Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Fansbury.

I am getting shirts made up that say:

I liked Murder, She Wrote before it was cool to like Murder, She Wrote

If this sentiment strikes you as funny or ridiculous you are obviously not a Fansbury. Yes, that's right. Fans of Angela Lansbury have coined a term for themselves. We are the Fansbury! I assume this arose on that hotbed of hipster-inspired Fansbury love: tumblr. I'm sure the tumblr-based Fansbury was just as interest as I to learn that there is reboot planned for our beloved series.

Truthfully, I'm conflicted about this. According to early reports the reboot is going to be very different from the original. For one thing Octavia Spencer's JB Fletcher will be African-American. Or so I assume. Also Octavia Spencer's JB Fletcher will be (if we are to use the actress' real birth year of 1970) in her mid-40s when the show finally airs next fall. Angela Lansbury was 59 when the show was first produced. I have no issue with either of these alterations, in fact I am excited by both.

JB 2.0 is going to be a hospital administrator who "self-publishes her first mystery novel." True confession: in real life the phrase "self-publishing" terrifies me. Also she'll be a hospital administrator?! This I don't like. JB 1.0 was a retired school teacher whose social contacts spanned generations and social classes. Many episodes revolved around Jessica mentoring and visiting former pupils. It was an excellent plot device. Plus if JB 2.0 has an office job she won't be able to globe trot like JB 1.0. This is a huge change from the original premise, and it's not a plus. I often watch particular episodes based upon my desire to see a certain locale (Ireland or Japan or a version of my own province that is completely fanciful and yet charming). Throw in the fact that her novel is self-published and we've also lost the plot device of Jessica travelling to different cities and countries on book tours encountering a revolving cast of friends and foes.

All of these changes mean that the proposed series is less a reboot of the original Murder, She Wrote and more another generic variation on the Author-As-Amateur-Sleuth trope that we can currently see in Castle and Bones. And we all know where that leads.  To story arcs (timed for sweeps periods) involving serial killers out for revenge upon our author/sleuth. Ho. Freakin'. Hum.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

If I were in charge I would change very few things about the original formula. JB would still be an internationally famous author, trained as a teacher, with the backing of a major publisher who is willing  to finance her semi-peripatetic lifestyle. She'd still live in a small town. More importantly, I'd ensure that characters from the original series were entrenched into the reboot version.

Characters like…

Frank Fletcher. JB 1.0 writes her first novel to fill her days after the death of her beloved husband. In my version, this role will be played by either Jerry O'Connell or John Cho.

Clarification: Frank will be alive in my MSW reboot. I don't go in for zombies or ghosts.

Grady Fletcher. I have two actors in mind for the role of the milksop nephew raised by Jessica and Frank following the death of his parents:
- Nathan Kress (Freddie from iCarly) if we want him to be a university aged character, or

-Tyrel Jackson Williams (Leo from Lab Rats) if we want a younger actor.

Doc Hazlitt. Eric McCormack would be perfect as our cankerous doctor.

Would it be too derivative of  Cagney and Lacey to have a female sheriff to act as JB 2.0's foil? Because I'd like Sandra Oh to appear as Sheriff (Miranda? or Margaret? or Morticia?) Metzger

Eve Simpson.  This strumpet/realtor would be a great role for Ashley Tisdale.

My version is going to be AWESOME.  I hope Ms Spencer's is good, too.


  1. Your version IS awesome! Especially if you can score John Cho for several flashback scenes as Frank. He is dreeeeeeeeeamy :).

    Check out this awesome Ken Jennings post about who-will-be-the-first to star in three different movie trilogies. There are several contenders, but if J.J. Abrams can get that next Star Trek movie out, then John Cho will be the winner!



  2. I have never once watched Murder She Wrote. I KNOW.

    1. No Star Trek? No Murder, She Wrote? I don't undertand you sometimes.