It's been 15 years since Jessica Fletcher wrote "The End" to one of my favorite shows growing up. Murder, She Wrote was everything we wanted in a TV show. It was fun, suspenseful and we got to root for a super-cool grandma. It says a lot that the crime-solving author is probably Angela Lansbury's most famous role, even though she had been a star on stage and screen for decades.
So that begs the question: why isn't Murder, She Wrote coming back to TV?
It seems like everything else that was big in the 80s and 90s has been resurrected, so why not?
Some of you might hazily remember this very thing. In 2014 NBC actually announced they'd be bringing back the iconic show, this time with a new crime-writing sleuth. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer was slated to star as a hospital administrator/part-time detective writing her first book, but then it all just disappeared. Later that year NBC announced it wouldn't proceed with the reboot.
Spencer didn't seem too upset by the move saying "everything happens for a reason" when E! News asked her about it.
"You know, that would not have been the right fit for me," she went on to say.
Angela Lansbury is probably pretty happy too. She was on record as calling the planned reboot a "mistake" since it wouldn't be Jessica Fletcher behind the typewriter.
So if it was already cancelled why would now be a good time to bring back Murder, She Wrote?
1. Nostalgia Is Working
Back in 2014 resurrecting our old favorite shows wasn't a big business. NBC brought back Prime Suspect which was a big hit for Helen Mirren back in the day. NBC recast it with Maria Bello and it was actually pretty good. Ultimately it only lasted for a season or two before getting the axe. Hawaii 5-0 was back and doing pretty well but a lot of people saw it as a gimmick.
Fast-forward to 2018 and it's hard to think of a show that hasn't comeback. Roseanne came back in a huge way, becoming one of the most watched shows on TV almost instantly. Murphy Brown is back and making a splash, Macguyver is back, Lost In Space is back, heck Magnum P.I. is back and it even had a crossover with Murder, She Wrote. It's clear that we still love our old favorites, even if it has new faces. The fact we don't have some new version is really standing out considering shows that weren't as good are back on the air.
2. Angela Lansbury Has Shown Interest
Angela Lansbury is beloved by almost everyone. She has a truly ridiculous amount of awards and nominations and is an undisputed icon of stage and screen. I think that means we should listen when she speaks.
Back in 2017 she was asked about her role as Jessica Fletcher.
"I was in genuine tears doing my last scene. Jessica Fletcher had become so much a part of my life, it was difficult to come to terms with it being all over," she told an Irish newspaper. "Having said that, there have been some two-hour specials since we stopped in 1996 and I wouldn't be surprised if we got together just one more time."
There's been no indication she's been contacted, but I'm pretty sure if she picked up the phone and asked for it there'd be no denying her. Lansbury just turned 93, but Betty White proved that age is just a number when you're a bright enough star.
3. It Didn't Stop
Most often hit shows or movies are based on books, but Murder, She Wrote actually inspired it's own series of books. The first spinoff novel was published in 1989 and they are still going. Author Donald Bain picked up the pen and wrote the Fletcher-inspired books until his death in 2017. Jon Land was then approached and picked up where Bain left off. Murder in Red is slated for publication in 2019.
4. Now Is The Perfect Time For Her
This past year, and the years before, have been pretty crappy for just about everyone. All sides are mad at each other and we can't seem to have anything that doesn't turn controversial almost immediately. Take Roseanne and its reboot for instance. It was a huge hit and it was scuttled after its first season because of statements made by its star. She got fired and now it's back, but now the other side is angry that it's back. There's no winning.
Jessica Fletcher was kind, honest and warm. She's everyone's grandma. She reminds us of a warmer time where we could sit back and enjoy something without feeling guilty, attacked or upset.
We need something like that right now.