Friday, June 17, 2011

Mystery Series from Acorn Media

by Pat Gulley

Not so long ago I wrote a blog about the Murdoch Mysteries; a Canadian TV series that takes place in the late 1890s in Toronto. I rented the series from Netflix and watched two seasons and thought that was it. Well, there’s a third season, and I’ve got it ordered from Netflix. This series, like Rosemary & Thyme, are both excellent and I’ve always wondered why some network hasn’t picked them up. Friends have told me that R&T did play on their local PBS, but both Murdochs, the 2004 and 2008, hadn’t played in the USA at all.

            What alerted me to the 3rd season of Murdoch was an ad on a Midsomer Murder episode I was watching on Netflix that had a whole list of TV productions done by Acorn Media. I suddenly realized just how many mystery series (and many other things) Acorn has done that I absolutely love! As-a-matter-of-fact, when I finally found a complete list, I wondered if they did 90% of British TV. I’m sure they don’t, but they sure have done a lot of stuff I’ve watched, and loved, over the years, many not mysteries. I also found myself going to Netflix to search some of these shows out, only to find more and more suggestions until I had to quit, worrying that I’d spend days pulling up show and doing nothing but watching old shows forever. (Author opinion: Ain’t that the way of research???)

            I digress. So, here’s a list of “I’m thankful” for, and to tell you that if you are a purchaser of mystery series, then Acorn Media’s website is a treasure. Otherwise, Netflix does have most of them. One, however, was not. The Agatha Christie Hour, featuring classic tales of her lesser know sleuths, was missing and though I’m sure Tommy & Tuppence was on it, I wonder if Mr. Parker Pine was? No way to know without buying, but I’m not a buyer of movies or series.

            Here’s my nostalgic list of “wow, I love that show”. Midsomer Murders (18 discs—seems there are more), Murdoch Mysteries (3 seasons) Miss Marple with Geraldine McEwan, Blue Murder (with Caroline Quentin—remember her in Jonathan Creek? They have it too.) Doc Martin (I know not mystery, but come on!) Hetty Wainthropp, Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, Sherlock Holmes w/Jeremy Brett, Sherlock (the new one about when he was young) Inspector Lewis, Morse, Cracker, A Touch of Frost, The Last Detective, Cadfael, Life on Mars (the British version and the best), Rumpole of the Bailey, Foyle’s War, Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, Ruth Rendell Mysteries and Wallander. Wire In The Blood and Raising The Dead too, but not sure who did them.

            One I found but don’t remember is Oliver’s Travels. There were five episodes. Netflix does have it. Oh gosh, and another one: George Gently, better go order.

            Are you a fan of British Mysteries? What did I miss?


Ramona said...

Pat, I love the Masterpiece Mystery series. I've seen many of the productions you list. There is a new one starring Rufus Sewell called Zen that I eagerly await.

I got into mysteries reading Ngaio Marsh. Roderick Alleyn, the gentleman detective, remains my favorite sleuth ever. Miss Marple comes in a close second, though!

Joyce said...

I've really tried to like British mysteries because I feel like I'm supposed to, but I just can't get into them. I'm usually lost within the first fifteen minutes of the show and have no idea what's going on or what they're even talking about. Maybe I just have the attention span of a gnat.

Laurie said...

Pat, The series sounds like something that I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing with us. I have a slightly off topic question, and before I ask it, no, I don't still dial when making a phone call. :-)

What exactly is Netflix? How does it work,what are its benefits and how much does it cost compared to cable TV? Sorry for being such a dinosaur.

P.C. Hernández said...

I love, love British mysteries and you have mentioned quite a few that I was not familiar with. And I also love, love Roderick Alleyn. I think I have read all but one of Ngaio Marsh's Alleyn series. And once that one is read, I will miss him terribly.

Jenna said...

There's a TV series of Inspector Alleyn mysteries? How could I have missed that? I love those books! Is that on Netflix, too? I'll have to search for it. Thanks for the head's up. I'm off to do that now...

Gina said...

Wow, Pat, I love most of the ones I've seen on PBS, especially Cadfael - honest to Gosh, that's the first time I saw an actor (Derek Jacobi) walking around in a skirt without looking effeminate. [Guys do it in the Bollywood films all the time.]
Laurie - Netflix is a wonderful service [] through which you can get all kinds of films and tv shows for about $10/month or less. They will mail you dvds to watch, or stream them directly to you over the internet. Whatever you want. And they have very nearly everything.

Patg said...

Netflix is a rental company of movies. You can check it out on line and sign up for the plan that suits you. Cheapest is about $8.95 a month, but they always have introductory offers. It mails out the DVDs, you keep a list of what you want and they send them out and they give your a free return mailer. I instantly list all new movies to my queue. Green Lantern has been up since last year and it starts in theaters today. All plans allows you to stream some movies directly to your computer to watch. How you get it to stream to your TV, I'm not sure about, but the only person I knew who had it had a computer hooked up to his TV.
Joyce: Is it the language? I know I have to put the subtitles on depending on the accent, but since I worked for the British for years and spent a lot of time talking to foreigners, I do sorta have an ear for it.
Yes, Bente, there is a complete series for rent. I rented them all.
And it turns out I didn't see the complete set of Season 2 for Murdoch mysteries. I'm in 7th heavan because I also can look forward to season 3.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Great list of my favorites. I'm so glad you included "Doc Martin." That show is one of the best ever! I wish they'd make TV movies of Josephine Tey's books. The characters in the book I've just completed belong to a Golden Age of Mystery book club and discuss several of her mysteries.

Patg said...

I forgot to mention The #1 Ladies Detective Agency, which was made for British TV but never shown on TV in the US. The DVD is available on Netflix.

YvesFey said...

Thanks for the tip on the Rufus Sewell series, Ramona!
I love Brit mysteries, to read and to watch. Adore Jeremy Brett's Sherlock, though the new one is fun. A great Watson. Worship Foyle's War, the older Marple series. Love Wire In The Blood and wish it hadn't been cancelled.

Anonymous said...


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

A treasure chest of British Mystery information. I adore British Mysteries!

Jo P

Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE British Mysteries! I have all the Midsomer Murders and, now that I know that the others are on Netflix, I'll be looking for them too! Thanks for letting us know they are available!