JOYFULLY ADDICTED

Times being as crazy as they are, we have needed to find escape. When I was younger, this would have been books and more books. Then, more books on top of that.

My eyes are not happy reading text these days. Maybe its the millions of hours I spent reading throughout my life. Maybe it’s too many hours in front of computer monitors. Or maybe I’m just moving along with the years. I continue to read, mostly via audiobooks. I still read text when I can’t get an audio version of a book, or it’s short enough to not bring on eye strain. And there are books that don’t do well as audio, especially when you need reference materials, maps, and other support documents.

While I’m immersed in audiobooks, Garry puts on headphones and enjoys all the television shows he likes, but I don’t. We get to be together, yet separate. It might not work for everyone, but it works well for us.

When I’m done with my book of the day, we move into whatever current shows we’re watching. Not very many of them. We tried to count them the other day and discovered it might add up to a dozen, including shows that are not currently on the air, but will be in whatever their next season is.

A few months ago, I signed up for Acorn TV. They were just starting out and were doing a ton of advertising. We had gotten pretty far along watching “MidSomer Murders” on Netflix. When I saw that Acorn had several more years of the show available — and they had Poirot and Marple and “Murdoch Mysteries” and a lot more of them than any of the other channels, I bought a full year for $50. Now, I wish I’d bought two years.

We watched the entire series of “MidSomer Murders,” and then got one more year with another still to come. We watched all of Poirot and Marple, moved through “Murdoch.” We followed with “Foyle’s War,” which was brilliant, possibly one of the best shows we’ve ever watched. “George Gently” was next and that was great. After that we wandered a bit, finally landing in Australia.

“Crownies” and “Janet King” which were different stages of the same story and many of the same actors. Both were really good, but as do all things, we ran out of shows. Especially because we find it difficult to stop watching after we start. Still, we could stop watching … until we stumbled into “A Place to Call Home.”

I was reluctant to suggest it because Garry has a deep and abiding passion for murder mysteries. If there isn’t at least one or two corpses per show, he usually feels cheated. The star of this show — Marta Dusseldorp — was also the star in “Crownies” and “Janet King,” so I thought he might like it despite an absence of murders and crime-solving.

Within one show, we were hooked. The only reason we stop watching is because it is so late, we have to go to bed. How in the world did we get utterly addicted to an Australian melodrama?

It turns out that addiction to “A Place to Call Home” (known locally as APTCH), is a well-known phenomenon in Australia. People can barely hold themselves together until the next show comes out. We have been lucky enough to be able to fully binge on a thoroughly bingeable show. For the entire time we are watching, we forget completely about politics. We aren’t worrying about the state of the nation or what trauma our government has in store for us. We get to live in the moment, even if it’s just until we run out of shows.

There will be more shows. I’m sure of it. We have the whole British Empire of television to watch.

31 thoughts on “JOYFULLY ADDICTED

  1. Hi there ! I never normally do this but I had to comment and tell you how much I adore your blog! I just came across it now and I am so happy I have, it is so wonderful and you truly have a great blog. I am going to follow you so I can keep up to date with all of your latest posts. Keep up the great work!

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  2. Evenings at the Angloswiss: Mr. Swiss watchung Tv and me sitting in my stressless chair reading on my Kindle. I am still ok with reading but have never had an audio book, although I have heard that The Rivers of London Series are perfectly spoken. I have seen bits and pieces of Midsummer Murders but neither Mr. Swiss nor I really love them. At the moment Mr. Swiss is watching the latest Harry Bosch series and has a series of Fargo waiting. And I have a look in between but prefer my Kindle. I have told Mr. Swiss about APTCH and he will be on the lookout for it.

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    • Bosch is waiting for us. It’s such a short series, that we are saving it. That is a really good one! I suspect one of the reasons it is so good is that the author of the original series, Michael Connelly, is VERY involved in the story and writes or edits the scripts. This is one of the reasons the show is so “off” then “on.” In between producing Bosch, Connelly has to write a few books. That’s where his income comes from!

      The main character IS his character and I like the TV version much better than I like the original book guy. He is less brutal, more mental … and very smart. The audiobooks for the last few Connelly books use as narrator the same actor playing the character on the show.

      Some actors (but NOT all) can be terrific narrators. A few don’t get it, but those who do are amazing.

      Dustin Hoffman has done a couple. Timothy Dalton is doing a series and I never realized what a beautiful voice he has.

      I like the audio versions of Rivers of London very much. The narrator has the language pattern and it improves the book. I wish they would do the early Mike Carey books with a better narrator.

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    • We LOVED it. I think it was the most FUN of all the shows we’ve watched and the music was GREAT. In fact, it was SO good (and I think there’s another year coming in the next few months), I may have to write about it by itself. The MUSIC on that show was that perfect blues-ragtime music of the period, which I’ve always loved.

