While the writer and actors in American continue to work out a deal before filming and writing of scripts can begin for the new season of television shows, as many TSLL readers know, there are plenty of quality series and shows to watch from the international entertainment community. Each Friday for the past 12 years, the This & That post is shared here on TSLL blog and is where I continue to share primarily British and French series as they debut and premiere, but also others of note – The Law According to Lidia Poët, for example – that offer quality writing, storylines and entertainment that are substantive, thought-provoking, and enjoyable without overt (and unnecessary) sensationalism (i.e. violence) or absurdity.
This post is actually long overdue, as readers have inquired as to where they could find a list or round-up of all the shows I recommend, and while you can always go back through the archived This & That posts, as well as French-inspired posts or British-inspired posts, it is my hope that today’s post will offer a lengthy overview and sampling of many, actually oodles, of shows to watch that I have watched in their entirety and recommend.
If you are a first-time visitor to TSLL blog, in this post you will discover an extensive list of shows to suit your Francophile and Anglophile interests below, and if you are a long-time visitor to TSLL, this is a comprehensive list of all of the series and shows I have recommended over the many years both in specific round-up lists of a particular streaming platform (such as MHzChoice (see below) and on the weekly This & That post.
Each of the shows below are television series, and most importantly, they are series I recommend from first-hand experience having watched the entire season (and/or show if there are multiple seasons). Yep, I have watched a lot of television, but keep in mind, I do not watch cable, and when I sit down, I want to watch something sans ads as well as something that will be worth my time, to punctuate well the end of a productive and full day.
Today I have written a round-up of shows I recommend exploring when it comes to what will be premiering or returning this fall, as well as a list of series to make sure to check out that you may have missed over the past couple of years.
As someone who as I mentioned, does not watch cable and cut the cord as they say about four years ago, I subscribe to a few streaming services regularly (AcornTV, BritBox, MHzChoice, PBS Masterpiece), and then bounce around to a handful of other streaming services depending upon what is offered (Max, AppleTV+, Netflix, Hulu, etc.). To provide ease of determination of which streaming service you may want to subscribe to, I will mention, along with the title of the series, the streaming platform you can watch the series as well.
Before we get to the list, here are a handful of detailed round-up posts of shows I recommend on the streaming services I subscribe to regularly:
Subscribe to MHzChoice directly or through your streaming platform such as Amazon Prime or AppleTV+
Series with Fall Premieres worth watching
Below is a list, shared in no particular order, of series that are either premiering or returning this fall on the streaming platforms mentioned above as well as a few more streaming platforms.
1.Starstruck, season 3, Max (September 28th)
If you haven’t already watched the first two seasons of this U.K. based comedy, you have a couple of days to catch up on a new show I think you will love before season 3 premieres. The show premiered on the BBC in 2021 and is written by and stars Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning comedian, writer and actor Rose Matafeo. “The series follows the life of Jessie (Rose Matafeo), a millennial who lives in East London. She juggles between her two jobs in order to afford the overpriced apartment that she shares with her best friend, Kate. It is her random hook-up on New Year’s eve with Tom”, who unbeknownst to her is a famous star that guides the premise of the series. “Their worlds could not be more different, yet fate keeps bringing them together under the most extraordinary circumstances.” Have a look at the trailer for season 3 below.
2. Lupin, season/part 3, Netflix (October 5)
Wow. Oh my goodness, wow. I will admit, I initially hemmed and hawed about whether to watch Lupin back in January 2021 when Part One premiered on Netflix as I am not a fan of crime shows – primarily because they are unnecessarily gory and explicit in violence. Fast-forward to the premise of Lupin: A classic French story told in the most unique storyline for modern viewers, the screenwriter was adamant the series be “a violence-free series”. Phew! I tuned in. Call me a fan without question.
If you have not yet viewed the first five episodes of Season 1, Part One and five episodes in Part Two (season 2), then you can get caught up before the much anticipated Part Three drops Thursday October 5th on Netflix. The series is already the most-watched non-English series on Netflix, and before Season two had been released, the third season has been secured. Yep, the show has been incredibly well received.
The videography of Paris, especially in and outside of the Louvre in the first few episodes of Part One is breath-taking, and Part Two (as well as the last episode of Part One) takes viewers to the northern French coastal town of Étretat. Cesar winning actor Sy Omar plays the gentleman burglar, and he is just that, emphasis on the former. Sy himself compares his role as Assane Diop in Lupin when asked by Jimmy Fallon in a press interview to the French version of James Bond, and I can absolutely see the similarities, yet in my opinion, Lupin takes the capers and his character to the twenty-first century – more aware of the world and its progresses, far less chauvinistic and well, let’s be honest, the series is set in France, so I prefer Lupin. 😉
I highly recommend watching it with the original French language (and simply turn on the subtitles) as the dubbing, at least for me, ruins the full experience of the plot and palpable energy. You may need to adjust this setting on your Netflix account, but once you do, you won’t have to do it again.
