, but comfortable with who and what he is. Lou Diamond Phillips as Walt’s friend Henry Standing Bear is the perfect mix of stoic and purposefulness. Katee Sackhoff as Walt’s deputy Victoria Moretti has grit and she’s tough, but she’s occasionally vulnerable.

I could go on and on, but do yourself a favor and try Longmire, if you haven’t already. And let me know if you’re with me or on Stud Muffin’s side.


Media Monday: Firefly

We’re often a bit late to the party so we just blew through Firefly and finished off our binge-watching with Serenity, the movie conclusion to Firefly’s one season.

We watch Castle, so I suggested Firefly as a Nathan Fillion summer show to watch.


Firefly was a 2002-2003 Fox Network show that lasted just one season of 14 episodes.

The setup: 500 years in the future mankind has moved from Earth to other planets. Some planets are wealthy, some are now populated with subsistence farmers and live like pioneers during the westward expansion of the United States.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds fought in a war for the losing side. The powerful planets banded together and forced the rebellious outer planets to join their Alliance. Mal now has an old space ship and a crew who flies around the solar system delivering cargo and passengers and sometimes getting involved in local issues.

Overall, we enjoyed both the show and the movie, Serenity, made in 2005 to give closure to its fans.

The show definitely needed a bit more time to figure out its focus and hit its stride. But I also see why it didn’t get picked up. The stories were sometimes clunky and awkward. I’m glad they were able to do the movie though, as it tied up several loose ends. If you watch Firefly, you’re going to want to watch Serenity.

I knew an episode or two of Castle had Firefly references, so I found a list of all the Castle episodes (I think there are four) with a wink and a nod to Fillion and/or his Captain Reynolds role, so now I’m checking old Castle recordings on the DVR so we can rewatch those and actually get the joke this time.