Acorn TV's 'Darby & Joan' Debuts In August

Bryan Brown and Greta Scacchi star in Darby & Joan

Not quite a year ago, Acorn TV announced it was ordering Darby and Joan, a new mystery series, from producer CJZ, the same company behind the hit My Life Is Murder. The odd couple crime-solvers are known in Australian society as "grey nomads," retirees who give up their homes to travel across the country seeking adventure. Jack Darby is a retired Australian homicide detective who has taken to the open road with his dog Diesel. Joan Kirkhope, a recently widowed English nurse on a reluctant trip across the Outback to find answers about her husband's mysterious death.

The series was announced in August 2021, with longtime Australian actor Bryan Brown in the role of Jack. American audiences will probably know him best from his role as Luke O'Neil in the 1980s TV movie, The Thorn Birds. He also co-starred with Tom Cruise in Cocktail and Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist. Younger PBS viewers will be more familiar with his co-star, the Italian-Australian actress Greta Scacchi, who plays Englishwoman Joan. She played Countess Rostova in the 2016 adaptation of War & Peace and more recently appeared in the hit TV series The Terror.

Though technically, the series is billed as a mystery to fit Acorn TV's growing number of international whodunit, the logline suggests this is probably a bit of a missile, as the series is far closer to a genre mashup philosophical romance. (The title references the proverbial phrase "Darby and Joan," meaning a married couple content to share a quiet life of mutual devotion.) The series initial logline called it "an epic love story; a non-stop road movie; a mystery series; an Outback odyssey. Darby and Joan asks, can you find yourself in the middle of nowhere?" It sounds a little bit like it could be the kind of show that's got something for everybody. Check out the first trailer:

Here's the show's synopsis:

As the series opens, retired Australian homicide detective Jack Darby has taken to the open road with his dog Diesel to flee his past, while recently widowed English nurse Joan Kirkhope is on a reluctant pilgrimage to find answers about her husband’s mysterious death. They couldn’t be more different: the low-key, ruggedly charming Aussie and the tightly-wound, yet warm, witty, and determined Englishwoman, but when they collide in the Australian outback and become drawn into a series of unexpected mysteries, this unlikely investigative duo soon realize the most intriguing puzzle they face is each other. 

Brown and Scacchi are joined by a cast of primarily Australian co-stars, including Kerry Armstrong (Frayed), Aliandra Calabrese (Joe vs. Carole), Charlie Clausen (Home and Away), Robert Coleby (A Place to Call Home), Peter O'Brien (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries), Sophie Cox (Mortal Engines), Caroline Gillmer (Underbelly), and Kaarin Fairfax (Picnic at Hanging Rock). The series' creators are Glenys Rowe and Phillip Gwynne. Directors Ben C. Lucas, Mairi Cameron, and Jo O'Shaughnessy helmed the show's eight episodes. Darby and Joan was filmed in Queensland, Australia, and partly financed by Screen Australia in association with Screen Queensland. 

Darby and Joan will debut with two episodes on Aug. 8, 2022, on Acorn TV, with two episodes arriving weekly on Mondays through the end of the month.


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Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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