When asked if he and the production team knew the series would become so popular internationally, Sy shared while of course they couldn’t predict the audience’s response, they felt the opportunity to present their series on Netflix, which is the ‘Olympics of TV series’ put quite a bit of pressure on them as they were “carrying the French flag and we wanted to make sure we carried it properly, so we worked hard and we’re so happy and thrilled that people like it.”
Learn about the series which puts a new twist on a classic French tale and discover the inspiration which guided the series as it came to be. Check out both the trailer below for Part One and Part Two (just below).
3. Candice Renoir, season 7, AcornTV (October 2)
Not all of AcornTV’s programs are based in England, nor are they all in English, but they do all have English subtitles, and my favorite French series on AcornTV is Candice Renoir. Candice Renoir is a divorced mother of four in her 40s who also is a police captain in a French coastal city where she uses her the benefit of parental experience to solve crimes her team wouldn’t necessarily have cracked. There are nine seasons, and so far six are available on AcornTV. The sexual tension between Renoir and her colleague Antoine keep you coming back season after season, and with a bit of humor and a whole lot of sleuthing, this is a great series for Francophiles on an Anglophile streaming platform.
4. Tandem, season 5, MHzChoice (September 26th)
Returning in its fifth season is yet another favorite French series I enjoy and recommend (see my entire list of French mysteries series I recommend here and here), Tandem. A divorced couple, both working at the same police station in Montpellier, one the captain, the other a detective, navigate both the cases they are trying to solve, as well as raising their teenage children and their lingering feelings for each other.
5. The Great British Bake-Off, Netflix (Channel 4 in the UK), (September 29th US/26th UK)
The 14th season of the favorite cozy baking show where the magic and laughs culminate in the famous tent set on a beautifully manicured British country lawn is back. Now you may already know (but just in case you don’t) that there is a new co-host who is replacing Matt Lucas, and her name is well-known. Alison Hammond joins Noel Fielding, and with her infectious laugh, I have a feeling we’re in for a riotous good season. The trailer is shared below.
6. Annika, season 2, PBS Masterpiece (October 15)
Nicola Walker stars as Annika Stranded in a new television series adapted from the original radio series that aired on Radio 4 in Britain (2013, 31 episodes). Annika, created and written by Nick Walker, follows Detective Inspector Annika (Nicola Walker) of the Glasgow HMU (Homicide Marine Unit). Newly transferred from Norway, Annika arrives with her highly respected success in solving crimes and begins a new life with her teenage daughter.
Breaking the fourth wall repeatedly throughout each of the six episodes that are now streaming on PBS Masterpiece Mystery (originally airing in Britain in fall 2021), look for a new episode to be released each Sunday. It is the subtle humor and self-deprecating awareness by Nicola Walker’s character that create a tone of inclusion for the audience. No longer is the audience completely unconnected or simply an onlooker as Walker invites the audience to notice the details that often get brushed over by traditional crime dramas.
Have a look at the trailer below for season 2, and enjoy a new approach to a traditional trope of mystery story-telling.
7. Hotel Portofino, season 2, PBS Masterpiece (October 15)
This one is an oddity for TSLL, as it is not French or British inspired, but I had to share as it is set in the exquisitely beautiful Portofino, Italy, on the coast of the Ligurian Sea. And with the first season coming to a satisfying conclusion, I am most curious to begin watching the new season. Have a look at the trailer for Season 2 below.
8. The Sommerdahl Murders, season 4, Acorntv (October 23)
Not an Anglophile series at all, but oh sooooo good! Set in Denmark with English subtitles, I whizzed through this series this summer. If you have watched Borgen and even Seaside Hotel, you will recognize some of the actors. “DCI Dan Sommerdahl investigates murders in a lovely Danish coastal town with his best friend, Detective Flemming Torp, and his wife, Marianne, a criminal technician. But Dan’s years of devotion to the job have hurt his marriage, and with Marianne wanting a divorce, Dan discovers his rival for her affections is none other than his best friend. And they all must still work together to solve crimes.”
9. Harry Wild, season 2, AcornTV (October 9)
Set in Dublin, Jane Seymour stars as Harriet Wild (nicknamed Harry) in a series that while only one season so far, has a second one coming I am told. The series begins when literature professor Harry Wild, who is adjusting to retirement, is mugged. While recovering at the home of her son (Kevin Ryan), a detective in the Dublin police, Harry gleans a clue for his current case. But when she’s rebuffed, Harry decides to solve the crime herself. Recruiting an unlikely young sidekick (Rohan Nedd), she finds a new path as a private investigator.
