whatevermortal: (xenasonic)
[personal profile] whatevermortal
I've started watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries with my Mum recently. She's been complaining about not having any hobbies and, until the sister and I organise her Mother's Day gift (we want to do an art/cooking/dance class of some kind as a group), I thought it'd be nice to find a new show to keep up with together.

It's been a while since I watched an Australian series, coz we haven't had access to free-to-air telly for...oof a couple years now, but I'm being reminded of a lot of the issues that I have with it. Miss Fisher's has such a cool concept; it's historical crime, set in 1920s Melbourne, which I love. I'm writing a script for an Australian historical crime series, this is a thing I am interested in. But the execution is lacking. The acting is mostly pretty mediocre, the storylines are too ambitious and end up ridiculously busy, and they often don't provide enough cues for you to follow Phryne's mental leaps as she makes them (which is the one thing I like about BBC Sherlock--they use on-screen text to physically show you Sherlock's inferences about what he's seeing). I do enjoy how subtle they tend to be about the clues that they through in, so you can follow along if you're really paying attention but miss them if you aren't. I don't really enjoy watching crime "mysteries" where I've figured out how the murderer is before the detective has.

I love Phryne and Dot's early friendship in the first episode and god do i ship it where's the fic :( and I was so curious about how Dot's issues with technology would affect her work for (and relationship with) Phryne. So I was disappointed to realise that both got brushed aside for a romantic subplot between Dot and Constable Collins. Phryne and Dot don't talk unless it's case-related or for Phryne to tease Dot about Collins! I was really looking forward to seeing that friendship develop and I couldn't care less about Dot's relationship with Collins. It's so formulaic for Australian TV:

Shy Awkward Guy meets Shy Nervous Girl. They both like each other and stutter at each other preciously. But, oh no! SAG is too shy and awkward to ask out SNG! They continue to stutter preciously at each other while everyone exchanges looks about how precious and awkward they are. Eventually SNG works up the confidence to take charge and asks SAG out instead.

It was cute the first time, but I've seen this plotline a thousand times and it's just predictable and dull as hell to me now.

I'm starting to get kinda uncomfortable with how invisible Indigenous Australians are in this show as well. I'm really hoping they'll come up in a later episode or hey maybe more than one that'd be nice because this show's depictions of race in Australia have so far been...not great. Actually, the episode I'm thinking of was the first time I realised how cluttered the episodes are. They tried to fit all of this in a one hour episode:

a) A singer & musician who came to Australia, where their interracial marriage would be allowed. The singer was married already, she's technically committing bigamy but the guy she married back in America was bad and she loves this guy, really. She's also being blackmailed by the victim. The musician, however, thought she was having an affair with the victim.

b) Two dudes being blackmailed with weirdly perfect photographs of them in bed together (I'm sorry but it was the 20s, I have a lot of trouble believing that situation would produce photos that clear!) which, fyi, I called straight away. I think they were trying to cut it so it looked like the dude wearing glasses was looking at Phryne, not her dance partner? Totally checking out the boyf tho.

c) One of above dude's mother was being blackmailed....for her older son not actually dying in the war like she said. Which, honestly, how the fuck did the victim find this out? How did he know that the younger son didn't know? Why would you rather pay regular blackmail cheques than just tell your fucking kid his brother isn't dead? So many questions.

These were all the motives for murdering the victim and I just. There's WAY too much going on for a one hour slot! Especially considering the sensitivity of the issues involved (sodomy as criminal offence! racism! interracial marriage! bigamy!). They were clearly trying to give justice to the characters involved (glasses-dude got the short straw though, sitting in jail for half the ep while his boyfriend's on the run. rude.) but you can't develop that many stories with the depth and complexity necessary to do them well in that amount of time.

I did, otoh, really appreciate that the gay character (well, the one we're meant to care about, who didn't get shafted) had a storyline outside of his sexuality, which is pretty rare for lgbt characters in crime shows. His relationship with his brother was important and got a fair bit of screen time.

Anyway, idk, I think I've spent this whole post talking about everything I hate about this show when I actually really like it! It's entertaining! Phryne is very hot! Period costumes! Old Australian architecture!

If only they'd give me more Phryne/Dot interaction and less Dot/Collins, I would be content.

Date: 29 Apr 2015 09:47 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
Part of what's going on in these episodes is that, in almost every one, they're condensing down a full novel (I suspect that the books would have more of what you dislike as opposed to making things better. I enjoy them, but part of that is because I can read them and very rarely find things I can read these days that don't set off my anxiety). The many of the things that come across as poorly supported or inexplicable have more to them in the books.

