‘Murdoch Mysteries’ is a Canadian television drama series that first hit the screens on January 20, 2008, and has journeyed through 17 seasons. Set in late 19th and early 20th century Toronto, the series blends historical settings with creative storytelling. The long-lasting run of the show raises a question: is it still worth watching?
From ‘The Artful Detective’ to ‘Murdoch Mysteries’
Based on Maureen Jennings’ Detective Murdoch novels, ‘Murdoch Mysteries‘ casts Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch. Initially premiering on Citytv, the show has found a home on CBC and has undergone a title change in the U.S., from ‘The Artful Detective’ to its original name from season twelve onwards.
The early appeal of the series lies in its blend of historical context, character development, and plotlines. The first seasons were successful for Murdoch’s inventive approach to crime-solving alongside engaging character arcs. Characters like Constable George Crabtree, Dr. Julia Ogden, and Inspector Brackenreid had depth and evolution.
In its early days, the show was praised for blending historical fiction with a flair for detective work. However, as the series progressed, viewers observed a shift, especially past season 9 or 12, when the series changed its name from ‘The Artful Detective.’
What Went Wrong?
The focus on detective work and Murdoch’s inventive methods seemed to diminish. Instead, there has been an increased focus on personal dramas and social justice themes, a change that has been met with mixed reactions. While some appreciate the changes, others feel it diverges from the essence of the early seasons.
For instance, Julia Ogden was initially praised for being progressive, but she is later seen as overly modern for the show’s historical setting. Some fans liked the contemporary relevance, but others found it out of place in a period drama.
Historical inaccuracies and anachronisms in later seasons is also worth noting. Introducing modern-day sensibilities into a historical setting raised eyebrows, with some viewers suggesting a disconnection from the series’ initial premise.
In terms of plot and writing, there have been observations about predictability and repetitiveness in later seasons. The initial inventiveness that drew viewers to ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ seem to have given way to more formulaic storylines, with less focus on the mysteries that defined earlier seasons.
Character growth has also been questionable.
Main characters like George Crabtree, Julia Ogden, and William Murdoch have undergone transformations over the series, not all of which have been positively received. The consistency and believability of these characters’ evolutions are often frowned upon, with some fans feeling certain characters have lost their initial charm.
As it stands, opinions are divided on ‘Murdoch Mysteries” current relevance.
The series has indeed experienced a transformation over its 17-season run — while it still appeals to a core audience, the shift in focus and narrative style since its early seasons has changed ‘Murdoch Mysteries” reception among long-time viewers.
While the adventures of William Murdoch sail through the show’s seventeenth season, the series remains available for streaming on Freevee, Spectrum TV, Hulu, Acorn TV, DIRECTV, Prime Video, or Apple TV.