10. The Gilded Age, season 2, Max (October 29)
Granted, yes, not an international series, although written and created by a Briton, Julian Fellowes, I wanted to include this series as it is one many have been waiting for the return for its sophomore season, and for much time have not known when it would return. Now we do. Set in New York City during a time of disruption and social class reconfiguring, old money clashing with new, if the second season is anything like the first, expect opulent interiors and attire and historically known occasions interwoven into the fictionalized, yet inspired by historic trends and events of the time, lives of the people that navigated this world that is called The Gilded Age (late 1870s — 1900). Have a look at the trailer for season 2 below.
11. Julia, season 2, Max (November 16)
Again, not a series centered around a non-American figure. Clearly, we all know Julia Child is an American who then brought the French cuisine to the states, but this new season begins in France, and for three episodes, escape to the French Riviera and Paris, visit the actual markets and see the beauty of the country that inspired all that we know and love about Julia. Just Julia. A new episode will air each Thursday, yep, even on Thanksgiving, which sounds perfectly timed to me, and concluding just before Christmas. I couldn’t imagine a better show to find inspiration for all of the holiday food creations.
As soon as the trailer for season 2 becomes available, I will share it on a future This & That post (each Friday, every Friday here on TSLL blog).
12. The Crown, Season 6, Netflix (likely November 2023)
Look for the final season of The Crown to premiere in late fall. No official date has been released yet, but it will be soon! Learn more about the upcoming season here.
13. Munch, Walter Presents/PBS Masterpiece, season 3
One of my favorite French mystery series, and primarily so because of the lead character who inspired the name of the series, has returned with a new season. Munch is a well-respected defense attorney in Paris, and along with her law firm associates and private investigator, their cases will keep you guessing, but also the relationships between the cast will bring about more than a few smiles and laughs as well. The third season is now available to watch on PBS Masterpiece (I stream through Amazon Prime).
14. Crime is Her Game, MHz Choice
A new series on MHzChoice, with new episodes released each Wednesday, follow Police Captain Gaby Molina who along with having inherited a family farm divides her time between maintaining it and resolving criminal investigations. Claudia Tagbo stars as the unconventional, but highly effective Gaby Molina alongside her new partner having just transferred from Paris played by Hélène Seuzaret. Between the friendships in the office precinct amongst fellow staff as well as their chief of police, the characters are likable, savvy and each 90 minute episode keeps you guessing until the end.
15. The Chelsea Detective, season 2, AcornTV
An anglophile find and a British crime drama. I specifically like this one because there’s a bit of gentility about it, there’s a bit of tradition about it, but there’s such a likability with regards to the lead character. (tune in to episode #365 of the of The Simple Sophisticate podcast as the series was chosen as the Petit Plaisir)
I especially enjoyed season two of The Chelsea Detective which just concluded last Monday (four episodes in each season) because of the chemistry between the lead detective and his partner. Adrian Scarborough stars as DI Max Arnold who takes on the crime in the London borough of Chelsea. And in season two he has a new partner. He’s pairedwith Layla Walsh, who is played by Vanessa Emme. Having seen Adrian Scarborough in so many different English series and movies, mainly tv series, I have to say this is my favorite with him starring; he’s likable, he’s imperfect, but he’s trying; He’s kind and intelligent but curious, and he while has his moments of being flawed, it’s nothing beyond being particular about his music or his wine. He lives on a houseboat on the on the Thames and he likes his wine, he likes his piano and classical music. And there you go!Call me I’m a fan. Recently separated from his wife Astrid, who is an a gallery owner, they’re not officially divorced yet. So you see that relationship start to go back and forth a little bit in the sense of they clearly care about each other, but they also trying to start their new lives one more than the other. And as we saw in season one, it begins with their just beginning their separation. That continues into season two. With an hour and a half long episodes, so very much in the length of Midsomer Murders, but different in that there is only one murder and you do not see it happen. So each episode while telling the story of solving a particular crime, isn’t the entire focus; it’s a focus is on the characters solving the crime. And they, Max Arnold and Layla Walsh, have two other captains that work with them and support them on cases and these two also have a great chemistry and are fun characters to watch.
And we cannot forget about the the chief forensic officer, Ashley Wilson, played by Sophie Stone. She, being deaf, brings a lovely comedic dry wit to the series that is so appreciated when they’re piecing together all of the evidence to solve the crime. With witty banter and playful repartee between the partners, a larger focus on Max’s personal life, the main characters are just as much if not more enjoyable a reason to watch than solving the intriguing crimes that this season take us into the art world, the world of tailoring and small businesses, as well as into counseling and luxury retirement living. Also, some wonderful characters that I think you’ll recognize from other British series who not necessarily give it away as to who did it, but that play a major role in the storytelling, are yet another reason to tune in.
