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After the difficulties of 2020, I wanted to reward myself this past Christmas by purchasing some more detective shows to watch. However, I’m very indecisive and couldn’t decide on any particular ones to get on DVD, so I figured the best option would be to sign up for a streaming service that is known for having access to many mysteries. I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime, so I already had access to many American series. So I considered adding on either a BritBox or an AcornTV subscription so that I could watch more British detective series. Both BritBox and AcornTV are available as add-on subscription channels within Amazon Prime in the US (and Canada). AcornTV goes for $5.99 per month in the US; while BritBox goes for $6.99 in the US.
The question was: Which one should I go for?
I decided to do some research to find out which specific shows I could access using each service, so that I could more easily compare which service would best suit my needs and wants. To summarize the main similarities/differences between the two channels/services:
- Both BritBox and AcornTV carry the full collection of Midsomer Murders, so if you’re mainly interested in access to that particular series you can choose either of the services.
- If you’re interested in watching Vera, you should be aware that some seasons of the show are found on BritBox while others are found on AcornTV. One money-saving strategy would be to subscribe to one channel while you’re watching the seasons available there, and then cancel or put that subscription on hold when you subscribe to the second channel to watch the seasons available there.
- According to my count, BritBox has almost twice as many mystery shows than AcornTV: 54 series unique to BritBox vs. 31 series unique to AcornTV. Therefore, BritBox might give you more bang for your buck. However, this all depends on which specific shows you’re most interested in.
- BritBox tends to have more classic mysteries from the 70s, 80s and 90s. On the other hand, AcornTV has more modern series and originals from the last decade.
- You’re more likely to find detective-related sitcoms on BritBox (e.g. Inside No. 9 and Porridge); whereas AcornTV has quite a few mystery-related adventure comedy-dramas (e.g. Lovejoy and Pie in the Sky).
- Aside from British mysteries, AcornTV also has additional mystery series (not listed below) produced outside of Britain (such as Murdoch Mysteries from Canada, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries from Australia).
A full list of series found on BritBox vs. AcornTV (listed in chronological order) can be found below so that you can easily see which channel has the series you (the reader) are interested in the most. Note, however, that the list is based on availability of these shows in the US, and so access to a specific series may be different in other countries. Both channels allow you to sign up for a free 7-day trial so you can always do that to help you figure out which channel you personally would enjoy most.
Personally, I’m going to go for BritBox first so I can rediscover old favourites, and then move on to AcornTV in a few months to get acquainted with some of the new series.
- The Sweeney (1975-1978)
- The Sandbaggers (1978-1980)
- The Bill (1983-2010)
- Sherlock Holmes (with Jeremy Brett) (1984-1994)
- Taggart (1985-2010)
- Inspector Morse (1987-2000)
- Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013)
- Campion (1989-1990)
- Prime Suspect (1991-2006)
- Maigret (1992)
- A Touch of Frost (1992-2010)
- Heartbeat (1992-2010)
- Cracker (1993-2006)
- The Thin Blue Line (1995-1996)
- Dalziel and Pascoe (1996-2007)
- Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1996-1998)
- Silent Witness (1996-present)
- Jonathan Creek (1997-2016)
- The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (1998-2000)
- Without Motive (2000-2001)
- Rebus (2000-2007)
- Waking the Dead (2000-2011)
- The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2001-2008)
- The Last Detective (2003-2007)
- Rosemary & Thyme (2003-2007)
- New Tricks (2003-2015)
- Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004-2013)
- Father & Son (2009-2010)
- Psychoville (2009-2011)
- Dirk Gently (2010)
- The Body Farm (2011)
- Death in Paradise (2011-present)
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) (Charles Dickens)
- Life of Crime (2013)
- WPC 56 (2013-2015)
- The Fall (2013-2016)
- Father Brown (2013-present)
- Shetland (2013-present)
- Inside No. 9 (2014-present)
- The Coroner (2015-2016)
- New Blood (2016)
- Porridge (2016-2017)
- Maigret (2016-2017)
- Dark Heart (2016-present)
- In the Dark (2017)
- Little Boy Blue (2017)
- Three Girls (2017)
- Bancroft (2017-2020)
- The City and the City (2018)
- The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (2018-present)
- Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators (2018-present)
- Wild Bill (2019)
- The Bay (2019-present)
- The Mallorca Files (2019-present)
- The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971, 1973)
- Lovejoy (1986-1994)
- The Advocates (1991-1992)
- Pie in the Sky (1994-1997)
- Supply & Demand (1997-1998)
- Trial & Retribution (1997-2009)
- Killer Net (1998)
- Liverpool 1 (1998-1999)
- Wire in the Blood (2002-2008)
- Foyle’s War (2002-2015)
- Murder Investigation Team (2003-2005)
- Inspector George Gently (2007-2017)
- Above Suspicion (2009-2012)
- The Silence (2010)
- Public Enemies (2012)
- Suspects (2014-2016)
- Code of a Killer (2015)
- Midwinter of the Spirit (2015)
- Partners in Crime (2015) (Agatha Christie)
- The Trials of Jimmy Rose (2015)
- No Offence (2015-2018)
- The Witness for the Prosecution (2016) (Agatha Christie)
- Agatha Raisin (2016-present)
- The Level (2016-present)
- The Loch (a.k.a. Loch Ness) (2017)
- Bang (2017-2020)
- Keeping Faith (2017-present)
- Hidden (2018-present)
- Queens of Mystery (2019)
- London Kills (2019-present)
- Manhunt (2019-present)
If you know of a show that is missing from the lists above, or if you have any other additions or corrections, please let me know in the comments!
Has anyone done something like a venn diagram to compare Acorn and Britbox streaming services and show which programs they have in common? Even putting the 2 lists into abc order would help.
I can put it on my to-do list to do that next week 🙂