Thursday, 15 January 2009

The greatest TV show of all time

Debate rages on as to the single best series ever to air on the box in the corner, and with this blog I intend to set the record straight.

The coveted title goes to an American drama of timeless genius. Not The Sopranos. Nope, not The Wire either. In fact, the greatest TV show of all time is Murder, She Wrote.

Brilliantly scripted, a masterclass in acting, air-tight plots that twist and weave with enviable grace... None of this describes Murder, She Wrote.

Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher is without doubt the best character of all time and the plot itself is incredible - a fictional crime writer who in her spare time jets all around America and the world, always arriving the day before the murder of a friend or their associate and solving the case before her return journey.

It's a miracle she has friends left to visit and even more baffling that they accept her into their homes knowing the inevitable fate - I'd be inconveniently busy should she ever phone to arrange a holiday.

Quite how she's above suspicion from the law as she makes her way from crime scene to crime scene is anyone's guess. Her presence is the common denominator in deaths across all the states of America.

Some of my favourite things about M,SW:

-Jessica interrupting two characters amid suspicious conversation, revealing that she was outside the room the whole time. Equally, a conversation finishing and the camera panning to reveal her little shocked face pinned to the door frame.

-How police forces always give a woman with no law credentials absolute carte blanche in their crime scenes, often unsupervised and leading to key evidence disappearing into her pocket.

-Background extras in police stations, newspaper offices or pretty much any scene who are so determined not to break the "fourth wall" that they'll do anything to avoid looking at Jessica or the camera - usually by staring intently at bits of paper, examining bundles of paper, showing each other bits of paper and taking paper from one desk to an other.

-Finding modern day great actors as fresh-faced rising stars in old episodes, always playing their part with a look of slight embarassment.

-Jessica's icy and socially uncool "I don't believe you" face.

-The murderer's inevitable admission in great detail of how and why they did what they did, presumably saving a whole bunch of time in lengthy court proceedings.

-The ending. Wee bit of jovial chat, the sort of punchline that a Christmas cracker company would reject outright, Jessica's daft face - freeze. Credits.

One of my favourite things in the world is to be sat on a Sunday afternoon with my mum, a glass of Irn Bru and a double-header of Murder, She Wrote.

If you can watch it without outbursts of hilarity and the strange mixture of giddiness and rage, shouting angrily at Jessica and her meddlesome ways, then you do not deserve a telly box.

The brilliance of Murder, She Wrote is best seen in its finest episode, 1987's "It Runs In The Family". Set in Britain, its main character is one Emma McGill... Jessica Fletcher's identical cousin, played by Angela Lansbury.

Yes, identical cousin.


Sado said...

Oh god - this cracked me up so much =]
I love Murder, She Wrote! No better way to spend a Saturday afternoon indeed ^^

Graeme J said...

Hey Sado, if you found that funny you should check out my new book at