CityTv aired their first episode of the new webseries Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs, earlier this week, and as promised, the Nerd Vortex is here to review it. While I’m not usually a fan of motion comics (really animate it or keep it on the page, I always say) Curse of the Pharaohs does something a little different. The webisode jumps between live action and animation seamlessly and uses the latter to emphasize character, drama, and move through scene transitions. But, let’s take a closer look.
The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs is a story within a story (meta!). Constable George Crabtree (Johnny Harris), the title character’s eager sidekick, writes pulp style crime fiction on the side, and these webisodes bring one of them to life. Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), Crabtree and Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) find themselves with 6 dead Egyptologists, an empty coffin, and some deadly spores. Through the 13 part series, they must find the unsavoury culprit who committed these grisly murders, and find their lost mummy (which may or may not be loose in downtown Toronto).
The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs amps up the pulpy nature of the early penny dreadfuls. The characters are strict archetypes (and from what I gather, differ from the Murdoch Mysteries core canon). Murdoch becomes The Fearless Leader; Crabtree becomes The Stalwart Sidekick; and Dr Julia Ogden becomes The Dangerous Beauty. They use all the expectations of the genre and heighten them with sometimes silly dialogue and over dramatic readings (think a more over the top and light-hearted version of Mark Waid’s Ruse…set in Canada). The webisode also does a great job of introducing these characters. I’ve never watched Murdoch Mysteries (meant to but it just never happened) and had no trouble following along. They also morph the live action characters into their animated counterparts (a great effect) so there is no confusion.
Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs is a fun, light-hearted, pulp experience that could be a great introduction to the world of Murdoch Mysteries. The series doesn’t take itself too seriously and plays with the genre. If you like Holmesian mystery, take 5 minutes and watch the first episode of The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs.
And did I mention the artwork is great? The artwork is great. Francis Manapul captures the perfect feel for the series.
I’ll be watching Episode 2. Let’s see if it can keep my interest.
Watch Webisode #1 of The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs HERE