By Shari Randall
A few years ago, my kids gave me a subscription to Acorn TV, which I used to watch the Agatha Raisin TV show. As a tiny drop of rain can turn into a mighty flood, this small taste of streaming television has led to me trying the offerings of many different streaming services. Thank goodness most give a one-week free trial. Here are a few shows that I discovered – with trigger warnings for the discerning mystery viewer.
Agatha Raisin: If you’re a fan of the books, where Agatha is an insecure brunette former PR executive with little bear eyes who retires to the Cotswolds and tries, with little luck, to fit in, you might be disappointed in the new version. Ashley Jensen, who plays our Aggie, is a gorgeous blonde who is much more adept at navigating the social waters of Carsley than M. C. Beaton’s character. But if you simply pretend that it’s a new show called “Ashley Raisin” you’ll enjoy the talented cast, Cotswolds scenery, and snappy banter.
TRIGGER WARNING: Blonde Aggie.
Mallorca Files: The scenery is the only thing prettier than the two leads. The mysteries, alas, aren’t nearly as attractive.
TRIGGER WARNING: I didn’t watch enough episodes to find any overarching problems, except that you may empty your bank account to buy tickets to this stunning island.
New Tricks: Following a drug bust disaster videotaped and shown on TV, a disgraced, but ambitious and talented female detective is given a last chance to save her career: run a cold case program staffed by similarly problematic police officers called back from retirement. The Unsolved Crime and Open Cases files offer meaty problems for the underrated crew of Sandra Pullman and “the boys” to unravel. This well-written BBC show was so popular it ran for 13 seasons.
TRIGGER WARNING: Occasional mature images, themes, and lots of British swearing. Often subtitles don’t help with the very entertaining, but occasionally opaque, slang.
Lupin: Quelle surprise! I had a few complaints as plot holes and storyline issues you could drive a bateau mouche through popped up, but in the end I stuck with the show and am so glad I did. Inspired by the adventures of Maurice LeBlanc’s Arsene Lupin novels, gentleman thief Assane Diop takes on a French billionaire in an attempt to avenge his father’s death. (I can’t say more – no spoilers!) The actors’ charm and panache, the Parisian setting, and the way elements of the classic Lupin books are woven into the story are as delightful as an airy mousse au chocolat. It’s all a bit over the top, the characters have plenty of TDTL (Too Dumb To Live) moments, but there’s so much style and warmth on screen, you’ll be hooked.
TRIGGER WARNING: Those plot holes may have you tearing your hair out. Plus, my French is rusty, but I want to watch the untranslated version to see if all the F bombs are in the original. If this is a trigger for you, prenez-garde.
Brokenwood: My new favorite show. Some have called Brokenwood “Midsomer Murders transported to New Zealand,” but there’s a special charm to this show and its lead, Senior Detective Mike Shepherd, a laid back, country music loving wine aficionado. The New Zealand setting and culture are spectacular, and the mysteries are top notch. The special sauce for Brokenwood is the way supporting characters, even very minor ones, pop up in episode after episode. Trudy, Jean, Frodo…you’ll see what I mean.
TRIGGER WARNING: Only seven seasons.
What new shows are you watching?