The latest addition to NZ's ever-more-crowded streaming market is Acorn, the self-styled "Britflix" service that launches today.

Actually created by an American company (AMC Networks), Acorn has garnered around 1 million paying subscribers for its mix of British, Canadian and Australian "quality dramas".

A competitive $7.99 a month (or $79.99 a year) will give you all-you-can-eat access to a raft of British shows (see list foot of article), though for some their appeal will be dimmed by the fact that many are available already here.

Acorn will be followed in November by the $8.99/month Apple TV+ and the $9.99 Disney+, which will jostle with incumbents Spark Lightbox ($12.99/month) and Sky TV-owned Neon ($13.95) for Kiwis' limited entertainment dollar (see the full streaming lineup in the Herald's updated Idiot's Guide to Streaming).


All of its shows feature closed captions or subtitles.

And the newcomer comes with good notices. The New York Times said it has, "The most robust, reliable selection of European, British, Canadian and Australian shows." And NPR (the US equivalent of RNZ) called it "Netflix for the Anglophile."

Ironically, however - or like a black fly in its chardonnay, as Canadian poet Alanis Morissette would have it - many of its shows are already streaming in NZ via US-owned Netflix.

Clockwise from left: Acorn series Doc Martin, Victoria, Broadchurch, Grantchester, Humans and Detectorists.
Clockwise from left: Acorn series Doc Martin, Victoria, Broadchurch, Grantchester, Humans and Detectorists.

Acorn headlines the BBC's cracking police procedural Line of Duty, for example, is already available on Netflix NZ (or at least both Acorn and Netflix NZ offers seasons 1 to 4; you'll have to sneak onto the BBC's iPlayer to see seasons 5 and 6).

And other Acorn stock fare like Doc Martin, The Bletchley Circle, Peep Show, The Inbetweeners, Black Books, and the wry comedy Detectorists is also on Netflix NZ - while others, like costume drama Victoria, murder-by-the-sea effort Broadchurch and sci-fi drama Humans, have only recently departed Netflix (the industry process of "windowing" or content only being available on a service for a limited time, makes it fiendishly hard for the viewer to keep track of what's streaming where).

But a spokeswoman for Acorn said will feature several NZ streaming exclusives including Father Ted, Grantchester, Brides of Christ, contemporary drama The Politician's Husband and Acorn original series Agatha Raisin, starring Ashley Jensen as the eponymous amateur sleuth.

In the migraine-inducing way of the streaming wars, some seasons of some shows are exclusive, while other seasons in the same series are absent.

Kiwis can access Acorn TV through a wide range of devices including IOS (iPad and iPhone), Android (phone and Tablet), Android TV, Chromecast or by visiting


Apple TV and Amazon Fire apps are promised soon.

Acorn highlights

• The only place to find all seasons of beloved British police dramas George Gently and Foyle's War;
• All three seasons of Irish detective drama Jack Taylor, starring Game of Thrones' Iain Glen;
• The first two seasons of popular, long-running medical comedy drama Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes, with more seasons to be added in coming weeks;
• Record-breaking ratings hit and critically acclaimed series Line of Duty (Seasons 1-4), dubbed "king of the crime dramas" by The Telegraph UK;
• All series of British period drama The Bletchley Circle, featuring Line of Duty's Anna Maxwell Martin and Peaky Blinders star Sophie Rundle
• Peabody and BAFTA Award-winning serial crime drama Broadchurch, starring Oscar-winner Olivia Colman and Doctor Who's David Tennant, with Seasons 2 and 3 to be added in the coming weeks;
• Season One of critically acclaimed costume drama Victoria, starring The Cry and Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman with season 2 to be added in October;
• Seasons 1-3 of 1950s detective drama Grantchester;
• Acorn Original Series Agatha Raisin, starring Ashley Jensen as the titular amateur sleuth;
• The first two seasons of beloved Australian drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries starring Essie Davis;
• Six-part crime series Partners in Crime, starring Little Britain's David Walliams and Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine, based on the Agatha Christie Tommy and Tuppence novels;
• BAFTA-winning comedy Detectorists starring The Office's Mackenzie Crook and Captain America's Toby Jones
• Season One of British sci-fi drama Humans, starring Crazy Rich Asians' Gemma Chan (with season 2 to follow in October).