This vanity post was inspired by my recent visit to the set of Murdoch Mysteries. If you’re not a fan of the show, you should be, but please bear with me and who knows? I may convert you by the time you reach the bottom of the screen.
I’m a cut-to-the-chase kinda guy – and not just in the bedroom. (Isn’t my wife a lucky gal?) So I’m going to get right to it, assuming you don’t mind? You don’t? No wonder we get along so well.
For the uninitiated: Murdoch Mysteries is a CBC television drama, produced by Shaftesbury Films derived from the novels by Maureen Jennings which follows detective William Murdoch’s adventures in early-twentieth-century-Toronto. Murdoch uses up-and-coming forensics techniques and an unconventional approach to nail the bad guys while wooing and eventually winning the hand – and other body parts – of his lady love, Dr. Julia Ogden.
Now that you’re up-to-date, Poindexter, let’s get to it.
100) The show is a portal to a simpler time; a day and age when people still had honor and the world appeared to be a less-complicated place.
99) It’s on the CBC, which is a Crown Corporation. This means the Canadian government owns and runs the network using tax dollars. I have, on rare occasions, actually paid my taxes. This means I own a infinitesimal stake in Murdoch Mysteries. I like that.
98) Detective William Murdoch is portrayed by actor Yannick Bisson. I’ve met Yannick Bisson. He’s a righteous dude, who, unlike many celebrities I’ve brushed elbows with, is isn’t so full of himself he’s on the verge of generating his own black hole.
97) My wife loves Yannick Bisson’s “sexy knees’. And that’s all I have to say about that.
96) Their prop master, known far and wide as Prop Monkey, is the head of Monkey Lair Labs and he is absolutely delightful. He is a mad genius on par with Doctor Doom. Minus the iron mask and world-conquering agenda, of course. All Prop Monkey wants to do is make good television. In that regard, he fails. He doesn’t make good television… he makes great television.
95) The beefcake factor is ridiculously high on Murdoch. According to one of my regular guests, a young lady who recently moved to Toronto from Texas…
“Those Murdoch guys make me hotter than a virgin bride sitting bareback on a wood stove!”
Of course, it should be noted that the young lady in question vomited immediately after making that statement early one Sunday morning, though I doubt the two events are linked in any way.
94) Murdoch doesn’t skimp on the cheesecake factor either, though. The ladies of Murdoch are not only as radiant as the sun rising over the CN Tower, they’re incredibly capable actresses. (I had to include that statement to ensure my daughter, a budding feminist, won’t kill me, but I really meant it.) But more on the ladies of Murdoch later.
93) Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Even without a dog and four meddling kids, Murdoch Mysteries manages to spin a heckuva mysterious tale week after week.
92) They’ve got horses! Girls go nutty for horses. In fact, my next-door neighbor has portrayed a coach driver in several episodes. That makes me semi-famous by land association.
91) Catchphrases abound on Murdoch. “Bloody hell!” is among my favorites. We’ll get to the res tin due course. This is a long list, after all.
90) The show is proudly Canadian; you can see it in every plot, mannerism and the overall niceness of the cast. Heck, get close enough to your TV and you’ll even smell the maple syrup and back bacon…
89) The show regularly mines actual history to create exceptional fiction. Clever and Canadian? Awesome.
88) William Shatner is a fan of the show.
87) William Shatner has filmed an episode – appearing as Mark Twain, no less. If that doesn’t give a show street cred, I don’t know what does.
86) The show began as a series of TV movies, became a series on City-TV – and was cancelled by season five. Then, like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes, it moved to CBC and became a worldwide TV juggernaut.
85) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once filmed a cameo as a desk sergeant. Let’s see Obama compete with that.
84) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fascination with the history of hockey inspired an episode. Let’s see Donald Trump compete with that.
83) Murdoch Mysteries does not feature twincest, dragons, killer medieval ghosts, zombies or any of the salacious/supernatural elements that dominate television these days. All you’ll find is good solid television delivered old school style, kiddies.
82) This show has never featured a Kardashian. That alone makes it must-see TV.
81) Detective William Murdoch is an inventor, responsible for creating everything from Scotch tape to the lie detector. Not that he ever receives credit for his inventions, though. He merely “expands upon the work of others.” and never seeks fame or fortune. How Canadian is that?
80) No one on this show has ever been convicted of cattle rustling. As far as I know.
