Thursday, April 26, 2007

Murder, By the Numbers...

So I signed up for NetFlix and maybe will actually watch some movies this summer when I'm bored. Though I seriously doubt I will actually get into the habit of watching movies on any regular basis. But in addition to the movies, of course, I noticed the plethora of TV series now available on DVD, including one of my favorite old shows, Murder, She Wrote. I remember we would watch Jessica Fletcher solve murders every Sunday night, after Andy Rooney went on some bizarre ramblings at the end of 60 minutes... it was one of those shows the whole family liked to watch. Over the years you begin to learn that every episode is basically the same, but with different people and a different setting:

Scene 1 - We meet the characters, whether at home in Cabot Cove, Maine, or somewhere else in the world. Somehow Jessica Fletcher knows people in literally every city in the world, whether it's London or Little Rock. Plus, everyone has read "all of her books" and recognize her presumably because of her picture on the book jacket, even though they've never met her. Sure, why not. Pay no attention to the fact that people die wherever she goes.

Scene 2 - Two characters get into a big fight, with plenty of witnesses, where one of them shouts, "I'm going to kill you!" The person ends up murdered shortly thereafter.

Scene 3 - The law is called in. The one who shouted it all is the prime suspect and all evidence points to him. [Note: the accused NEVER actually did it.] If we're at home, Sheriff Amos (or Sheriff Mort, depending on what season we're in) call upon Jessica to help them solve the crime. If we're off elsewhere in the world, the local detectives just want Mrs. Fletcher to butt-out. [Apparently the detectives aren't big readers, because they seem to be the only ones who have never heard of her.]

Scene 4 - Jessica gets in trouble with the law, or in some other awkward predicament, as she zealously investigates on her own. Throughout the episode, just watch for the camera to zoom in one some seemingly unimportant object... those are the clues that she will tie together in the end.

Scene 5 - Finally after everyone's finally concluded that the prime suspect didn't really do it... Jessica has it all figured out with a "He didn't do it, but I think I know who did..."

Scene 6 - The real murderer is caught in an elaborate trap set up by Jessica. She connects all the dots, and the murderer confesses (this isn't Law & Order, no time for a trial here). "Thanks Jessica, you saved the day!"

Change the scene, change the characters, and you've got an entire new episode. So it went for 12 seasons. Which brings me back to the inspiration for today's blog: how long would it take to watch every episode of Murder, She Wrote? Let's go to the numbers...

Seasons of Murder, She Wrote = 12
Total Episodes = 263
Length of each episode (w/o commercials) = 44 minutes
Total running time = 11572 minutes = 192 hours 52 minutes

At this point, only the first 6 seasons are actually available on DVD, but ultimately, if you were a) insane and b) obsessed and c) unemployed, you could watch every episode of Murder, She Wrote end to end in 8 days and 52 minutes. Oh, we can't forget the 4 made-for-tv movies plus the 2-hour pilot episode, which makes it 8 days, 8 hours and 12 minutes. And really, once you've watched MSW for 8 days straight, what's another 8 hours?

So who's ready to get started?

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