16. Mrs. Sidhu Investigates, season 1, AcornTV (September 18)
Premiering past Monday on AcornTV, Meera Seal stars as Mrs Sidhu, a caterer with a taste for solving mysteries. Her sleuthing turns into an unofficial partnership with dour DCI Burton (Craig Parkinson), who reluctantly accepts that together they make the perfect pairing to fight crime. Have a look at the trailer and look for a new episode (there are four of them) every Monday. The series has two seasons, so hopefully, the second season will kick off shortly thereafter with the remaining four episodes.
17. The Buccaneers, premiere, AppleTV+ (November 8)
Based on an unfinished Edith Wharton novel of the same name, published in 1938 after her death, The Buccaneers is a new series coming to AppleTV+ critics are looking forward to. With a young cast of women, each daughters of America’s new rich, they have arrived in Victorian England, and they are beautiful and ever untameable as experienced by England’s finest governesses. Heading to London to marry as they are low on funds, but high in class, the adventures look to be entertaining and the sets and attire dazzling to the eye.
18. Lessons in Chemistry, AppleTV+ (October 13)
Lessons in Chemistry, not an international series, but in many ways sharing the ‘foreign’ idea of a woman with a brain who steps into the science field during a time when women were persuaded, nudged, expected to stay put in the kitchen, this is a series to enjoy. Starring Brie Larson Elizabeth Zott, an adaptation of the bestselling debut novel of the same name by Bonnie Garmus (April 2022), the series is set in the early 1950s, and “follows Zott whose dream of being a scientist is put on hold in a patriarchal society. When Elizabeth finds herself fired from her lab, she accepts a job as a host on a TV cooking show, and sets out to teach a nation of overlooked housewives — and the men who are suddenly listening — a lot more than recipes”. Have a look at the trailer below.
19. Miss Scarlett & The Duke, season 4, PBS Masterpiece (January 7, 2024)
A perennial favorite series here on TSLL, it was just announced last month that the fourth season will return in January!
Season 2 & 3 kicked off rather closely together, so yep, it is season 4 that is just around the corner. Here is the trailer for season 3, and rest assured, I will be sharing the 4th season’s trailer when it is released. Look for it on a future T & T post.
20. Magpie Murders, season 2 (likely February 2024), PBS Masterpiece
Anthony Horowitz’s book series turned television series, Magpie Murders, stars Lesley Manville as a publishing editor with a knack for keen attention to detail and thus a talent for sleuthing herself, as she edits a successful mystery series by a well-known, yet loathsome famous author.
With the successful reception of season 1 on PBS Masterpiece last October, the second season was immediately given the go-ahead, but we still aren’t sure when it will air. In the meantime, read the book that inspired the forthcoming season. It will keep you glued to the pages until the very last chapter. I think I enjoyed the second book more than the first.
21. Seaside Hotel (Badehotellet), season 10??, PBS Masterpiece (likely 2024)
If you enjoy scenic seaside beauty, time-period drama pieces involving both décor and sartorial accuracy, as well as the backdrop of global events that loosely and sometimes directly affect the lives of the cast, you will want to check out the current series Seaside Hotel.
A Danish drama series with a catchy soundtrack and breath-taking scenery set upon the North Sea of the Danish shores, Badehotellet (English translation, Seaside Hotel) is available with English subtitles on PBS, Walter Presents and also found on Amazon Prime. First premiering in December 2013, the series is now into its ninth season with more on the way. Each season finds us in a new summer, the first season beginning pre-WWII and currently, the ninth season, is the first set in the aftermath of the aforementioned war.
With the characters who lives during the other nine months of the year are spread around then country of Denmark, the same families return each summer for an unofficial reunion of sorts, consisting of all ages and different life chapters as well as life experiences to reconnect.
If you watched the Danish series Borgen on Netflix, you will recognize some of the actors, but most importantly, it is a series with likable characters navigating life as best as they can all while holidaying on the seaside in a picturesque hotel.
Be sure to tune in to today’s episode (#361) of the podcast and listen for more specific thoughts and recommendations as to why I thoroughly enjoy this series and think you might as well.
Watch a trailer for season 1 below.
Waiting for the next season(of the show has wrapped up), but be sure to watch the previous seasons in the meantime of these shows:
1.L’Art du Crime, MHzChoice
An extra, unexpected perk of flying on French airlines is the introduction to French films and series I might not have known about, and such was the case during my flight in 2018 to France. The French crime series that began in 2017, L’Art du Crime, now with five seasons, does what only the French can do, marry crime with art, and taking viewers directly into the beloved grand as well as lesser well-known, but no less splendid, museums of Paris and throughout France.
