Thomas and Jessica

Monday, October 4, 2010 Permalink

I am home sick today.  A terrible headache and aching neck and shoulders kept me in bed for most of the morning.  When I woke at lunchtime I was pretty sure I could happily sleep away the afternoon, but decided I should get up lest I be completely unable to sleep tonight and am rendered inactive tomorrow as well.

After checking and dealing with work emails I settled myself in my comfortable armchair and flicked through television channels looking for something on daytime TV to keep me from my bed.  Staving off head-spins I caught the end of a Judy Garland movie I can’t recall ever having seen before (I grew up in regional Queensland on a diet of Sunday afternoon Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire and Doris Day movies.)

Feeling too light-headed to do much else after the movie finished I channel-surfed again before coming across Magnum PI. I can’t recall being a huge Thomas Magnum or Tom Selleck fan when the show actually aired back in the 1980s but, as I have always consumed large amounts of television and suffered through a deficiency of options in my home town, I have watched my share of the Hawaiian-based detective.

Watching it a decade and a half later remains a treat.  Episodes were replayed on a Sunday morning (on and off) last year and I circled it in my TV Guide in an attempt to remember to watch (or tape) it.  Despite the occasionally-wooden acting and (now) very-dated stunts and special effects I was surprised to see a number of familiar faces – including a young Ted Danson, Sharon Stone, Ernest Borgnine and Carol Burnett.

Today’s episode (shown on one of our new free-to-air digital television stations, 7mate) featured a young Miguel Ferrer.  Again I was reminded how much I like and miss shows like this.  I must also confess to be a Murder She Wrote fan.  When the show was replayed on daytime television earlier this year, I set my video to tape it and watch at my leisure.

I think people either love or hate Angela Lansbury’s Jessica Fletcher.  I personally think she morphed into a less-patronising and annoying character over the show’s life.  Although I cringed at the sets’ and decor (I think I had blocked macrame hanging pot plant holders from my mind), I liked the lack of complexity in the storylines when comparing them to the murder/mysteries on our screens today.

I can think of few current shows which can offer the G-rated viewing of the likes of Murder She Wrote, Magnum PI (and their contemporaries, Hart to Hart, Moonlighting, Remington Steele, Jake and the Fatman etc…).  Although I enjoy shows like Dexter, Law & Order (et al), The Mentalist etc, they are all far more macabre and not exactly easy-viewing.  Hardly fun.

It makes me wonder where we are heading though.  If in another 10 or 15 years the grisly corpses in Bones; serial killers of Criminal Minds; and mind-benders of Fringe will be passe?  Perhaps I will be giggling at the special effects in Caprica.  I guess only time will tell.   Until then I will work out how to record my digital television channels and – when time permits – settle down with Magnum and giggle at the short shorts.  And the hair.  Not to mention the moustaches!


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