The streaming service Acorn TV in May will present the U.S. premieres of three international TV series, adding to its vast library of international shows.
Guy Pearce stars as the title character in Australian drama “Jack Irish.” The six-part first season debuting May 2 comes after a series of “Jack Irish” films also available at Acorn TV. On May 16, the second season of police drama “19-2” premieres on the service, followed May 23 with the U.S. premiere of the Irish crime drama “Clean Break.” Read more about the premieres below.
I’ve been an Acorn TV subscriber for a handful of years now, enjoying not only its excellent current international TV programming, but to play “before they were famous” when watching older series it streams. (You would not believe all the now famous British actors who have appeared in Miss Marple and Poirot mysteries and the long-running “Midsomer Murders.”)
The service is best known for programming from Great Britain, but it also streams shows from Canada, Australia, Ireland, Finland, France, Italy and Romania.
Recently, the service topped a Consumer Reports voter survey ranking 12 major subscription and pay-per-view services. In the survey, Acorn TV earned a higher rating than Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now and Hulu as well as pay-per-view/digital services iTunes and Google Play.
In the past year, Acorn TV’s subscriber base has risen 85 percent, reports its parent company, RLJ Entertainment. After earning its first Emmy nomination in 2015 for “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case,” Acorn TV will co-produce the upcoming ITV drama “The Level” and has secured North American streaming rights to the new BBC drama “The Secret Agent.”
But back to its May schedule, which includes appearances from Matthew Rhys, who currently stars in FX’s “The Americans;” Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of “Sherlock” and the upcoming “Dr. Strange” film; David Gyasi, who currently stars in The CW’s “Containment;”“The Hunger Games” costar Sam Claflin, and many other familiar faces.
You can view all of Acorn TV’s current offerings at the site here.
Acorn TV May 2016 schedule
Monday, May 2
6-episode Season 1, U.S. premiere
Guy Pearce (“Memento,” “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”) returns as charming antihero Jack Irish in this new six-part Aussie noir inspired by Peter Temple’s best-selling novels. When Jack is contracted to find a man with a criminal past who is then killed in front of him, Jack suspects a set-up. Meanwhile, Jack’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Linda Hillier (Marta Dusseldorp, “A Place to Call Home”), leaves Melbourne to further her journalism career as a foreign correspondent in Manila. (New episodes post weekly through May 30.)
Joan of Arc
2015 BBC documentary, exclusive U.S. premiere
Writer and historian Dr. Helen Castor (“She-Wolves,” “Medieval Lives”) explores the life and death of Joan of Arc. Joan was a legendary female warrior, but where amidst the legend is the real Joan—the teenage peasant girl who achieved the seemingly impossible? Hear Joan’s own words in a court manuscript from her trial, and follow along as Helen deciphers Joan’s true story.
5-episode Series 7
Created by Emmy winner and multi BAFTA award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern (“Cracker,” “The Street”) for the BBC, “Moving On” is a critically acclaimed series of stand-alone contemporary dramas. The series explores complex issues from addiction to depression, the life of a soldier’s wife to the pain of a loved one lost, lies that should never have been spoken to truths that are hard to hear. All are linked by the common theme of characters who reach a turning point in life … and then move on. The BBC One series first premiered in May 2009.
6-episode miniseries, 2012
An all-star cast brings to life the triumphs and heartbreaks of a generation of young people in 1960s Great Britain. Written by BAFTA award-winning writer Paula Milne, “White Heat” depicts a time of considerable political and social turmoil as well as the long-term effects of the tumult. Starring Claire Foy (“Wolf Hall”), Lindsay Duncan (“Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars”), Juliet Stevenson (“The Politician’s Wife”), Michael Kitchen (“Foyle’s War”), Sam Claflin (“The Hunger Games”) and David Gyasi (“Interstellar”).
Friday, May 6
The Road to Coronation Street
2010 TV movie
Learn the true story of the ups and downs of the creation of Britain’s beloved series “Coronation Street” in this drama starring David Dawson (“The Last Kingdom,” “Ripper Street”). Set in 1960s Manchester at offices of Granada Studios, young writer Tony Warren dreams of a unique TV program about working-class people, but he must overcome many obstacles to bring his idea to life.