Centered around the crime-solving partnering of a police officer Antoine Verlay and art historian Florence Chassagne, the romantic chemistry is immediate, at least for one of them, and the adoration for expertise in their field immediately apparent by the other.
Together, with each crime that takes place either in a museum or at an art school or involving a public figure in the art world, the two work together to solve what seems initially impossible.
Be sure to listen to the end of episode #269 of The Simple Sophisticate podcast to discover a more detailed recommendation as to why I chose and thoroughly enjoy this series.
Watch all five seasons on the following streaming services:
Take a peek at the series in this trailer below; this one for Season 1 where the two lead characters are just beginning to work together, and the tension is palpable:
An absolute accident but a show I am tickled I stumbled upon earlier this week. If you enjoy Miss Scarlet & The Duke and/or Enola Holmes(the films on Netflix), I am very confident you will appreciate this new series. Set in Turin, Italy, so turn on the subtitles, The Law According to Lidia Poët is based on a true story. Lidia Poët was indeed the first women to practice law and become an attorney in Italy. Poët was born in 1855 and “two years after graduating from the University of Turin’s law school in 1881, she was admitted — much to the shock of Turin’s all-male legal community — to Italy’s bar. Poët practiced law for three months before being disbarred at the instance of the monarchy’s attorney general, who claimed that women had no place in a court room. That’s when her legal career ended, but a national discourse ensued, and finally, in 1920, at the age of 65, Poët was readmitted to the bar.”
The new Netflix series is based on her struggle and determination to not be minimized in a culture that has yet to recognize that women might want more beyond the traditional roles in 19th century Italian culture. I have watched two episodes so far and thoroughly enjoy Lidia’s character (and the hats, oh yes!). There is more nudity in this series, but tastefully and laxadazically so, as a matter-of-fact place in a scene, not to sensationalize. With each episode a crime is investigated, a client works with Lidia and resolution occurs by the end. Have a look at the trailer below.
3. Kingdom, AcornTV, concluded (3 seasons)
British comedian and actor Stephen Fry stars in a 3-season series that ran between 2007-2009, Kingdom. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Witty, wry, cozy, kind and just a wonderful watch as you sit down to unwind the day. Set in Norfolk, where Fry himself grew up, he stars as Peter Kingdom, a small-town solicitor who has decided to not work in London, but likely could have. The interactions with the regular townsfolk offer hilarity and quizzical scenes, and the cases he works on with his junior associate Lyle Anderson demonstrate Kingdom’s compassion, dedication and sense of humor.
Streaming on AcornTV, the cast of regular characters including Hermoine Norris from Cold Feet who is cast as his half-sister Beatrice, Karl Davies co-stars as Lyle Anderson from Chernobyl acclaim and Game of Thrones, Celia Imrie stars as Kingdom’s secretary and Phyllida Law, Kingdom’s aunt Auriel whom he visits regularly at the retirement home set on a grand estate in the English countryside (oh! and don’t forget the silent character the Kingdom’s blue 1965 Alvis TE21 Drophead Coupe, of which only 95 were ever made) all contribute to a cast of delightful interactions in a dramedy that will keep you intrigued, laughing and appreciating playful, thoughtful story-telling.
4. The Split, concluded (3 seasons), Sundance
In April 2018, BBC premiered the series The Split. created and written by Abi Morgan (OBE), a Welsh playwright and screenwriter known for her works for television, such as The Hour, and the films The Iron Ladyand Suffragette, and it is a series to watch.
Available to be viewed in the states on Sundance streaming, the series has three seasons and 18 episodes, and while fans of the show clamored for more, Morgan knew and had envisioned the show only running for three seasons. In order to tell the storylines, present and resolve the conflicts with each character and meet the objective of the show, to proceed beyond what the show was intended would have diminished the quality, and the quality is quite outstanding.
Nicola Walker stars as Hannah DeFoe. One of the four DeFoe women, Hannah is the lead character in the series, one of the three DeFoe daughters and her mother is the founding partner in the divorce law firm in which two of her daughters (Hannah being one) work.
As the title of the show infers, the series would seem to primarily focus on divorce, and while yes, this is true, in fact, from the first season to the third you are watching the lead couple navigate how to divorce as well as possible as it displays the throes of all the emotions of a long marriage that has run its course while also demonstrating how to find all parties healthily on the other side, what this series also successfully portrays are the splits that occur in our lives with ourselves as we grow, change, and choose different paths.
In each season, there is one main divorce that Hannah is overseeing as a case that has a storyline that runs the entire 6-8 episodes of the season. Then you also have the storylines for each of the DeFoe women and their relationships, as well as current events inspired from real world stories seen through the lens of a divorce law firm and how they handle their clients.
