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.
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May 2015

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