The long-awaited My Life is Murder with Lucy Lawless has become available on the Play 10 streaming service. Channel 10 has the first episode on there for 48 (now 24 hours) to give you a taste of the new show. Before I get to my review, let’s give you all the info about the show and who is in it. What I liked, what I didn’t like, what I thought of the characters and the actors, the writing and direction!
Fearless and playful, she acts on instinct; both avenging angel and a bit of a shit-stirrer; deeply empathetic and blunt to the point of rudeness. And with a deeply irreverent sense of humor to boot. Other than the fact her husband died a few years ago, very few people know much about Alexa or why she left the force, rendering this woman a mystery in and of herself. And Alexa can’t resist a mystery, so when a former colleague and long-time friend Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey asks her to “consult” on his trickier cases, she seems reluctant. But in truth, she can’t resist. Joining Alexa to solve the unsolvable is the bubbly, sarcastic, ambitious and grounded, Madison. A true extrovert, Madison works as a Data Analyst for the Police and is on hand at Alexa’s call to do what she does best.
Lucy Lawless is Alexa Crowe and the star of the show (and the executive producer)
Bernard Curry is Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey and Alexa’s boss
Ebony Vagulans is hot shot data analyst Madison Feliciano and Alexa’s sidekick
Captain Thunderbolt (played by one gorgeous moggy) is Alexa’s Cat
I love murder mysteries; I love a good police procedural so when I heard that Lucy was going to be in an Australian show that wasn’t all about witches or demons, I was eager to see it. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Lucy in a TV show (the last show I watched was The Code). The Code was a political thriller but Lucy’s role wasn’t as big as it should have been but it was brilliant.
Now onto My Life Is Murder. The show felt a little undercooked and that feeling started with the opening credits. There weren’t any (not unless you think “My Life is Murder” emblazoned on a Melbourne tram to be suitable). Maybe the credits will be added later when it premieres on Channel 10.
After watching the first episode I still can’t figure out why Inspector Hussey needed Alexa’s help. Melbourne cops are notorious for looking the other way (real life policing in Melbourne is sketchy at best) but they’re not that inept. It was baffling and the cold case wasn’t really that cold (more like lukewarm). Alexa’s sidekick Madison must be some wunderkind to have come up with all the answers..and yet she works for the police as well and no thought to ask her? Is straight forward enough.
The direction and location were PERFECTION. Melbourne is a beautiful city and one of my favorite places in Australia. The first episode was directed by the incredible Leah Purcell. Fantastic direction.
This episode has more plot holes than a block of swiss cheese. Far too many bits were left hanging or not explained or scenes written for no good reason. It’s wasn’t a tight script. There was one scene that was just so superfluous that I couldn’t fathom why it was there other to show off Lucy’s German language skills. Baffling especially when you have 45 minutes to tell your story.
Alexa Crowe / Lucy Lawless
Writers are urged to SHOW don’t TELL. What do I mean? From Wikipedia – it explains it quite succinctly: Show, don’t tell is a technique used in various kinds of texts to allow the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author’s exposition, summarization, and description.
I didn’t get the feeling that the Alexa in the blurb was the Alexa we saw on screen.
The writers TOLD us what Alexa is/was (right there in the blurb). They didn’t show us. A wasted opportunity to make a great impression right off the bat. Yes, it’s Lucy Lawless in the title role and that will grab people’s attention because IT’S LUCY LAWLESS.
We really don’t get a feeling of WHY Alexa Crowe is so special. According to the blurb: Fearless and playful, she acts on instinct; both avenging angel and a bit of a shit-stirrer; deeply empathetic and blunt to the point of rudeness. Alexa was quite nice rather than what the blurb says. She was bordering on being polite except to pervert Bob. Maybe with episode 2, this will come to pass. If you’re going to introduce the main character with that kind of blurb, you have to deliver on it. They didn’t deliver.
I did like Alexa; I want to know more about her history – it would have been great if we had more of the Fearless and Playful, avenging angel and a shit stirrer and less of the German-speaking baker.
Alexa is not being played by Angela Lansbury and this wasn’t Murder She Wrote – although it did feel like that at times. Alexa is (allegedly) an energetic late forties/fifties something powerhouse. Introduce us to the powerhouse. I had ZERO interest in why she’s baking bread (I’m quite sure this will be a plot line explained further down the track but it was an odd thing). Her only hobby was…baking bread.
