You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: Why did Netflix stop making “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and will they start making more? Several of my friends are, like myself, sad they stopped filming.
A: While Netflix has commissioned a lot of original series, it also carries programs acquired from other networks. That was the case with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which was originally made from 2012-15 for Australian television by Every Cloud Productions. It has been shown on public TV in the U.S. as well as on Netflix and is a big international hit. There’s even a Chinese remake in the works.
So, since the original series ended, fans have cried for more. Every Cloud ultimately launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance a theatrical film, Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears. More than enough money was pledged, and the film should start production in the fall of 2018.
Q: I was so surprised to read in your column today that “Elementary,” the Sherlock Holmes series on TV, will be back. I gave up watching that show several years ago because I cannot understand Jonny Lee Miller at all. And I’ve got really good hearing. How in heaven’s name can a director or producer allow a show to continue where the main character can’t be understood? I can’t believe I’m the only person who has this issue.
A: To be sure, Miller, who plays Sherlock Holmes in the CBS series, can be a bit soft-spoken. And he does have an accent, as one would expect of a Sherlock Holmes. Still, I’ve watched Elementary from the beginning and have managed to enjoy Miller’s dialogue without significant effort. Perhaps you were just more used to another modern Sherlock, the one played a bit more loudly (though very well) by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Q: Why must we be victims of hearing the same laugh track (canned laughter) over and over when the show we are watching would be much better without that constant interruption? Lately the only shows I enjoy this season, “Young Sheldon” and “Life in Pieces,” are such a relief from that old-fashioned method that is trying to tell us “this is funny!” when it might be humorous, but hardly anything in the script should draw laughter like that … pitiful substitute for a live audience!
A: This issue has popped up in some recent questions, as it does from time to time. I last addressed it about a year ago, so let’s recap.
The laughter may be prerecorded, or from the show’s studio audience, or a combination of audience reaction and electronic effects “sweetening” the reaction. As Jennifer Keishin Armstrong wrote on BBC.com a while back, producers often want “some sort of audience reaction to make the viewing experience more communal,” as could be had in a theater.
And just the right reaction, too. Armstrong noted that Charley Douglass, the sound engineer credited with the first use of prerecorded laughs, “hated that the studio audiences on the U.S. TV channels’ shows laughed at the wrong moments, didn’t laugh at the right moments or laughed too loudly or for too long.” Thus an electronic companion was born.
Many producers, writers and actors have thought their work generated laughs just fine without help. M*A*S*H did regular battle over laugh tracks, and its DVDs have offered each episode with and without laughs. Still, some shows believe that if you laugh electronically, the world laughs with you.
Q: This has bugged me for a while. One of my favorite westerns is “Cheyenne” with Clint Walker. On several episodes he sang. Was that really his voice or was it dubbed? I had no idea he could sing.
A: He sang well enough to record an album, Inspiration, that has made its way to CD with 13 tracks including I Believe and Silver Bells. If your local retailer cannot get it, Amazon.com and other online vendors are offering it.
Rich Heldenfels has retired from the Beacon Journal but continues to answer your questions about entertainment past, present and future. Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or email@example.com. Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.
Heldenfels’ Mailbag: What happened to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’?
You have questions. I have some answers.