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    • If you can afford it, get Acorn. There’s SO MUCH to watch and compared to Netflix, it’s cheap. Many if not most of the shows are like little movies — around 71 to 90 minutes. The Canadian ones are more like ours.

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  3. So pleased you found a few Aussie shows to feed your addiction!
    We get most of the British ones you mention on free-to-air, and I agree with you about Foyle’s War. Am now watching it for the second (or maybe third) time. Midsomer Murders – liked the later series with Neil Dudgeon as John Barnaby better than the earlier ones with John Nettles as Tom Barnaby. Have you seen the British show ‘Broadchurch’?

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    • Foyle’s War was not only beautifully written, but the performances were outstanding. I wasn’t happy with the last year of it, but until then, it was special. I am sorry they didn’t continue it.

      I liked John Nettles, but I think you are right, Dudgeon is livelier and the show has become a little less “gentrified” and a little more modern, which suits it.

      We have Broadchurch, but haven’t gotten to it yet. We will.

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  4. I am a late coming into this typenof addiction. To be fair, after my graduation and kick starting my career, only then did I discover this addiction. When I finally discovered Breaking Bad, it was old according to a few. I watched the entire series on two weeks, along with everything else I was doing in life. Once it ended, my life felt empty. Then I discovered House Of Cards, again to some this was old, I watched it entirely in rapid 13 days. Now my life is empty again…

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    • Worry not. There is SO much available on the WiFi channels, you are just in a temporary lull until you discover “the next thing.” We discovered a real enthusiasm for British, Canadian, and Australian-made series while we were on NetFlix. These Brit shows are longer and without commercials and have more complicated plots. Many of them are 90 minutes each, so you can really get involved. For us, getting Acorn made a huge difference. Although many of these shows were on Netflix for a season or two, on Acorn, they have the entire show, beginning to end. And there’s so MUCH stuff — and more is coming daily — it’s like a very deep well with all kinds of goodies down there, many of which we’ve never heard of until today.

      This is OUR first dive into this particular pond, too. Firstly, this only became available a few months ago and WiFi as a means of entertainment is relatively new, too. And while we were working, we were hard put to find any time to watch anything. It’s only now, in retirement, we’ve got time to spend.

      Isn’t House of Cards something else? When we first started watching the American version of it, it seemed insane, impossible. These days, it seems like some bizarre version of “normal” in politics around the globe. If you’ve seen only one of them, either the British or American one, watch the other, too. They are both great.

      What is really funny is that many of these shows which are rather better than almost ANYTHING on US TV? They are made by American companies overseas. I think the format choices there are better for them than here. Without all the commercials, there’s a lot they can do.

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  5. So you are able to get Murdoch Mysteries. I think that is one of our series here in Canada. Our former Prime Minister did a cameo in it one time.
    Leslie

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  6. You and Garry would fit right in at our house on a TV night. Foyle’s War is one of our favorites along with most of the rest you mentioned, although I have to admit not knowing about this APTCH thing. Will have to check it out. We also enjoy watching the British and then American versions of things…so fascinating, the differences. One example is Prime Suspect. We are also Connelly fans and since we drive 5 hours between two homes we often pass the time with an audio book. Some are absolutely terrific and the reader (performer?) can make or break a book. The audio version of The Help was spectacular. Another was The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl obsession. The movie fell flat and reading the book most people found boring but listening was a delight. (But then I might be one of the obsessed that book is about!)

    Back to current addictions…ours is Poldark. We think it might be triggering a past life or cellular memory 😉 for us as we have roots in the area it takes place in. But having to watch it a season at time is painful!!

    Totally different and a surprise to both of us is The Americans-pretty violent for me but it is so complicated and thought provoking it’s hard not to binge!!

    But still my all time favorite (James gave me the boxed set years ago) is West Wing, or for that matter anything associated with Aaron Sorkin. Have to keep my dvd player in good working order as I suspect I will watch that more often these days…and dream.

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  7. Surprisingly as it is an Aussie series I have not watched APTCH yet. I missed the beginning and I have to watch things in the right order so it is on my list. All the others you mentioned I’ve seen at least episodes of. David loved Midsomer Murders and I enjoyed it too even though I’d joke about what a dangerous county Midsomer must be. I love Foyle’s War so much I actually have watched episodes out of sequence. I’ve seen a bit of George Gently. The British do this sort of thing so well. You both might also enjoy “New Tricks”, “Vera”, “Jonathon Creek” and “Death in Paradise”.

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    • We all joked about how they must be busing new victims into town to take the place of all those dead locals. We got to see APTCH from the beginning, but you are right. You do want to see it from the beginning. It drives you crazy, but … it really IS the most addictive show I’ve seen since House of Cards, the American and British versions.

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