Let me start by saying that my wife is what you would call an “old soul”. She is mature beyond her years in her tastes and she would’ve fit in well in the 20’s through the 50’s. Another thing about her is she likes what I call Old Lady Programming. So Columbo, Golden Girls and most importantly Murder, She Wrote. All of these are great shows, mind you, so if you have not seen them they definitely hold up over time.
Murder, She Wrote is great not just because Jessica Fletcher (played by the amazing Angela Lansbury) is charming, intelligent and pretty hilarious in her beyond brave confrontations, but because how everyone seems totally fine with people dying around her that she is close to, interacted with, maybe even thought of?
Murder, She Wrote had 265 episodes… 265! A few were stories that she was telling but the majority is her visiting places where someone just so happens to be murdered at the event she is at… What is even more interesting is when she is in the fictional small town of Cabot Cove, Maine and there are a abundance of murders happening around her at all times. Friends, family, associates… there is always some connection. It doesn’t take me long to start thinking of weird situations that should follow if this happens in reality.
Example: There is a small town of Cabot Cove with a population of 3,560. With all the episodes where murders take place in town, how are their any people left? Why does she have neighbors and friends? Why do the people that actually live there not just leave?! Save yourself people!
Also, she is a writer who writes murder mystery’s… wouldn’t you start to think she is planning some of these to get a new book? And if we ignore that, she is a WHIZ at solving these things… seriously, later in the series the police start accepting her help more often but its probably around murder 87 that stop resisting her help. She is hands down the greatest mind this side of Criminal Minds/NCIS/CSI/yadda yadda yadda. Give her a freaking medal!
For shows that go as long as this one did they do find themselves trapped in a loop though. Its understandable to try to figure out ways to keep it fresh, but it rarely works. Luckily the title is open enough to not annoy me… unlike others.
Some shows have a title that traps their show to an expectation. One of them is Prison Break… After each season I kept wondering… a new season is coming out, its called Prison Break, but they have not actually broke out of prison! It’s the title of the show! Call it Incarcerated or something… there’s a lot more jail than breaking. Revenge is another one… usually you get Revenge pretty quickly in shows and it just feels like they didn’t expect people to like it and now are in a panic to extend it. So we get a show that should be 2 Seasons but they stretch it to 5. How many scandals can happen in Scandal one right after the other?
So writers, think of these traps when it comes to naming your product, stick with your vision and don’t feel obligated to stretch out something “just because”. And as for Murder, She Wrote… 256 episodes is a ton, but we cannot get enough of that lovable scamp J.B. Fletcher.