With clear, strong writing that creates and maintains each character consisting throughout the entire duration of the show, viewers witness characters that are as human as each of us – full of emotions, ebbs and flows of strengths and weaknesses, tugs and shoves from culture and family whilst wrestling with what is truly best for ourselves and those we love.
Once I sat down and began watching the series, I could not stop, and in a matter of a week had finished the final episode. While each season is a triumph, the final season, how Morgan chooses to end the series is rewarding and nourishing and uplifting, but also far more real than most series we see here in the states when a show comes to a close on its own terms.
If you are looking for a thoughtful, and yes, stylish series (Walker’s wardrobe is a treat for the eyes as she walks to and from her flat in London to the firm each day) that will remind you life and its answers to the befuddling questions we face endlessly are never black and white, but a myriad of gray and so long as we are gentle with ourselves and remind ourselves that we are human as our those we love, we will figure it out. Below is the trailer for Season 1 (also it does contain some glimpses into the other seasons).
Be sure to listen to my review of the show in the audio version of the episode as I explain in detail why I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to be a show of substance, thoughtful, careful writing and offering insights for a wide swath of viewers in varying relationship chapters of their lives.
5. McDonald & Dodds, BritBox
Set in Bath, England, three seasons of McDonald & Dobbs are currently with hopefully more on the way. Starring Jason Watkins as DS Dodds and Tala Gouveiaa as DCI Lauren McDonald, they are the duo of detectives that initially seem mismatched, but their pairing works brilliantly.
6. Murder In . . . , Season 10, MHzChoice
The irony of watching cozy mysteries is that they actually provide a feeling of peace and closure upon reaching the conclusion of each episode.
As I shared in this post about British cosy mysteries, there is a specific formula such styles (genre – cozy/cosy) of murder story-telling plots follow and viewers trust that it will be adhered to. Murder In . . . , a French mystery series now with eight seasons available on MHzChoice streaming service (you can access it through Amazon Prime as well) takes viewers away to a different geographical location in France with each episode. So technically the title for each episode changes. “Murder in Cognac”, “Murder in the Luberon”, etc. As well the two lead detectives or Capitaines change as well, so you are getting to know new relationship dynamics with each episode.
I have enjoyed all eight seasons, as the most recent season was just released this past January. One extra detail is that some lead characters will return to star in subsequent episodes in later seasons where viewers will continue to see their storylines unfold. Sometimes, but rarely, the actor returns, but they are playing a different role as a different detective/capitaine, but always, paralleling the solving of the mystery, there is a love story between the two lead detectives in some way or another. Often there is a backstory that will be revealed as the two key characters will have known each other previously, but not always. None of the romantic subplots are too syrupy or over-contrived, but as they are made for television, they due unfold rather quickly. However, along with the peace of mind seeing the murder being solved, viewers also have the pleasure of seeing love manifest in a way that buoys one’s spirits if only until they watch the next episode. 🙂
Tune in for 90 minutes with each episode, and enjoy slipping away to France.
7. Speakerine, MHzChoice, concluded, 1 season
This series concluded far too soon. Set in the 1960s in Paris, Charles de Gaulle is the President of France, and it takes a feminist approach to politics, lifestyle and mores of this time. MHzChoice describes it as Agatha Christie meets Mad Men, as “TV announcer Christine Beauval crashes the glass ceiling and brings criminals to justice”. I thoroughly enjoyed the strength of the main character.
8. Sister Boniface, BritBox (2 seasons so far)
Intelligence, a retro setting, wit and the English countryside.
BritBox introduced a new cozy mystery series, a spin-off from Father Brown, Sister Boniface Mysteries in February2022 . And it is quite fun.
Sister Boniface, as her name suggests, is a nun, but prior to taking her vows to the church, she was a highly trained and desirable recruit for Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency but turned down their job offer. The local chief constable laments that while a wonderful unofficial detective and consult to the small town of Great Slaughter, he believes she is wasting her intellect. Set in 1960, Sister Boniface is a Vespa-driving, wine-making nun at St. Vincent’s Convent, and as the final episode (10 episodes in all) of the first season concludes, it becomes indirectly clear why she may have chosen to share her sleuthing talents to this small English town.
Lorna Watson stars as Sister Boniface – a character reprised from a favorite episode in Season 1 of Father Brown, Max Brown stars as the young, gentleman Detective Inspector Sam Gillespie, Jerry Iwu stars as the young detective awaiting his job in London at MI5 to become available as Detective Sergeant Felix Livingstone, Ami Metcalf stars as Constable Peggy Button – a young, well-meaning newbie in the policing field and Miranda Raison from Vexed (season 2) stars as Ruth Penny, the lead journalist for the local newspaper.
