Some shows are just better when binge-watched. Whether it's the latest BBC comedy, a PBS miniseries from the '70s, or that cultish show prematurely scrubbed from a network — we're hooked on the stream. So, we're unrolling Staying In(stant), a new feature highlighting the best of streaming content. Each week, we'll bring you a show we're obsessed with and think you should be, too. This week? Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.
Where To Watch:
How I Got Hooked:
I imagine the frequency with which I watch films “With A Strong Female Lead” paired with some choice Law and Order: SVU binges resulted in Netflix recommending this sassy lady-detective show.
Why You'll Love It:
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a 13-part Australian miniseries that follows the hijinks of an absurdly rich, sexually experimental, murder-mystery-investigating 1920s flapper, Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-nee). Does that premise sound absurd? It is.
But, part of the pleasure of this often cheeseball detective show is how it portrays the romanticized era — the Roaring '20s! Jazz parties! — with only the most fun, decadent parts intact. It's a Gatsby party without, well, Gatsby. Phryne is inexplicably loaded; she does whatever the heck she wants. She’s also the modern-day equivalent of a cougar — a striking lady of a certain age who has opted to never marry or have children. She’s glamorous, with the easy lifestyle we might wish we had. She swills champagne and whiskey before noon, has a butler to prepare decadent meals, and entertains plenty of hunky men.
We’ve got plenty of pleasure-driven men in television and cinema — Archer, James Bond, Roger Sterling, all those frat-pack dudes. But, perhaps save for Samantha from SATC, there are far fewer women living high without enduring consequences. Miss Fisher embraces fun, casual sex, and nude portrait sittings — all while fighting crime with her gold revolver. She's a feminist in a time when the movement just began to make real strides. It’s a treat to watch a character rail against tradition in an era when the “proper lady” was still very much a concept. And, she is very "improper."
Marion Boyce, who created the costuming on the show, obviously had an intense love of the era. Phryne’s outfits are painstakingly created — gorgeous, indulgent fur collars, hand-beaded dresses, intricately patterned silk jackets. And, of course, our leading lady sports an immaculate bob. (To anyone who has seen this show: Is this a wig?? I can’t tell, but it looks rather wiggy.)
In short, if you're looking for a cerebral, gritty detective show, look elsewhere. If you want ermine trim and murderous Jazz singers — all set against the backdrop of revolutionary social change — then Miss Fisher is your gal.