By Pat Gulley
Don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but TV is a wasteland of no mysteries. So much so that when one comes on it’s like a starving person staring at a crust of bread, devouring it and then wondering where it went and barely remembering what it tasted like.
Okay, PBS does its best, but BBC America and A&E have totally given up. I categorically refuse to watch Top Gear because it had the audacity to replace Mystery Monday. I mean, Blue Murder and The Murdoch Mysteries are sitting out there waiting to be presented to the American public. And why not a few reruns, I’m missing Cadfael, The Last Detective, Midsomer Murders, Hetty Wainthropp, Rosemary & Thyme and even as far back as Murder Most English. Or even a few of those funny old Tommy and Tuppence things.
So I’m forced to scour the Netflix Files, and I did find the newer Canadian version of The Murdoch Mysteries. I ordered Season one and was quite pleased. Canadian production about a Canadian detective plying his trade in Victorian Toronto Canada. Wow! And I enjoyed it very much. Each episode had a bit of forensic investigation and how it came into use: finger ‘marks’ and distinguishing between animal and human blood, and even references to other sciences like astronomy. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a character in two of them, one about spiritualism and the other where he was searching out cures for consumption. His wife died of that disease. The one about Victoria’s grandson, Albert, was interesting with the IRA trying to kill him during his philanderings, but I’d have thought reference to his once being suspected of being Jack The Ripper would have made for a better story. My favorite was about Martians, crop circles and lights in the sky.
Pleased, I went on line to see more about the series, and wouldn’t you know it found a site with a review of it claiming that the previous series was better! (?) So searching I went, and yes, there was another Canadian production done in 2004. I guess I’ve got to trudge back to Netflix, order it and compare. Done.
Of course, I sort of wondered where the story came from and sure enough, it came from a series of books by Maureen Jennings, The Murdoch Mysteries. And according to the review claiming the earlier series was better, the author thought the actor from the first series, Peter Outerbridge, was perfect for the roll of her main character Detective William Murdoch. So, I’ll probably have to compare Peter’s performance and interpretation of Murdoch to Yannick Bisson’s.
Yes, that’s me staring off into space wondering if I should seek out the books too. Nah! I’ve got lots of books to read and a huge list waiting to be ordered. What I do not have is some good TV or movie fare to entertain me. I’ve watched reruns of my favorite shows, and I am interested in SF too, but if you have any good suggestions, I’m listening.
A question might be: is there any mystery series you love so much you watch and re-watch forever? Don’t suggest anything Agatha Christie, because they are all on my re-watch list, and I like to take down the books while watching them to see what the TV writers and producers think they could do better than how she wrote it. Oh, and I do watch Castle.