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MHz Choice subscriber favorite ‘Magellan’ streaming on MHz Choice!

My fellow citizens of MHz Nation, we live among those who know nothing of life’s seedier side. Content to traverse the world in innocence, crowding museums and posing in front of fountains, those walking fannypacks out there are missing out the good stuff: the sinister backstreets of Florence, the stark outskirts of Malmö, the bitter cold of a Rostock cobblestone. Not us. We know what evil lurks in the heart of man – and it’s awesome! Settle in for a bumpy ride as we spin the Wheel of Murder.

Navigate the crimes of France with Magellan

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Jacques Spiesser in Magellan

THE SHOW: Magellan is an long-running detective series, set in the fictional city of Saignac and starring Jacques Spiesser as the titular commissaire, Simon Magellan. It was created by Laurent Mondy (who also created the cop show Cordier), and if there’s ever been a more charming police detective on any television show in any country, I don’t know about him. Mon Dieu, this guy. The whole thing is so wonderfully watchable, it doesn’t even matter if Magellan solves the crime (he always does), I just want to keep hanging out with him. Season 1 premiered on MHz Choice earlier this year and is available for savoring like a good French meal. Season 2 is now streaming!

THE FORMULA: When the Wheel of Murder spins, there are many of us, wrapped tightly in our cardigans, on the lookout for the comfort and healing of a heart-warming “cozy.” I mean, as heart-warming as a show about someone’s violent death can be – you know what I’m saying. I’m happy to report that “Magellan” is as comforting a modern cozy as they come. It’s as if they looked across the Channel at England, lit a Gauloises, and were like, ‘let’s show these rosbifs how it’s done.” Jacques Spiesser rises triumphantly to the task, zeroing in on each suspect with a knowing focus, but never cruelty. In fact, he can seem downright sympathetic, perhaps because, in his home life, Magellan takes on the even more difficult job of raising two daughters while re-entering the dating pool. While on paper this last detail sounds like it could be a tired formulaic trope we’ve seen before, it’s truly quite funny, and the show manages to mingle these elements with the lightness of a perfect soufflé.

[LOCATION] WAS LIKE ANOTHER CHARACTER: Though it was invented for “Magellan,” Saignac is meant to be a Northern province (though the Internet tells me the -ac suffix indicates Southern France? We won’t quibble), and the program is filmed in and around Lille. Well, what can I say? It’s stunning, as only a city that dates back to the Middle Ages can be. The architecture, the light, the countryside? The beautiful townsfolk with their baskets of flowers and perfectly perfect air of je ne sais quoi? C’est magnifique.

BLANKET STATEMENT: Cast off the blanket, this is a cower-free zone. Commissaire Magellan and his faithful and beautiful Lieutenant Berarya protect us from anything too unseemly. This is less about bloodstains than about Magellan calmly and methodically keeping the eccentric provincial locals and the city big-shots who habitually invade their space in balance.

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Jacques Spiesser and Selma Kouchy in Magellan

HEY, THERE: Spiesser is one of those sleeper sex symbols, serving the Baby Boomer heat with an air of seen-it-all bemusement. “Oh, you stabbed someone to death?” [amicable smirk] “Ah, you did it for love?” [wide-eyed sigh]. Could it be that I’m ready to throw over my old favorite DI Tom Barnaby of Midsomer Murders? Let’s not get too crazy – I don’t speak very good French. Still, for a man of a certain age, he’s wonderfully compelling and leads the rest of the cast with excellent energy, as befitting the cinematic and theatrical legend he is.

MAKE A NIGHT OF IT: It’s MHz Choice night in your house and you’re ready to dig in to this French fare with gusto. Don’t worry if you’re not a Michelin-worthy chef – neither is Magellan. His inexplicable failures in the kitchen somehow only make him more appealing, so if you need to opt for a pizza and a bottle of French wine, who will ever be the wiser? He’s a good detective, but he’s not that good. Make it a French bread pizza. He’ll understand.

Who needs Wonder Woman?

Ever wonder how middle-aged, out-of-shape Magellan catches the bad guy? He’s got his own secret weapon, Lieutenant Berraya! Not that he gives her any props for physical prowess. In fact, after she chases the perp down, he always manages to take credit – with a big eye roll from her every time. Every couple – even crime fighting partners – have their schtick! Watch their schtick below:

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About the author:
Allison Lowe Huff is a freelance writer and editor with an overly concentrated interest in mystery stories from anywhere and everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @lowehuff.