December 30, 2009

Review - Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Fourth Season



 By the fourth season, most shows have found their groove and are making the best of their writers. Murder, She Wrote is certainly no exception. With another great batch of mysteries and interesting characters, season four expands the MSW universe and takes our heroine Jessica Fletcher to many exotic locales, whether it be Paris, Quebec (where most people apparently speak with an English accent (?)), New York, and Saskatchewan (okay, maybe not that exotic).
 The mysteries do not falter this season, and of course, the guest stars are plentiful. These include: Juliet Prowse, Patrick McGoohan, Janet Leigh, Dean Jones, Geoffrey Lewis, Clive Revill, Eli Wallach, Sonny Bono, Debbie Zipp (as Grady Fletcher's girlfriend Donna), Kristy McNichol, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Eddie Albert, Shirley Jones, George Grizzard, Dean Stockwell, Eugene Roche, Barbara Rush, Eileen Brennan, Colleen Camp, Lloyd Bochner, and Anne Meara.
 Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Fourth Season is sure to find a place in any mystery lover's collection.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) and Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley)

Valerie Bechet (Juliet Prowse) in Murder, She Wrote: A Fashionable Way to Die

Inspector Panassic (Fritz Weaver), Eva Taylor (Barbara Rush), and Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: a Fashionable Way to Die

Anthony Quayle (Patrick McGoohan) in Murder, She Wrote: Witness for the Defense

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Witness for the Defense

Cabot Cove townspeople in Murder, She Wrote: Indian Giver

Garrett and Cornelia Harper (John Callahan and Janet Leigh) in Murder, She Wrote: Doom with a View

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Doom with a View

Kathleen and Jackson Lane (Shirley Jones and Eddie Albert) in Murder, She Wrote: The Body Politic

Jason Richards (Lloyd Bochner) in Murder, She Wrote: Deadpan

Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton) in Murder, She Wrote: Just Another Fish Story

Dr. Seth Hazlitt (William Windom)

Marian Simpson (Eileen Brennan) in Murder, She Wrote: Old Habits Die Hard

Morgan and Virginia McCormack (Richard Beymer and Joanna Pettet) in Murder, She Wrote: The Way to Dusty Death

Salvatore Gambini (Eli Wallach) and Chief Thaddeus Kyle (Arlen Dean Snyder) in Murder, She Wrote: A Very Good Year for Murder

Valentino Reggioce (Sonny Bono) and Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Just Another Fish Story

In Memory Of...

 Gene Barry
         1919 - 2009





 I was suprised and saddened to find out from People magazine's Passages section that actor Gene Barry passed away December 9th at the age of 90. With a career spanning over fifty years on film, television, and Broadway, he was well known for not only playing the lead character in the television series Bat Masterson, but also for playing the first murderer on Columbo, in the pre-series TV movie Prescription: Murder. That's an honor that really can't be taken away.
 Sci-fi fans will recognize him as Dr. Clayton Forrester in 1953's The War of the Worlds. He later made a cameo in the 2005 Steven Spielberg remake with his co-star Ann Robinson.
 In 1990, he reprised his role as Bat Masterson in two episodes of Guns of Paradise and The Gambler Returns: Luck of the Draw the next year.
 Barry also made appearances on Murder, She Wrote and Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love.
 Predeceased by wife Betty in 2003, Gene Barry leaves behind three children, Michael, Frederick, and Elizabeth, as well as three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Rest in peace.

December 21, 2009

Review - Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Third Season



The third season of Murder, She Wrote brought another batch of great mysteries, as well as a great crossover between this show and Magnum, P.I..
 Starting us off is the two-parter "Death Stalks the Big Top", where Jessica finds her brother-in-law Neil (Jackie Cooper), who's long been thought dead. It's not long until Neil confesses to murdering one of the circus' workers, but Jessica knows he is innocent and sets out to find the real killer.
 Appearing again are Len Cariou as Michael Haggerty (in "One White Rose for Death"), and Jerry Orbach as Harry McGraw (in "Death Takes a Dive").
 As I mentioned before, this set also features the crossover with Magnum, P.I., but there's a funny mistake with the included Magnum, P.I. episode "Novel Connection": it's the syndicated version, not the network original. That means instead of seeing the police arrest Magnum for murder (even though someone else's bullet killed the hitman), we see Magnum shoot the hitman and save the day, eliminating the cliffhanger (the original open-ended version is on the Magnum, P.I. - The Complete Seventh Season DVD set). Of course, it would make more sense to have the original with "Magnum on Ice".
 Guest stars, like most other seasons, are abundant here. These include: Jackie Cooper, Martin Balsam, Greg Evigan, Florence Henderson, Pat Hingle, Hayley Mills, Erin Moran, Lloyd Bochner, Charles Napier, Leslie Nielsen, Genie Francis and Jeff Conaway (returning as Jessica's niece and nephew-in-law), Marcia Wallace, Gretchen Corbett, Eugene Roche, Len Cariou, Jerry Orbach, Jessica Walter, Dorothy Loudon, Gregg Henry, Courteney Cox, Tom Selleck and John Hillerman (as Magnum and Higgins, respectively), Kathleen Lloyd, Donny Most, Barry Williams, Kate Mulgrew, Colleen Camp, Rene Auberjonois, Shaun Cassidy, Adrienne Barbeau, Joe Santos, LeVar Burton, Buddy Hackett, George Clooney, Ron Masak, Harry Morgan, Eric Braeden, Gloria Stuart, and Steve Lawrence.