The plot with Phryne's missing sister and the guy in prison who probably killed her doesn't exist in the books. Also, in the books, Jack Robinson is quite a bit older (old enough to have adult children) and happily married.

As far as I can recall, the books don't ever address anything at all about Indigenous Australians. There is some stuff about Chinese immigrants but it all kind of segues into how wonderful and open minded Phryne is.

(Here from the FFA friending meme.)

Date: 30 Apr 2015 12:28 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
I didn't read them in order (I read them as they became available at our library), and I was still able to follow along. There are new characters introduced in some of the books, though-- Phryne takes a lover, I think his name is Lin Chung, who turns up in several books (she still has other lovers, too, but I don't think any of them turn up repeatedly). Lin Chung may be an issue for you because he does eventually marry, an arranged marriage, while still keeping things going with Phryne. His wife knows and approves (she and Phryne get along well) if that helps. Mr Butler has a wife in the books who does all the cooking. Phryne adopts two girls, Ruth and Jane, in one book, and they turn up in some later books. In one of the very late books, she acquires a boy named Tinker who is some sort of mix of unofficially adopted son, servant, and trainee detective. Phryne pays for him to go to school, and it's his life's ambition to be a policeman. Oh, and Phryne's younger sister comes from England in one book, and she and her lover turn up a couple of times in later books.

Cocaine Blues is the first book. I think I read it second. It shows Phryne arriving Australia, meeting Cec and Bert and meeting Dot. I think Mr And Mrs Butler start working for her in the next book, but it might be at the very end of the first book. If I recall correctly, the first book I read in the series was A Question of Death which is a short story collection. I wanted to try the author in small pieces.

Phryne does rate very high on the Mary Sue scale. I don't mind it, but other people do. I was a little bit put off when, in Murder and Mendelssohn, the most recent book, a former lover turned up who was almost exclusively homosexual with Phryne as the only exception. (The back story for that kind of, sort of works. Maybe.) At the end of that book, there's an author's note that offended some people-- Kerry Greenwood disapproves strongly of Elementary because Watson ought not be a woman.

As to the show, from what I recall, Phryne and Jack don't do much but flirt until he's safely divorced, and by the end of season two, they're still very much in the will-they-won't-they. There is one kiss that might happen before the divorce, but it's of the type where they're about to be caught watching someone and need to look like they're focused on something else entirely.

The romance between Dot and Hugh is definitely present in the books. It's a little less obvious because Greenwood wants to string it along indefinitely so as not to disrupt her successful formula by letting Dot leave.

If you like the Phryne Fisher books, Greenwood also has a series set in modern Australia, the Corinna Chapman books. Corinna is a baker in (I think) Melbourne, and that takes center stage in most of the books. The mysteries are often kind of off to one side and don't necessarily make much sense. I enjoyed the baking enough that I liked the series. There is a bit in one of the books where Greenwood expresses some hostility toward LJ. I didn't notice it particularly, but a couple of people I know remarked on it. (One of them was hate reading all of Greenwood's books, so she was looking for problems.)

Date: 6 May 2015 07:34 am (UTC)
biting_moopie: (glee group pilot by misskitty373)
From: [personal profile] biting_moopie
Just wanted to say, I end up shipping everyone as an OT3. Love triangles are boring!

Date: 7 May 2015 08:51 am (UTC)
biting_moopie: (kurt and blaine by misskitty373)
From: [personal profile] biting_moopie
I haven't, but thank you for the rec!

I haven't seen Haven, but the ending in Leverage was pretty awesome. Sadly, it's probably as explicit as we're going to get :(

Yes, exactly. It's all about cheap drama. I wouldn't mind them if they weren't so overused. Even if one is well written, it would just make me roll my eyes.

Date: 6 May 2015 07:33 am (UTC)
biting_moopie: (glee group pilot by misskitty373)
From: [personal profile] biting_moopie
I'm very curious about the series you're writing. Is there anything you can share at this stage? It's totally fine if not - I don't like to talk about what I'm writing until it's done.

Thank you for this post. I did hear about the show and was wondering about the portrayal of Indigenous Australians. I know what you mean about being over that trope (shy guy and nervous girl)! It can be done well, but it's way too overdone at this point.

Date: 7 May 2015 08:42 am (UTC)
biting_moopie: (GleeFurt30 by flupf on lj)
From: [personal profile] biting_moopie
I would watch and read the heck out of this and I would promote it everywhere for you. This sounds amazing. If you need encouragement, you are always welcome to email me because this is truly inspired and creative, and it's also a very important story you're telling. Thank you for sharing this with me, I'm so excited for you!

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