Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Television Critique 2016 – 01/07/2016: Murdoch Mysteries: Season I

Murdoch Mysteries: Famous Personalities, Inventions and Stepping Stones to 21st Century items - Season I

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a TV Show review.
Prologue: Go here.
For Review on all the seasons in this series: Go here.

I introduced this series in my reviews a while ago here. Here is the second post in the series highlighting some of the famous personalities, inventions and stepping stones to 21st Century. This is from Season I, enjoy the read and perhaps you might want to watch the series as well.

Episode 1: Conversion of DC to AC is introduced in this episode albeit it's called Niagara Current. We catch a glimpse of Beginnings of Animal Rights Activists when a lady fights for the dog that was being used in the demonstration of conversion from DC to AC. Detective Murdoch meets the great inventor Nikola Tesla who was the spearhead in developing Alternating Current. Tesla demonstrates the first Telegraph across the seas. Interesting conversation occurs between Tesla and Murdoch about sending voice and images over waves leading them to call it telakinetiscope when Tesla says, "Too many syllables. Call it Tela-Vision. Huh!". The episode also shows the first Surveillance equipment where Tesla and Murdoch invent a huge box that they use to record the killer being blackmailed by the agent of police. Towards the closure of the episode, Dr. Ogden says, "So, is the Case Closed? It's a good expression. Case Closed. It's strong. I should remember it" - Perhaps the first time the expression came up as well. The episode closes with usage of Telegraph from New York to Toronto.

Episode 2: This episode opens with difference between Capacitor and Battery, obviously the concept of Capacitor seems to be new for that period. We get to see the invention of motored bicycle. Although the inventor is fictional in this case, Dr. Gilbert Birkins. Interesting conversation between Birkins and Murdoch makes us wonder if some at least had thought about pollution and pile up of metallic waste these inventions would cause in future even though are useful.

Dr. Birkins: It's the way of the future. Ofcourse that's upto mechanical power. I mean, the horses are a thing in the past.
Detective Murdoch: Yes, Well a device like this has some advantages.
Dr. Birkins: Some, Detective! This is just liberation. Anyone can travel wherever they desire.
Detective Murdoch: Well, I understand! But a world full of mechanized vehicles like this. Fumes alone, let alone the roads need carry thru.
Dr. Birkins: It's quite manageable if thought through.
Detective Murdoch: Ah Yes! IF!

One sad part that I saw that Murdoch gets rejected for an inspector position for another constabulary just because he is a Roman Catholic and Toronto being a Protestant City. There perhaps is no time in present and past that has not caused split amongst the humans because of religious differences. Very sad!

You also get to see different inventions (such as a teapot that pours tea without you ever touching it similar to coffee and tea maker we have now; bicycle with engraved lettering that leaves messages when ridden thru mud) that were applied for patents as Murdoch and Constable Crabtree peruse through them looking for evidence on the murder. They find a patent by Dr. Birkins for Corn Shards that can be eaten as breakfast with cold milk. Crabtree calls it revolting; however, we now know them as Breakfast Cereals and actually relish in eating them. :P And Crabtree does come up with an idea for canned food and exporting it across the world.

Episode 3: I saw once in CSI how the investigators used a pig to determine the blood splatter pattern and it was acceptable in the court in that case. However, in this episode Murdoch uses the same experiment but had hard time convincing his superior that this is acceptable evidence in court. We also get to see how large the negatives for photographs are in that period. Each negative is almost 4X5 in size.

Episode 4: Murdoch brushes shoulder to shoulder with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in solving this case. In the course of time, Mr. Doyle gets the idea for another Sherlock Holmes book, Hound of Baskervilles based on a story by Inspector Brackenreid from his childhood. Interesting to see that in this fictional episode Mr. Doyle wants to ditch Sherlock Holmes to replace with Murdoch's cases making Murdoch the center of his stories. Thankfully, this is not true else we would have missed more of Sherlock Holmes. Phew! Although his dialogue with Dr. Ogden makes me wonder if that was the actual reason for his hiatus for 8 years in reality. Hmm!

Dr. Ogden: And what sort of a writer kills off his finest character?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: One which does not want to be shackled to his own creation!

Murdoch also uses his invention of the huge flash light that helps him to see the crime scene in the night. He invents a telephonic probe and gifts to Dr. Ogden to help her in searching a bullet in a body. He does mention though that his invention was similar to what Graham Bell invented to pull a bullet from American President James Garfield's chest but with some improvements.

Episode 5: This episode deals with a case of homosexual, known as Sodomites then. Another interesting fact was one of the relative of the victim calls Heroin as "Wonder Drug" when she uses it to calm the grieving person. Although it's no longer a wonder drug anymore. In one scene Murdoch refers to Finger Prints as "Finger Marks", a weird term if I may say.

Episode 7: Murdoch demonstrates a Kinetoscope with a moving picture that repeats every 5 seconds, beginnings of a projector perhaps. One of the scene shows a man getting his teeth cleaned by a dentist. Wow...if I was in that period I would dread going to a dentist. The equipment was humongous and nasty. No wonder dentists were feared back then, and even now. **Giggling** The episode also highlights about Forensic Facial Reconstruction using clay. Murdoch presents a book and a cube of clay to Dr. Ogden and mentions about Wilhelm His, Sr., a German anatomist who had done facial reconstruction earlier. Constable Crabtree as always suggests a game that is very similar to Hangman game.

Episode 8: The opening of the episode shows Murdoch demonstrating what is called a Pneumograph to determine if a person is lying or not. Another basis for current Lie Detector, although this is humongous compared to modern one. Apparently Coffee wasnt that common back then either. Here's an interesting conversation between Crabtree and Murdoch. Contrary to Murdoch's opinion, coffee did caught on.

Constable Crabtree: Oh Sir! You have to try one of these. I have four already since morning. It's the damndest stuff.
Detective Murdoch: What is it?
Constable Crabtree: Coffee! I have only heard of it at Big and York apparently.
Detective Murdoch: Terribly bitter!
Constable Crabtree: I thought so too at first. But, it grows on you.
Detective Murdoch: Why on earth they would serve this when we have tea? I dont see this catching up.
Constable Crabtree: I wouldn't be so sure about that, Sir!

Episode 8: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appears in this episode again. Interesting to note that the twin brother of the suspect is named as Mycroft. Coincidence perhaps. ;) There is mentioning of an ancient therapy called Cupping Therapy in there. This was the therapy that Mr. Doyle wanted to use on his wife, Louise, who was dying of consumption or tuberculosis. In real infact Mr. Doyle's first wife was Louise who did die of consumption.

Episode 9: Detective Murdoch uses the Inspector's Opera glasses to invent something called Circumscope which can be useful in surveillance. Another invention that leads to Periscope eventually.

Episode 11: This episode has the murder happen in an Institute for Mind. The founder mentions that their research would someday find a cure for dementia, brain fever, hysteria, etc. I believe such institutes are still existing and still trying to find the cure.

Episode 13: This episode starts with discussion and thoughts about life on Mars and about Martians living among us. However, it leads the Detective and his team to a secret government facility in Nevada and New Mexico called "Concession 51" referring to what currently we call as the "mysterious Area 51". Detective Murdoch and his team get to see the first airship too more like advanced version of Rozier's Hot Air Balloon.

Stars: 4/5
My Recommendation: Very interesting watch!!
Tags: critique by amateur, murder, murdoch mysteries, mystery, reviews, tv shows

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