Good Day, Miss Fisher

Right now the Mid-Atlantic is getting pummeled by a blizzard. My dad took a photo of his patio with a yard stick to show snow totals of twelve inches and the storm is far from over. For once, being further north has allowed me the reprieve of only four to seven inches. Enough precipitation to shove my kids outside for some sledding, but not enough to interrupt our normal school schedule on Monday. As far as winter storms go, this is do-able. Not only can I hang out in my pajamas all day, but I can continue to binge watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix. Not since Veronica Mars have I fallen in love with a television show this much. And thanks to Netflix, I can watch the three seasons at my leisure.

Based on the popular book series (which I haven’t read yet because I discovered the show first) by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is set in Australia in the late 1920s. Phryne Fisher, played by the charming Essie Davis, is an heiress with a dark, blunt-cut bob and an enviable wardrobe. After returning from Europe, Miss Fisher sets herself up as a private detective. Alongside a cast of likable characters: the handsome Detective Inspector Jack Robinson; Phryne’s young companion, Dot; Dot’s beau, Constable Hugh Collins; Dr. Mac, Phyrne’s out lesbian friend; and Phryne’s household staff including the surprising Mr. Butler; Miss Fisher always solves the crime.

Single and in early 40s, Miss Fisher is a modern woman. She spent WWI working as a nurse on the Allied Front and she — like Jack — has returned from war changed. She’s seen death up close and for that, she embraces life’s joys, choosing to do what she wants and bed who she wants. This is a stark contrast to the younger generation of Dot and Hugh, whose naivety and innocence make them more old-fashioned than the slightly older generation. The war is a constant presence that molds Phryne’s life, making her an unstoppable female force in a world of men.

With each crime, the show enlightens viewers to the tough issues of the time period including suppression of women, homosexuality, poverty, and intolerance. In one episode, it’s revealed women are forced to undergo hysterectomies to cure them of their madness. In another, a young girl is killed because she is pregnant. Phyrne’s wealth affords her more than fancy clothes, it provides her with autonomy, and in turn, she is able to seek justice for those who can’t get it themselves.

Lastly, I cannot end this blog post without discussing Phryne and Jack’s relationship which is steamy as sexual tension bubbles beneath their professional exterior. Essie Davis and Nathan Page (who plays Jack) have some of the best onscreen chemistry I have ever witnessed. This proves that a television series need not show sex to be sexy.

Well, I’m off to watch the rest of Season 3 — I will be very sad when it’s all over.

Are you watching Miss Fisher? What do you think of the show? Who are your favorite characters? And if not, what are you waiting for?

 

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Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.

15 thoughts on “Good Day, Miss Fisher”

  1. If it’s available through Amazon, I’ll check it out. I’m binge-watching Suits at the moment. (Loved Downton Abbey.)

    What I appreciate about binge-watching is that I really get the character arcs. Watching a show once a week, if I even remember to try and get to it, just isn’t the same and I often lose interest.

    OT: My granddaughter texted me photos of the snow against her glass doors in Maryland (she works in D.C.). I was unimpressed. While she grew up in Colorado, she has turned into a Snow-Wuss. I understand that a city not used to dealing with snow every winter is struggling, but my grand? Sheesh.

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  2. Sounds very interesting! Can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for the heads up. I am always looking for a good show to watch. Stay warm!

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  3. I love Miss Fisher, and so does my husband, but perhaps for different reasons. One of the few regrets of my life is that I didn’t name my daughter Phryne. (For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s pronounced FRY-nee. C’mon, how great is that?)

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  4. Stay safe with all that snow, Kimberly! I love Miss Fisher’s Mysteries and am currently working my way through Season 3, too! The romantic tension between Phryne and Jack is so well done, although I find myself continually shouting at the screen, “Just kiss already!” 😉 I also really appreciate how Dot’s character has evolved…Hard to believe she was afraid of electricity in the first episode!

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  5. I want to take a college class on the show. There’s so much to discuss — the sexism of the day juxtaposed against Phryne’s modernity. It really is a well-done program.

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  6. Thanks for the tip about Miss Fisher on Netflix. I added it to my list. I am currently watching Making of a Murder as well, but I am always on the lookout for more great shows to watch when I have time (HA HA). If something gets done the first time I ask instead of the 3 no 7 times that I usually have to ask.

    As writers, how do you compare/contrast a video version (movie, TV show or series) of a book you have read or written with the original written work? If you know a book is being made into a movie do you read the book first or after seeing the movie?

    A book is always my first choice in the book/movie contest. I read the book first if I can, but occasionally I have seen a great movie and the credits with listing “based on the book by,” and I have sought out the book. I find that there is so much more detail in the book, and a book offers more insight to what characters were thinking. I really get to know the characters better in books.

    Movies, on the other hand, are much more visual, and give me a great feel for action and environment, which is left to my imagination in a book. TV? Well they hardly resemble the books at all; almost like the characters from the book were just dropped into another story. That is fine. Not everything has to follow the book. TV has such different time constraints ( present, develop and wrap-up a story line in 47 minutes), episodes are more like short stories than books.

    OH, and there is no snow here on the “left coast” but I’ll throw a handful of beach sand at you if you want.

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  7. For me, a TV/movie adaptation is successful if a) the main plot is untouched and b) the adaptation is true to the spirit of the original. Harry Potter is a fine example, as is Lord of the Rings. They were not verbatim retellings of the books (and I’m still sad that the whole explanation of the Marauders was left out of the third). But the important pieces were there and the spirit was true.

    Contrast that with The Lightning Thief, which I watched with The Boy. The movie left out the entire Kronos story line and, in the words of The Boy “That’s the whole point of the story.” Or when they made Clive Cussler’s Sahara into a film. I’m sorry, NUMA was not a treasure-hunting agency and Al Giordino was Italian (the actor was most definitely NOT Italian).

    The truth is that books cannot be presented word-for-word on the screen and some alteration must be made for theatricality. The book can have more detail because if you presented every detail in a movie, the film would probably be six hours long and put the audience to sleep.

    Oh, and I try to read the book first if I know there’s going to be a TV/movie adaptation. If I even want to see the adaptation (I can usually tell based on the trailer).

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