9. The Law of . . . , MHzChoice
As I shared during TSLL’s Annual French Week in 2022, MHzChoice is the streaming service to have if you enjoy watching foreign language shows from a variety of countries. Of course, French language series grab my attention, and so I was curious to explore a newly released series on the streaming platform The Law of . . . And after watching now seven episodes, I am recommending it to you. The premise follows a criminal defense lawyer for three episodes, an arc of sorts, and then for the next three episodes, it will be an entirely different lawyer who is the lead. I actually quite like this format, as it is similar to the series Murder In . . . where you don’t get too attached to the main characters, but you do enjoy them immensely. The cases they are given are not straight-forward, but they appear to be so initially. The writing is thoughtfully creative, and the endings, well, I won’t be giving anything away if I tell you, their client is always innocent, but it is hard to believe it is possible for quite some time in some cases.
This series is most akin to a cosy mystery series, because you don’t become attached to the victim, and there is little violence and all that might go along with that portrayal. Again, it is the relationships, the setting, the story-telling that keeps you engaged and on your toes. A new episode is released each Tuesday, and seven episodes are currently available. Have a look at a brief trailer below sharing the first lawyer that is the lead in the first three episodes, Barbara (who I liked tremendously).
10. Alexandra Ehle, MHz Choice
Ah! I have an unexpectedly fun French series for you! I stumbled acrossAlexandra Ehle, who is a coroner in the Bordeaux region of France, and while you might expect this to be a dark mystery series due to her job of working with the deceased, it is actually a comedy/drama because Alex’s life and her girlfriends’ (who also work with her at the morgue) are really the main plot, and the murders just happen to need to be solved – a new one each episode. 🙂 There are two seasons, and the first one is now available to be viewed on MHzChoice. Having just finished watching all episodes in the first, I am eager to watch the second. Have a look at a peek for the first season below.
11. Midsomer Murders, 24th season coming soon!
The classic British cosy mystery that just wrapped up its 23rd season and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon: Midsomer Murders. Based on the novels by Caroline Graham, if you want murder in an idyllic English countryside village, this is your series. Filmed in Oxford, but using the fictitious name of Midsomer, DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles from Bergerac – this series is available on BritBox), stars in the first ten+ seasons and then, upon his retirement, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) steps in for the next 12+ series and counting. As many already know, this is must-watch viewing for Anglophiles.
Filming for season 24 began in March 2023, so likely the season will premiere in spring 2024.
12. Restless, AcornTV
Restless stars an amazing cast, shares a plot that will keep you hooked until the last episode and why it slipped past my radar when it came out in 2015, I do not know. Here are the details: “Based on the bestselling spy novel by William Boyd and boasting a “fabulous British cast” (Los Angeles Times), this Emmy®-nominated BBC drama is a tale of passion, duplicity, and betrayal. Ruth Gilmartin (Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey) is stunned to learn that her mother, Sally (Charlotte Rampling, Broadchurch), has been living a double life. Her real name is Eva Delectorskaya (Hayley Atwell), she worked as a spy for the British Secret Service in the 1940s, and now someone is stalking her.” Have a look at the trailer and enjoy. It is fantastic.
13. Mismatch, MHzChoice
I found myself thoroughly enjoying the juxtapositioning of the two lead cast members. Half sisters, one working as a judge in the justice department and the other a detective – both in Strasbourg, they recently discover through the unexpected death of their father that they are sisters, well, half-sisters. And their personalities could not be more different.
Have a look at the trailer below.
14. Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games, The 70s and The 50s
I shared in 2022 that one of my favorite French series on MHzChoicewas Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games, set in the 1950s and a whale of a good fun time. Yep, they adapt Agatha Christie mysteries, added a bit of humor (but not too much) and as it is set in France, speak French! So the perfect series for someone, like many of us, who are both Anglophiles and Francophiles. Well, good news, now, the series continues (there are four seasons in the 1950s version) and is now set in the 1970s with a brand new cast. Learn more about the new series that debuted on June 13th here and take a look at the trailer below.
15. Death in Paradise
One of BritBox’s most popular original series that is now in its 12th season, slip away to St. Marie, which is actually the town of Deshaies, that is located in Guadeloupe. The cast films here for six months each year and season 13 is rumored to be on its way to screens soon.
16. Beyond Paradise, BritBox
Kris Marshall, aka as DI Humphrey Goodman from Death in Paradise returns in the new spin-off from the original, and widely popular series in Robert Thorogood’s brainchild Beyond Paradise.
Set in a coastal town in Devon, England, Beyond Paradise welcomes DI Humphrey Goodman and his fiancée Martha Lloyd from London, returning to Martha’s (Sally Breton)’s childhood hometown to begin a new life away from the hustle and stress of the city. Also starring alongside the comedic lead Marshall is another up and coming comedic actor from Derry Girls fame Dylan Llewellyn.
