In my just-closed website poll, I asked responders to vote on which TV Sleuth’s world they’d like to live in.
For the first time with one of my polls, we have a three-way tie for first place. One was a contemporary (on TV now) sleuth, whereas the other two shows, although very popular in their day and having run for many years, have been off the air for quite some time.
The first of our winners ran for twelve seasons and aired its last episode as a regular TV show over fifteen years ago. Thereafter came four made-for-TV movies, the most recent in 2003.
Can you guess?
Well, it seems everyone wants to live in Cabot Cove where murders happen with startling regularity (until they moved Jessica Fletcher to NYC later in the series). Even so, Cabot Cove did present itself as idyllic. I used to love whenever an episode started with a thunder storm (also startlingly regular) – truly a cozy show.
The second most popular TV world you want to live in from TV-days-gone-by is also not much of a surprise.The eight seasons of this show, ending in 1988, took place in paradise.
Tom Selleck, as Magnum, lived a charmed life with plenty of good weather, a great car, quirky friends, and his entire wardrobe consisted of short shorts and colourful hula shirts.
Makes sense. Right? Not so fast. If Hawaii is so popular, or if old-time classic favourites are the draw, then why was the old version of Hawaii 5-0 at the bottom of the pack, taking in less than 2% of all the votes?
Is it because it’s too old. The show ran for 12 years, ending all the way back in 1980.
A new version began airing a couple of years ago:
But guess what? Even this show only managed just over 5% of the votes.
Back to our winners. There’s one more TV sleuth in our three way tie. This show is currently in its fifth season and focuses on fun.
Castle is near and dear to my heart for three reasons: (1) the lead character and crime solver is a mystery writer; (2) it stars an actor that had been touted as the perfect person to play Russell Quant if that project ever got off the ground; and (3) many of today’s best known mystery authors have had cameos on the show.
Coming in with about 9% of the votes each were two more diverse shows, one ran for 4 years in the late 80’s, and the other is currently in its fifth season.
I think the trend I see – if there is one – is that respondents want to live in a TV sleuth world that (a) is a physically pleasing place to be – i.e. bucolic Cabot Cove, Maine or Hawaii, and (b) is a world that has at least a little bit of humour or quirkiness in it – Magnum, Castle, Moonlighting, Mentalist
Thereafter came votes for The Closer, Murdock Mysteries, and The Rockford Files. I was particularly surprised The Rockford Files didn’t score a little higher in this. A few years ago I visited Santa Monica pier where this show shot many of its iconic scenes. They even had a salt-water-worn plaque signifying a specific spot.
Seems like that would be a nice kind of life to me. Hanging out near water.
And now, getting the smallest percentage of votes?
In this, I must say, I heartily agree. Prime Suspect is a British police procedural starring Helen Mirren which aired in the 1990s and 2000s. One of the scripts even won an Edgar Award. It was a fantastic show, Mirren was incredible, but would I want to live in that dark, dreary, vaguely threatening world? No way.
Thanks all for your votes and comments. On to the next!
Please visit http://anthonybidulka.com/ to respond to the new poll that asks the question:
WHEN READING A MYSTERY, WHAT BUGS YOU THE MOST?
And in this poll, you can even create your own answer if one of the existing options doesn’t work for you. Come on, let it out – what really bugs you?