79) Detective William Murdoch is a deeply religious, incredibly honorable man who is in danger of becoming a dinosaur as the world around him degenerates into the world we know and sometimes loathe. This is no cookie cutter archetype, folks.
78) Murdoch’s boss, Inspector Thomas Brackenreid is a man who enjoys a good glass of Scotch, an even better donnybrook and above all, he loves his family. And saying “Bloody Hell!” He’s not above bending the rules to advance the cause of justice.
77) Stand-up comic Jonny Harris is Constable George Crabtree, the best assistant/partner/subordinate a detective could ask for. Crabtree is…
- A futurist.
- An exceptional comic foil.
- A writer whose imagination never fails to amuse.
76) Crabtree has become the focus of a Twitter campaign. #FreeCrabtree refers to George’s current plight; he’s currently incarcerated for a murder he’s confessed to but clearly didn’t commit. Or did he?
75) The Murdoch team has embraced social media – the ultimate marketing tool of our time – and utilizes it more effectively than any show I know.
74) The show’s social media team follows me on Twitter. So you know they have good taste.
73) Hélène Joy brings Dr. Julia Ogden to glorious life and does so with turn-of-the-century gusto. Julia has always been William’s on-again/off-again/on-again/off-again (my math is off; I’ve lost track to be honest), love – and eventually his wife -and all the while, she’s never failed to be her person. Julia, has in fact, had several occupations over the course of the series, something that would have been unheard of in that actual time period. And to say Joy is easy on the eyes is to suggest Lizzie Borden was merely acting out.
72) The always-delightful Georgina Reilly is Dr. Emily Grace, the perkiest medical examiner this side of Quincy. Emily is open-minded (more on that later), fun-loving and possesses a curious and agile mind.
71) Georgina Reilly’s eyes. They’re so filled with fire and power, they get their own entry. Reilly could speak her lines with only her eyes if necessary.
70) Murdoch Mysteries is entirely gluten-free. Apparently that’s a big deal these days.
69) You’re giggling right now, so I’m going to skip this one entirely.
68) Treasure hunters are in for a rare treat every time they tune in. Murdoch’s production team has assembled the coolest and nearly-impossible-to-find items from days gone by.
67) Hélène Joy’s smile. That thing could light up my hometown of Niagara Falls.
66) Arlene Dickinson once appeared as an early-century version of herself. She’s no Meryl Streep but she was funny and willing to laugh at herself.
65) Det. Murdoch wears a bowler hat. Bowler hats are cool.
64) Wealthy Barber David Chilton (my favorite Dragon of all time and a helluva nice guy), guest-starred as – you guessed it – an early-century version of himself. Chill rocks.
63) Kevin O’Leary has never appeared on this show. That’s actually a point in their favor.
62) “What have you, George?” Arguably the best catchphrase in Canadian TV history.
61) The bits ‘n pieces of Jonny Harris’ stand-up brilliance that bleed through into the script. If you haven’t seen Jonny’s stand-up routine, you haven’t really laughed.
60) That haunting, inspired theme music.
59) The cool logo that almost surpasses my own. Almost.
58) Peter Keleghan as Terrence Meyers, a Canadian secret agent who loves his stogies almost as much as he loves conspiracies and saying “I’m afraid that’s classified, gentlemen.”
57) Murdoch’s 8pm broadcast time is before my bedtime, so that works out well.
56) Winston Churchill (yes, that Winston Churchill), showed up in Murdoch’s Toronto once. And he was a laugh riot.
55) The whole family can watch Murdoch Mysteries and be satisfied. How many shows can make that claim these days? Not Game of Thrones, that’s for sure.
54) All CBC programs taste great and are now less filling. That’s your tax dollars at work, kids.
53) The show isn’t afraid to tackle religion persecution. Murdoch is a Roman Catholic in Protestant Toronto, and the show highlights the prejudices that he encounters as a result.
52) Are you as knackered as I am right now?
51) Geraint Wyn Davies, one of Canada’s finest thespians, portrayed Arthur Conan Doyle in three episodes. Davies never disappoints. It’s actually uncanny and almost disturbing.
50) The Murdoch team is very hip ‘n happenin’. As a result, several short run web series have also been created under the Murdoch Mysteries banner. Web series are cool.
49) The Murdoch team takes their work very seriously. I like that.
All right, I think we’ve reached a good stopping point. Much like one of William’s creations, I’m running out of steam. We’ll pick this up again soon. (As soon as I pick 49 more reasons out of my consciousness, that is.)
See you in the lobby, kids…