Good grief! Boy did I steer you all wrong… I posted two entries about the new PBS Agatha Christie season… along with the Ellen Byerrum shows, and YIKES!!! (The “YIKES!!!” should tell you enough if you don’t want to go on reading… But, I am so “hot-under-the-collar” right now, that I HAVE to go on writing…)
As for the Ellen Byerrum movies >>> I didn’t make it through the first half of the first movie, so I really can’t comment… other than to say that. I decided I would much rather be watching old reruns of Murder She Wrote… which is exactly what I did!
On to the longingly-awaited PBS shows:
I was concerned (going in) that I was going to miss Miss Lemon, Inspector Japp, and Capt. Hastings so much that I wasn’t going to enjoy the two Poirot movies. Not the case! Both of the Poirot movies (Mrs. McGinty’s Dead and Cat among the Pigeons) were very good movies… The production values were great, the attention to detail, the characters, the writing… and of course, David Suchet, reminded me of a time when we (SO) looked forward to watching a new Poirot show on A & E. Lots of little grey cells went into the production of these two movies!
On to the Miss Marple movies: That is exactly where my “YIKES” come into play! I have to be upfront on this: We have only watched the first two episodes in the four-part series. But, when did Miss Marple become an astute, in-the-middle-of-the-investigation player? When did she cease to be the doddering, fumbling, (always knitting) old woman who could be in a room without anyone worrying about her overhearing them? When did she start writing notes and telling the police what to do? I realize that she would hint at things and hope that the police would pick up on what she wanted them to do… but in these movies she came off as the central force of the investigations… with the detectives/constables actually relying on her to tell them what to do! She actually conducted the police investigations/questioning!
As Pat pointed out in a comment: Murder is Easy and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? weren’t even Miss Marple mysteries! But, I was not at all prepared for what they did with Murder is Easy… both in adding Miss Marple as the lead investigator and also at the filmmakers decision to include incest/rape into the plot. Why do production companies feel like they have to “jazz things up” by making shows that feature hot taboo plotlines?
After I struggled to make it through the entire Murder is Easy, the first thing I proclaimed to my family was: “I know Agatha Christie did not include the incest/rape into that plot!” Of course, after looking it up online, my daughter found that Agatha Christie didn’t include a lot of things into that mystery’s plot… things that the “hip” filmmakers passed off on the unsuspecting audience as written by Agatha Christie! Shame on them!!! And, since Masterpiece Mystery provides us all with introductions to each of their presentations >>> Why didn’t they tell us that the characters and plot had been WILDLY changed to appeal to a new “hip” audience?!? (Alfred, you are right: The Miss Marple shows have so many characters and scenes that it all becomes a confusing “What the heck?” OR “Who is that?” sequence!)
My daughter looked up the matter of incest in an Agatha Christie mystery and found that in 1995, Rosalind Hicks (Christie’s daughter) had to threaten a law suit against the film company that was making Towards Zero into a film >>> in which they added incest into the plot. The results of Hicks’ disapproval were that they had to change the name of the film, change the names of the characters, and take Agatha Christie’s name off of the entire project. Bravo!!! (As the president of the Agatha Christie Society, Hicks made sure that Agatha Christie’s work would not be… and these are my words… butchered or changed. And, I would like to add more words to that: to meet society’s growing “push-the-envelope” mentality!!!)
Having said all of this, I’m not even sure that the rest of my family will be watching the next two Miss Marple shows. I probably will… although I’m not sure why. I guess that it must be a morbid curiosity… or perhaps I am holding out hope that the filmmakers could not possibly make all four of these episodes into such lackluster events to watch. But, just in case, I will have my Miss Marple DVDs on hand with Joan Hickson… When I’m in the mood for a cozy movie… I know I can get a “quick fix” watching the “real” Miss Marple!