Do the mellifluous tones of a sexy British and/or Irish accent make your heart purr? Are you envious of ramblers outfitted in Wellington boots and walking sticks as they explore the moors of the English countryside? Do you chortle as two posh, aristocratic women trade elegantly raised eyebrows and witty barbs over tea? Does the sight of Queen Elizabeth II opening Parliament in the Imperial State Crown and crimson velvet Robe of State fill you with tearful reverence? Does your pulse quicken as a broody, but determined Detective Chief Inspector chases a diabolical criminal on the foggy streets of Whitechapel? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Acorn TV, one of the new streaming video services available through the Johnson County Library, should be on your radar. Normally, you would have to purchase a subscription to enjoy content on streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+ and Hulu, but public libraries have changed the game. Johnson County Library patrons can access world-class, international entertainment from Acorn TV via RBdigital for FREE with their library card number and PIN/Password. Let me repeat. The library pays for the subscription, so our patrons can reap the benefits! We stand by our mission to provide access to ideas, information, experiences and materials to support and enrich your lives. Don’t have a Johnson County Library card number and PIN/Password? There are two options to join. Residents of Johnson County in Kansas can sign up for a free eCard using this link: https://www.jocolibrary.org/using-the-library/getting-started to get immediate, contactless access to our eLibrary. Not a Johnson County resident? No problem! Anyone can fill out a paper application for a traditional card which provides access to our whole collection. Library card applications can be printed online (use the link above) or found at any of our 14 locations. Remember to bring photo ID and proof of current address. A library staff member can convert your eCard into a traditional card in-person at any time. Next, you’ll need to create an RBdigital account, which is your gateway to Acorn TV, eMagazines and more. Here’s the instructions with links included on how to access Acorn TV via RBdigital, per our website:
First time users:
- Register: https://johnsoncounty.rbdigital.com/register/ or sign in: https://johnsoncounty.rbdigital.com/login to your RBdigital account. (This is the same account used for our eMagazines from RBdigital.)
- Go to Acorn TV, then select a title.
- Checkout a 7-day pass for unlimited access to ALL of Acorn TV.
- Create a password for your personal Acorn TV account.
- Start watching!
- Sign in to the RBdigital website or app: https://johnsoncounty.rbdigital.com/login
- Go to Acorn TV, then select a title.
- Access or checkout a 7-day Acorn TV pass.
- Start watching!
Acorn TV is extremely user friendly. Once you have started an account and signed in, you just select a title and press the play button. The Fullscreen button allows you to enlarge the screen for a full cinematic experience. The stop button allows you to pause for a snack, bathroom break or resume another day. All videos have the handy progress bar to show you their runtime and where you left off if you need to pause. Select the captions settings button to turn on or off the closed captioning service, as needed. Some shows offer captions in both English and Spanish and some only offer English. If you navigate to My Acorn TV in the top right corner, it catalogs your recently watched shows and you can make a wish list of shows you are interested in viewing later. RBdigtial Portal sends you two alert emails about your account: the first one is to inform you that your 7-day unlimited access pass will expire in 2 days and the second one is to inform you when the pass has expired and provides instructions on how to check out another pass. The RBdigital Portal also sends you weekly watch lists so you can stay up-to-date on new and/or untapped content. The site has warnings if what you are about to watch is rated US TV 14 and may contain offensive language, scenes of violence, or sexual situations, so viewers can self-evaluate for suitability.
I dived right in to Acorn TV and watched three starter shows: one comedy, one mystery and one documentary. I can assure you that the streaming quality is clear and crisp without much buffering and the content is top-notch. Here are brief reviews of the shows I watched during my international screening party:
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears
Miss Fisher goes on a mission to rescue a young Arab girl, Shirin, from her unjust imprisonment in Jerusalem at the behest of her uncle. Miss Fisher gets the girl to safety and unravels a conspiracy surrounding the suspicious disappearance of Shirin’s Bedouin tribe, a murder; secrets plaguing her English hosts, the Lofthouse family; a stolen priceless emerald and an ancient curse on Alexander the Great’s hidden tomb. The movie also revealed war-related trauma suffered by British soldiers serving in Mandated Palestine. The mystery itself was interesting, but the execution was not always seamless. I sometimes struggled to keep up with the who, what, when, where and why. Verdict: If fans of the original Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries can overlook missing characters and new scenery, they will not be disappointed in this sparkling exotic mystery movie adventure. Newbies to Miss Fisher, I hope, will be enticed to watch all three seasons of the original show on which the movie is based, also available to stream on Acorn TV.
The Worst Week of My Life
Howard Steel and Mel Cook are in love and engaged to be married. The wedding is in one week; surely their journey to happily ever after will flow smoothly? Spoiler alert, anything that can go wrong does in this hilarious British comedy of errors, starring Ben Miller as the bumbling, but well-intentioned groom, Howard Steel, a publishing executive and Sarah Alexander as his loving, yet frequently exasperated bride, Mel Cook, a veterinarian. I don’t want to spoil all the domestic catastrophes, but some of my favorites are when the wedding ring (a family heirloom) gets stuck on Howard’s assistant’s finger, Howard’s stalker one-night stand makes a final play before the I Dos, Howard mixes up his future father-in-law’s gift with a highly inappropriate one meant for his best friend, an unfortunate incident with a cement mixer and the family dog, Howard finds his dad in a compromising position, Mel’s sister blames Howard for the loss of her boyfriend, the best man is concussed during the stag party and the bride nearly misses her own wedding. I never knew so much ridiculousness could plague two people. I’m flabbergasted, and deeply impressed Mel survived the courtship and accepted Howard’s proposal. The title is a clever antithesis to what should be one of the best days of someone’s life. British humor —a trifecta of self-deprecation, innuendo, understated sarcasm and verbal sparring —is truly a work of art. This series is great for a hearty laugh and pleasant escapism, something we all need during these uncertain times. If you like a hidden gem, binge watch The Worst Week of My Life.
Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry
I’ve been aware of Bollywood for years, but until I watched this documentary, I only knew that it’s based in India. British TV presenter, Anita Rani, takes viewers on a fun, engaging and educational trip to India to learn about and explore behind the scenes of Bollywood, the Hindi-language sector of the Indian movie-making industry that began in Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930s and developed into the world’s biggest film producer —far eclipsing Hollywood. This family-friendly documentary is a great introduction for the Bollywood novice or a lovely companion piece for fanatics/experts. Anita is a very hands-on, charismatic, and delightful host. Her passion for Bollywood is infectious and inspires viewer interest in all the essential ingredients that make a quality Bollywood film. She chats with actors, directors, choreographers, costume designers, stunt coordinators, Foley artists and everyone in between to understand and investigate the films she’s idolized since childhood. India produces three times as many films as Hollywood and sells more than two billion movie tickets. Bollywood creates the wealthiest and most revered stars on earth, whose salaries dwarf their Hollywood counterparts. The films are beloved world-wide. By the end of this documentary, you get a sense of the sheer magnitude, scope and fundamental importance of Bollywood to Indian culture. These films are more than just escapism for movie-goers, they are a religion and reflective of and inspired by ancient art forms. Filmmakers know how to appeal to Indians of all different social classes, from beggars to billionaires. They are a source of viable employment for the populace as part of the filmmaking crew or in the multi-talented cast. If you need a respite from daily life, try this sumptuous documentary that whisks you away to India for a very worthwhile two hours.