It could be said that a librarian’s work is never done. Every book we read, every movie we watch and every podcast/YouTube video we listen to are ideas flowing into our minds for creating our next program or informing our next reader’s advisory or inspiring our next purchase. For instance, my hobby of choice is to watch English language media not created in the United States. I subscribe to Acorn Media and Britbox which enables me to view life in English speaking countries all over the world. This helps me purchase high quality, entertaining DVD programming for our collection here at Abilene Public Library.
On our around the world tour, our first stop is down under in Australia. In the last 20 years, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been producing some really great shows and exporting them in DVD format. Many can be also seen on the Public Broadcasting Service as period pieces here in the United States. One of the most famous that has made a recent splash is A Place to Call Home which has been termed as “Downton Abbey down under”. It is a show set in post WWII years about the wealthy Bligh family dealing with a conniving aunt, manipulative grandmother, wayward daughter, a son exploring his sexuality and a father dating someone that the family considers entirely inappropriate. The actors are well known in Australia and the son, James Bligh, played by Dave Berry, is also making a name for himself as Lord John Grey in the Outlander series. This series can be seen on DVD or on our Hoopla digital service.
Another series is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. This series is based upon the books by Kerry Greenwood and are set in 1930s Melbourne, Australia. Essie Davis plays Miss Fisher and does a great job of playing the daring detective who solves mysteries more effectively than the local police. She is an international traveler, flies a plane, shoots a pistol, and can dance the Can Can with fans like no man can. Her love interest is a local detective named Jack who eventually follows her all over the world as they solve murders and international crimes.
A spin off has just emerged with a niece as the star of Ms. Fisher’ Modern Murder Mysteries which is set in the 60s. It is not part of the original series, but alludes to the fact that her aunt perished in a plane crash and that they were looking for someone to take her place in their secret society. Ms. Fisher solves crimes and is as daring as her aunt. Think a female 007 mixed with Inspector Gadget and you are not far off. This show is ongoing and I expect to see more episodes. This series inspired by Kerry Greenwood can be seen on Hoopla, DVD and read in book format.
Another period piece is Doctor Blake Mysteries, which is set in Ballarat, Australia circa 1959. Dr. Lucian Blake returns after having spent 30 years after the War where he was a former POW in Asia. He only returns home as his father is dying and takes over the practice as well as the duties as Medical Examiner. In his capacity, he solves many murders, but also runs into problems with the local police who have concerns about his methods. He is a nonconformist and struggles with social politics which gets him into trouble. As the 5 seasons proceed, a love interest develops with his housekeeper and they marry. There is a one show spin off of this series to end it called the Blake Mysteries: A New Beginning which features Mrs. Blake solving Mysteries. Abilene Public Library owns all of Doctor Blake mysteries in DVD format.
If you think this would intrigue you, please take a look at our international TV offerings, and enjoy! Future columns will discuss more Australian offerings, as well as offerings from New Zealand and Canada, all available at your Abilene Public Library!
Article Contributed by Janet Bailey, Technical Services Manager, Main Library