Article by Ed Fortune
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is one of the surprise cult hits of the last few years and worryingly, it seems the future of the show is in some doubt.
Let’s take a quick look at the tea leaves and see what’s next for everyone’s favourite bohemian adventuress. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s an Australian detective show set in 1920s Melbourne, Australia. The adventures revolve around the glamorous Phryne Fisher – more usually known as Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) – and her entourage. She’s assisted in her jazz-inspired, champagne-fuelled adventures by the dashing detective Jack Robinson, a stoic and brooding chap played by former professional athlete Nathan Page. Together they fight crime.
The Australian-made show has gained incredible global popularity thanks to its availability on Netflix. We’ll avoid spoilers, but suffice to say series three ends on quite the cliff-hanger. The lack of a fourth series has left the cult following a little bit nervous. The future has quite a few options open, however.
Currently it does not look like their will be a fourth series. After the second series ended, there was some doubt that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV) would commission a third series. ABC had a number of very successful shows at the time and not enough resources to fund them all. It was also concerned about the demographic: a mostly older audience.
A public outcry followed, the fans rallied and series three happened. However, series one and two both enjoyed 13 episodes each, but the third season only had eight, much to the chagrin of the fans.
Show creators Every Cloud Productions have previously turned down an offer from American producers to reboot the show in LA, however head writer Deb Cox hasn’t ruled this out as a future possibility. Every Cloud stated publicly in 2015 that it had also been negotiating format rights with producers based in China. With principle star Essie Davis now living in London and enjoying a successful career which has included Game Of Thrones and movie roles, this has lead the show’s creators to look at other options.
Phryne The Movie
Reports from 2015 quote the showrunners as saying that Phryne deserves a big on-screen presence. The movie would probably be an Arabian-set adventure, speculatively titled “Miss Fisher And The Crypt of Tears”.
Essie Davis herself has seemed quite keen on a potential movie, and has stated that she’s quite ambitious about the matter. Rumours about the scripts have been circulating ever since, and there are now talks of a trilogy of movies.
Show producer Fiona Eagger told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I reckon we could do three Miss Fisher movies, absolutely. The fan base is so passionate. If you’ve got a successful franchise, why not?”
According to the Australian press, Deb Cox promised us, “The same kind of tongue-in-cheek adventures on the big screen that Indiana Jones has managed for the last three decades.”
Leaked plot details reveal Phryne flying around the world in her bi-plane fighting crime. Interestingly, we do know of one spin-off featuring the bi-plane which is coming out very soon…
Miss Fisher And The Deathly Maze
Fans will be relieved to learn that there is a Miss Fisher related product coming out this year as Australian based app-developer Tin Man Games has produced a visual novel called Miss Fisher And The Deathly Maze.
Tin Man is famous for adapting old school Fighting Fantasy adventure books into a format that you can fit on your mobile device, and the company has taken a similar approach with the Miss Fisher mythos. The first chapter of the game is due out in early 2017 and sees Phryne and Dot fly round the world to take on recurring villain Murdoch Foyle, something that may surprise hardcore fans.
Tin Man Games is known for attention to detail and the company “gets” geek. It is a reliable and well-regarded developer. Rumours set the game after season three, and the artwork for the game (created by Portland artist Lisa Jeong) looks like it captures the atmosphere of the show perfectly.
Young Miss Fisher
At this point, old-school geeks may be unsurprised to learn that a spin-off show has also been proposed. Most of our information on this comes from show producer Fiona Eagger. The spin-off would be called Miss Fisher’s First Murder Mysteries, though that of course, is subject change.
“That will be a younger Phryne Fisher,” Eagger told the Australian press. “She is 18, her family has come into money, and she’s in the UK at a finishing school. She gets word that her best friend from Melbourne is charged with murder and is heading for the gallows. She escapes and comes back to save her friend. On the run is where she learns a lot of her skills.”
No news of casting or even a commission has been forthcoming as yet.
Novelisations (Or Lack Of…)
Most fans know that the TV show is based on series of books by Australian author Kerry Greenwood. They are a total of 20 full-length books in the series, with an additional collection of short stories and miscellany. Greenwood herself is currently busy on other projects and at the moment there are no plans to produce another book featuring Phryne. With the exception of the Tin Man Games visual novel, spin-off books written by other authors don’t appear to be on the cards at this time.
Future in doubt
There is also a time limit on the show. Kerry Greenwood herself has said that Miss Fisher stories end before the Great Depression (October 1929). This makes picking up the show with original cast and setting it a few years on a little tricky. The rest of the cast are also pursuing other career paths: Ashleigh Cummings and Hugo Johnstone-Burt (Dot and Hugh) are both in LA and Nathan Page has found his calling on the stage.
With the fandom continuing to grow and organise across the world there’s no doubt that there is a market for more of the show in some form. We are looking forward to seeing what adventures the future has in store.