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Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Series 2
It's time for a little bit of an imported mystery phenomenon: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a popular and acclaimed television production produced in Australia that has literally "made waves" outside of its home country by being imported to over 120 different stations and distributors around the globe. It's become a huge success and is one of the new productions Acorn Media in the US has been distributing alongside their branch of popular mysteries. For fans of mysteries, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries might just make for a fun diversion that takes place in a neat setting: the 1920's era in Melbourne. Season 2 keeps the entertainment factor going along.
The series was created by two mystery writer's - otherwise known as Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger. Cox is the head writer and show-runner, making sure that the series stays interesting and fresh each season. The series is based on a popular novel series written by Kerry Greenwood. The focus on the show is centrally on the main character Phryne Fisher (otherwise known as Ms. Fisher). Performed with wit and style by Essie Davis, the character is one who is full of the smarts, glamour, and skills needed to take on the mysteries surrounding her private eye life. Throughout the show, the writers seem to want to focus both on the character elements and certainly the mysteries in each episode and Davis does a good job making the show blend a character-based and mystery-focused approach.
In addition to the central character Miss Fisher, the series involves the Detective John "Jack" Robinson (Nathan Page) as the second hand helping Miss Fisher during most of her cases. Utilizing his many connections and abilities in his field, he's a huge aid to various aspects, despite Miss Fisher ultimately being the number one person there to make sure things get accomplished. Reluctant to help at first, the oddball duo seem romantically united with a consistent question-mark hovering around this aspect of the show. Will they ever take the affections they have for each other and turn it into a romantic relationship?
Alongside Miss Fisher there is also the up-tempo and kind-natured friend known as Dorothy "Dot" Williams (Ashleigh Cummings) , her greatest ally and friend, who helps out in various capacities so that a 'mission accomplished' ending can be the ultimate result for a case. Unlike Miss Fisher, she is a devout Catholic and is a lot more concerned with certain morale aspects, which sometimes adds a element to the show's plot-lines given the odd situations Miss Fisher sometimes finds herself in.
Dot is also in a relationship with Constable Hugh Collins ( Hugo Johnstone-Burt), a sort of shy, bumbling, but sweet man who clearly adores her -- seeing the romantic interludes of these two characters is a element of the show that adds some heart to it that ultimately raises the series quality. The romantic element makes the show more cheery and enjoyable amidst the dark murder mysteries. The show's focus on characters like these ones helps to keep it in a more lighthearted vein so that audiences can root for the cast of characters while exploring these darker themes in the individual episodes.
The second season continues the mystery adventures which began in season one and for the audience following these mysteries -- or, indeed, for those who are new to the show but are looking for a new mystery series to follow, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries provides those viewers with a few head-scratchers whodunit's and makes the show a success for fans who appreciate episodic mysteries that unravel episode-to-episode. Though some of the mystery elements might be easier for some, or more complex, given that sometimes red-herrings are aplenty.
The production aspect of the series is one of the finest qualities of the program. Each episode produced costs around 1 million dollars for this series. This is due largely because it has been filmed with good care given to the type of equipment utilized, the production design of the sets, location-filming, costume design, props, and various other aspects which add up to this finely detailed production.
There was a lot of care given to these production qualities (especially aspects like the costumes, make-up, and art-direction, which helps to keep things interesting visually. Given that the setting is the 1920's the production must accurately reflect the aesthetics of the time and the show seems to do a good job with this aspect). The direction and writing also are a good aspect that go hand-in-hand and keep the show entertaining. Overall, there are many unique aspects of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and the season will be a blast to discover for the fans who are devoted to this Australian mystery/drama and followed its successful first year out.
Presented on Blu-ray in 1080i High Definition, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries looks quite good on Blu-ray for the most part - it just isn't perfect. The interlacing is sometimes a distraction and there occasionally were compression artifacts to be found: a result of lower bit-rates given that there are four or five hour long episodes featured on each disc. However, this does not mean the presentation is without merit. Colors and depth and generally pretty strong and the high quality production design still looks beautiful on this Blu-ray release, which accurately reproduces the production of the show. The series is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1.
The series is presented with stereo 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. This helps viewers to better hear nuances in the music and sound-stage. Even though the audio is stereo only, the show's audio presentation works well at reproducing the dialogue, music, and occasional effects. Fans will certainly be pleased with its clean and efficient sound design.
English SDH subtitles are provided for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Supplements include series 2 promos (5 min.), behind the scenes footage (32 min.), a "season's greetings" (2 min.), and a photo gallery for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. All supplements included are presented in standard definition.
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a good program that has a balance between a murder-of-the-week plot-line and a focus upon the characters that make the program much more enjoyable. The show isn't the most complex storytelling-wise, but it's well-done, and that is an important aspect that keeps it interesting. The production merits are sometimes astonishing so that's certainly a reason why some watch the program. Fans of the show should certainly add to their collections if interested and enjoy another batch of mysteries.
As for presenting viewers with some good news: Season 3 has been green-lit as of June 2014. The possibility of a non-renewal was close but the program's devoted fan-base around the globe perhaps inspired renewal. In any case, look forward to even more new mysteries (unraveling to viewers sometime in 2015).
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.