Neil Fletcher (Jackie Cooper) in Murder, She Wrote: Death Stalks the Big Top

Lieutenant Kale (Pat Hingle) in Murder, She Wrote: Unfinished Business

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) and Greta Mueller (Maria Mayenzet) in Murder, She Wrote: One White Rose for Death

Michael Haggerty (Len Cariou) in Murder, She Wrote: One White Rose for Death

Haskell Drake (Harry Guardino) in Murder, She Wrote: Deadline for Murder

Lt. Caruso (Gretchen Corbett) in Murder, She Wrote: Deadline for Murder

Higgins (John Hillerman) in Murder, She Wrote: Magnum on Ice

Sonny Greer (Kate Mulgrew) in Murder, She Wrote: The Corpse Flew First Class

Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) in Murder, She Wrote: Crossed Up

Harry Papasian (Rene Auberjonois) in Murder, She Wrote: Murder in a Minor Key

Dave Robinson (LeVar Burton) in Murder, She Wrote: Death Takes a Dive

Richard Webb (Harry Morgan) in Murder, She Wrote: The Days Dwindle Down

Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) and Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Magnum on Ice

This set's a must-have for all Murder, She Wrote fans.

December 20, 2009

Quote

 "The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have."

---- Leonard Nimoy

December 15, 2009

When it comes to me and Christmas...



*I have an innate urge to go against the usual stream of "it's not about presents" people (as true as the saying is), and say it's capitalism's time to shine, because when one thing becomes the norm, some of us want to counteract it.
    *Holiday specials about Christmas are fondly remembered by kids and us kids-at-heart the best. One of my faves is Arthur's Perfect Christmas.

    *Movie marathons, especially James Bond and Star Trek movie marathons, dominate my holiday viewing schedule.

    *Christmas candy beats Halloween candy by a metric mile with Terry's Chocolate Oranges, Turtles, chocolate seashells, strawberry candy canes, and jumbo-sized Toblerones.

    *The possibilities when it comes to Christmas trees are endless, from pre-lighted to even the old-fashioned real tree.

    *Helping the less fortunate by collecting donations, cans, and gifts helps them have a better Christmas.

    *The extra sleep from days off (might not apply to everybody) is always good.

    *Boxing Day is the perfect supplement to Christmas, giving chicks like me a manic shopping day right after Christmas. It's like an actual holiday devoted to shopping. (A note to Americans, we Canadians don't do Black Friday. It'd be nice if we did in addition to Boxing Day :))

    *Snow always makes your usual townscape look so much more festive!

    Review - Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Second Season



     In many television series, the second season is where the show's formula and writing really take flight. Murder, She Wrote is no exception. Here, more twist-filled stories and great guest stars drive home some of the best mysteries the whole family could enjoy.
     Here, in the second season, we're introduced to recurring characters Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) and Michael Haggerty (Len Cariou), as well as Jessica's British cousin Emma (also played brilliantly by Angela Lansbury).
     The second season also brought more mysteries taking place in Cabot Cove itself, like in "Joshua Peabody Died Here... Possibly", when a skeleton's discovered at a construction site, and "Sticks and Stones", where the town's flooded with an onslaught of poison pen letters after a murder takes place.
     Image quality's an improvement over the previous set, but the odd speckled scene here and there remains.
     Guest stars are important too. This season features: Gary Crosby, Dick Van Patten, Cyd Charisse, Mel Ferrer, Roddy McDowall, Norman Fell, Mackenzie Phillips, June Lockhart, Martin Milner, Lee Meriwether, Vera Miles, Adrienne Barbeau, Norman Fell, Jessica Walter, Yvonne De Carlo, Glynis Johns, Patrick Macnee, Olivia Hussey, Carole Cook, Kristoffer Tabori, John Astin, Karen Black, Vic Tayback, Carol Lawrence, Robert Stack, Alex Rocco, David Hedison, Jerry Orbach (appearing again as Harry McGraw), Rex Smith, Linda Hamilton, Van Johnson, Audrey Meadows, Penny Singleton, and Robert Vaughn.

     A great follow-up to the first season, Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Second Season is sure to make a great addition to any mystery lover's collection.

    Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Widow, Weep for Me

    Michael Haggerty (Len Cariou) in Murder, She Wrote; Widow, Weep for Me

    Amos (Tom Bosley) in Murder, She Wrote: Joshua Peabody Died Here... Possibly

    Joyce Holleran (Jessica Walter) in Murder, She Wrote: Murder in the Afternoon

    Alger Kenyon (Roddy McDowall) and Jessica (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: School for Scandal

    Ernest Fielding (Kristoffer Tabori) in Murder, She Wrote: Sing a Song of Murder

    Sheriff Bodine (Martin Milner) in Murder, She Wrote: Reflections of the Mind

    Cliff and Christine Carpenter (Jack Carter and Carole Cook) with Jessica (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Dead Heat

    Warden Gates (Vera Miles) in Murder, She Wrote: Jessica Behind Bars

    Gideon Armstrong (Robert Vaughn) in Murder, She Wrote: Murder Digs Deep

    Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: One Good Bid Deserves a Murder

    Harry McGraw (Jerry Orbach) in Murder, She Wrote: One Good Bid Deserves a Murder

    Chester Harrison (Robert Stack) in Murder, She Wrote: Christopher Bundy - Died on Sunday

    Jessica (Angela Lansbury) and Carol McDermott (Linda Hamilton) in Murder, She Wrote: Menace, Anyone?

    Mitch Payne (David Hedison) in Murder, She Wrote: The Perfect Foil

    Aunt Mildred (Penny Singleton) in Murder, She Wrote: The Perfect Foil

    D.A. Fred Whittaker (Dick Van Patten) and Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury)