So! How does Angela Lansbury feel about the fact that NBC is reimagining Murder, She Wrote with Octavia Spencer in the lead role? Well, someone asked her. Guess what? She is NOT happy.
NBC has only greenlit a pilot — it might not get picked up — but it will star Spencer as a hospital administrator/mystery novelist obsessed with true crime, "which propels her to become an active part of the investigations." Whether or not the character's name is Jessica Fletcher remains to be seen. But Variety interviewed Angela Lansbury, the O.G. Jessica Fletcher, and she is miffed:
"I think it's a mistake to call it 'Murder, She Wrote,'" Lansbury said, "because 'Murder, She Wrote' will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person …
"So I'm sorry that they have to use the title 'Murder, She Wrote,' even though they have access to it and it's their right."
Lansbury was kind/classy enough to point out that it's not personal, re: Spencer.
"I saw her in 'The Help' and thought she was absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress," Lansbury said. "So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn't in 'Murder, She Wrote.'"
Oh, well. The new Murder doesn't have Jessica Fletcher's blessing, kinda sucks, whaddayagonnado. Even though reboots can have mixed results, they can work, and be really interesting. The audience has a built-in familiarity with the concept, and the writers have a story structure that's proven to work — they just add twists and turns to keep things fresh. Does it make it seem like Hollywood is out of ideas? Yes. Would I like to see new stories from new people? Yes. But it can be cool to see a familiar plot and set-up through new eyes. How many different kinds of Hamlets have there been? And the truth is, viewers often respond really well to reboots — from Hawaii Five-0 to Nikita, Parenthood, Dallas, 90210, The Office, and Battlestar Galactica, the second time around isn't always a bad thing. And in this particular case — bringing back a show featuring a woman over 40 and casting a woman of color — it's no mystery why I'm rooting for success. Sorry, Ms. Lansbury.