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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Drama > Comedy > TV > Murder, She Wrote – The Complete Third to Eighth Seasons (Universal DVD)

Murder, She Wrote – The Complete Third to Eighth Seasons (Universal DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: C+



As the hit Angela Lansbury series Murder, She Wrote continued its long term success as a Sunday night hit, the show became slowly more comic and less mysterious, which was good for ratings, but not necessarily good for the show quality-wise.  Still, when you look at the arc between the third and eighth seasons, you can see that tendency and how the show becomes “safer” in tone in a way that is unfortunate.  You can read about my feelings on the show early on in this coverage of its second season:





Starting with the 1986 – 87 season, the show even started to noticeably lighten up on a visual level, not that the show was ever The X Files, but good form in even a broader Mystery TV show is needed.  By the 1991 – 1992 Season, it was enough of a hit that they could get some great character actors to appear and any hit show looks good on a resume (Roxie Roker, Kate Mulgrew and Marcia Cross are examples here) for a long term career, but again, this became like The Love Boat without the boat.


As a sign of desperation, Jessica Fletcher (Lansbury) leaves Cabot Cove for a teaching job in New York.  This did not kill the show, which was only 2/3rds of the way finished in its run.  The makers and star knew their audience and the fact that it has made it to an 8th DVD box set shows how popular the show still is.  It also reminds us how good it is to have scripted television, that even at its more stretched-out, is a pleasure versus lame “reality TV’ and like junk.


The 1.33 X 1 image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound remains very consistent across all box sets, though there is a little more aliasing trouble by the 8th set versus the early ones, but at least these are shot on film.  Sadly, there are still no extras, but they have four or five sets left (a TV movie revival set seems inevitable) to make up for that.


Lansbury and other should be available and wouldn’t it be nice to have bonus features when the series is reissued on Blu-ray?



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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