The first episode debuted last Wednesday February 22 on BritBox, and if the pilot is anything to go on, this will be a fun, imaginative and beautifully-set new cozy mystery series. Critics have described it as Midsomer Murders meets Agatha Christie, and I have to agree.
~Explore creator of the series Robert Thorogood’s new cozy mystery novel series Marlowe Murders.
17. The Mallorca Files, BritBox
An original series created by BritBox, there are currently two seasons and the third is expected to drop later this year or early 2024 (I cannot wait). Set in the gorgeous tropical island of Mallorca, a workaholic British detective Miranda Blake is partnered up with a much more relaxed German detective Max Winter. The scenery is stunning, their chemistry powerful – his goofiness and her seriousness – a yin and yang combo that just works.
18. The Diplomat, Netflix
Granted, an American series, but set in London as well as a favorite locale for Francophiles (one episode), I wanted to make sure you watch this series if you haven’t already.
Having whizzed through the premiere season of The Diplomat last spring (April) when it debuted (eight episodes), I am definitely looking forward to season 2 which has the greenlight from Netflix. Set in London, and largely in the countryside of Kent where the ambassador of the United States, played by Keri Russell, resides, the conversations about policy, along with the politicking by her husband (played by Sewell) are a treat to watch. Concluding in Paris with a dramatic finish, this series has legs and the sartorial smart style is also a treat full of inspiration. A bit more about the premise for the series: Russell’s character is tapped as the ambassador to the United Kingdom, a similar position her husband once held who is a fellow career diplomat, and so this plot is a bit of a drama and a bit of a comedy; the latter due to the everyday back and forth between husband and wife. So while many of us became used to Russel in The Americans – all serious, all drama – this set-up is a bit different, and I think it will be an enjoyable watch. Find out what I mean when you check out the trailer below.
19. TransAtlantic, Netflix
I stumbled upon this limited series earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed it (and zoomed through it far too quickly). Set in Marseilles, France, during the start of WWII before the US entered the war, Transatlanticis a seven-part television limited series based on the novel The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer (a book I very much want to read now). Based on the true story of the “Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC), a committee established in late June 1940 in New York by German and American intellectuals, academics and scientists to help attain asylum papers for Europeans, specifically Jews, fleeing the war and seeking refuge in America. The aim of the aid organisation was to rescue persecuted artists and politicians from France to the United States”.
Starring Gillian Jacobs as an American journalist who, during 13 months spent in France in 1940-41, managed to arrange safe passage out of France and on to the U.S. for more than 2,000 refugees who were in danger of losing their lives”, I found each of the leading cast members (seen in the first image here just below) endearing, inspiring and likable (and her four-legged companion remains safe the entire time and is found each time he appears to have gone missing, always brought back to the star of the show – just in case this puts your mind at ease as you watch). Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy.
20. Detectives, MHzChoice, concluded, 2 seasons
Another series that won’t be continuing that I wish would, Detectives. A leading detective agency set in Paris, the crimes are not all murders, and each plot includes a deepening of the main characters. If you have watched Murder in Paradise, you will recognize the female lead. I enjoyed this series very much and watched each episode all too quickly.
21. Agathe Koltes, Walter Presents/PBS Masterpiece
Ohhhh, I love it when there is a bit of an insider tidbit to a US series that only those who know the international stars (in this case French) will likely know and here it is. If you have watched Emily in Paris, you know Sylvie has a husband who lives in Saint Tropez, but did you know these two actors starred alongside each other as detectives in a crime solving French series set on the Brittany coast? Yep! Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu and Arnaud Binard are a wonderful duo to watch in Agathe Koltes, which is available to view in the states through PBS Masterpiece streaming (Walter Presents). The entire first season (10 episodes) is quite enjoyable (I whizzed right through it in two weeks) and these two, who are not romantically linked in this French series, rather Binard is in a relationship with Leroy Beaulieu’s on-screen daughter which unfolds gradually throughout the series, come to be a powerfully savvy pair of sleuths.
The series has two seasons, but I can only find the first online (please do share if you know how to access the second). Filmed between 2016 and 2019 in Brittany, the setting is gorgeous, and the entire team are enjoyable to watch as they evolve to be ever tighter in their camaraderie. Have a look at Agathe Koltes and her method of finding the truth in two scenes shown below.
Phew! Well, that should keep us all entertained this fall, with or without a conclusion to the strike. I do hope you enjoy. Be sure to stop by each Friday here on the blog to discover more French and British themed series and shows, as well as films, and so much more that I think TSLL community will enjoy on the This & That post.