If Lucy Lawless was not playing Alexa Crowe I would have turned this off. I stuck with it BECAUSE Lucy Lawless was in it.
What’s to say about Lucy Lawless. You’re reading this review on a fan site dedicated to Lucy. With the material she was given, Lucy was her usual exceptional self. Lucy can read a phone book and it will be done to perfection. There is no denying Lucy’s acting chops. Any show with Lucy in it will be watched by her many fans. Even if it doesn’t make sense (I still can’t fathom why Parks and Recreation was a comedy or why it was funny but I watched Lucy’s episodes). Lucy’s also the executive producer of this show.
Kieran Hussey / Bernard Curry
Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey and Alexa’s boss. I love Bernard Curry; solid Australian actor and writer. A great pick as the Detective Inspector. I do have to wonder how inept his department is if he couldn’t get someone to do what Madison did. There is obvious history (we are told there was in the blurb) and it’s shown by his actions. We just don’t know what yet. Bernard and Lucy work off each other well and it’s good casting.
Madison Feliciano / Ebony Vagulans
Ebony Vagulans is hot shot data analyst Madison Feliciano and Alexa’s sidekick. Working with Lucy Lawless is fraught with danger; if your acting chops are not up to speed, you will die a slow death. That’s not hyperbole. In Xena fandom, it’s called the Ulysses Curse. Let me briefly explain what that is. During one episode of Xena (played to perfection by Lucy Lawless), Xena and Ulysses became a couple (this is where I collapse to the floor in a coughing spasm). This is not unusual for the boy of the week thing on the show. What was unusual was that the actor chosen for this role had SUBZERO chemistry with Lucy and his acting was somewhere lower than SUB ZERO. He was blown off the screen by Lucy’s acting.
It requires a strong actor to go toe to toe with Lucy on screen. She will blow them out of the water because she is that good. Renee O’Connor, Kevin Smith, Bruce Campbell, Danielle Cormack, Hudson Leick come to mind as powerhouses who could go toe to toe with Lucy. Hudson and Lucy set the screen on fire with their chemistry.
Okay now that I’ve explained what the Ulysses Curse is…let me tell you that Ebony DOES NOT suffer from that.
The first scene with Lucy and I’m hooked! Ebony is a brand new NIDA graduate (The National Institute of Dramatic Art is an Australian national education and training institute for students in the performing arts). I initially thought Lucy will have her for lunch when I first heard that a new NIDA graduate was going to be her sidekick.
Ebony held her own in the first scene I saw that she was in with Lucy. Not only did she hold her own but she lived up to her spiel in the blurb: bubbly, sarcastic, ambitious and grounded. YES, IT CAN BE DONE! Madison is EVERYTHING the blurb says she is.
All it takes for me to either like or dislike (which sometimes isn’t fair) a character and actress is the first ten minutes. Ebony made me like Madison in the first five minutes. I LOVE Madison. I adore Ebony in this role. Lucy did not overpower/overshadow Ebony at all and that’s HUGE. For a young actress like Ebony, fresh out of school to land this gig, it’s a dream come true and she’s working out perfectly.
I’m a cat lover so having Captain Thunderbolt on there was fantastic. Seems someone forgot to read the Captain’s blurb: Alexa’s stubborn cat Captain Thunderbolt – Madison’s nemesis, Kieran’s biggest fan and the one personality Alexa will never quite crack. First episode…this too will be ironed out at some point.
Of course!! It’s Lucy Lawless AND Ebony Vagulans (I’m a fan already!) The writers will get into the groove, they will get a decent opening intro, they will explore Alexa’s character and make it fit their blurb and the storylines will improve. Every new show has a clunky start. This was their clunky start. Madison will get her special something (won’t spoil it but it is funny). We will get guest stars that are the cream of Australian (and Kiwi) actors. What’s not to love! We will discover what makes Alexa so special!
This show has the potential of being really good so watch the first episode and the next nine episodes. Episode two of My Life is Murder features another powerhouse guest star – Danielle Cormack. Whoa, that’s going to be INCREDIBLE having Lucy, Ebony, and Danielle in the same episode. We will have to wait for 27 July for that to air on Channel 10.
Writing – Poor. 3/5
Acting – EXCELLENT 5/5