Monday, May 9
Where the Heart Is
16-episode Series 4
Pam Ferris (“Call the Midwife”) and Thomas Craig (“Murdoch Mysteries”) co-star in this long-running UK drama set in a fictional Yorkshire town. Warmhearted and humane, the series follows a group of nurses who are fiercely dedicated to both their jobs and their families.
Moving On: Secrets & Words
5 episodes, 2012
Series of stand-alone stories about people whose lives are affected by reading or writing difficulties.
Friday, May 13
2009 film, part of Acorn’s Friday Feature movie series
Dame Margot Fonteyn (Anne-Marie Duff, British “Shameless”) was one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century, but at the age of 40 she becomes painfully aware that her time on the stage might be coming to an end. Then Margot is partnered with a young, up-and-coming young Russian dancer (Michiel Huisman, “Game of Thrones”) and captivates the world’s imagination once again.
Monday, May 16
10-episode Season 2, exclusive U.S. premiere
Compared to “The Wire” and “Homicide: Life on the Street,” this intense, 10-part, character-driven drama returns with Adrian Holmes (“Arrow”) and Jared Keeso (“Elysium,” “Falling Skies”) as partners in the Montreal Police Department who must put their differences aside as their lives intertwine professionally and personally. This Best Dramatic Series winner at the Canadian Screen Awards follows first responders beyond the crime scenes and into their own messy lives.
Sherlock Holmes & The Leading Lady
Christopher Lee (“The Lord of the Rings”) and Patrick MacNee (“The Avengers” TV series) star as the perennial favorite detectives Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in a series of suspenseful and gripping mystery movies. Holmes’s brother asks him to travel to Vienna to recover stolen plans for an electro-magnetic bomb detonator. The investigation leads Holmes to reconnect with a long lost love, but can he and Dr. Watson find the plans before the world is plunged into war? The stakes are high as Holmes continues his investigation for the missing detonator plans. When the thieves resort to murder to protect their stolen plans, Holmes knows he must find them before anyone else falls victim to their schemes.
Friday, May 20
2005 film, part of Acorn’s Friday Feature movie series
Michael Kitchen (“Foyle’s War”) and Penelope Wilton (“Downton Abbey”) star in this adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s novel. When author Daisy Langrish moves to a secluded country cottage to escape busy London-life, local gardener Henry Kent immediately takes a romantic interest in her. But having been through two divorces, Daisy is reluctant to put her heart on the line again.
Monday, May 23
4 episodes, 2015, exclusive U.S. premiere
Car dealer Frank Mallon (“Being Erica”) is watching his life fall apart around him. His wife has left, his cars aren’t selling, and his teenage daughter is out of control. When bank manager Desmond Rane (“Mr. Selfridge”) tells Frank he’s in financial trouble and about to lose everything, Frank devises a plan to fix his money problems while also getting revenge on the people who make his life miserable. Co-starring Damien Molony (“Being Human”)
Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls
At the king’s request, Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Lee) and Dr. Watson (Patrick MacNee) must transport the world’s most valuable diamond from Africa to London. When the diamond is stolen, the detectives must brave the African jungle to recover the precious jewel. Still on the hunt for the missing diamond, accusations fly and the truth seems nearly impossible to decipher.
Friday, May 27
2012 film, part of Acorn’s Friday Feature movie series
As England prepares for the 1952 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, two men meet by chance and are startled to find that they look exactly alike and trade lives. Starring Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), Andrew Scott (“Sherlock”), Eileen Atkins (“Doc Martin”) and Sheridan Smith (“Black Work”). Based on Daphne Du Maurier’s 1957 novel.
Monday, May 30
To the Ends of the Earth
3 episodes, 2005
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) and Sam Neill (“Jurassic Park”) star in this epic miniseries about a journey of ruthless ambition, elusive love and tragic misadventure. Based on the award-winning sea trilogy by Nobel Laureate William Golding (“Lord of the Flies”).