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It used to be that movie stars who could no longer draw a crowd in
large enough to justify a big studio contract would end their days in B
movies, movies made to fill out a double bill, where they could still
attract some people, and perhaps fill out the tail end of their
contracts. Nowadays they go into TV series or even into made-for-TV
movies, like this series of murder mysteries that Dick Van Dyke has
been starring in for the Hallmark Channel.
Dick stars as a professor of criminology at a fictitious college; his son plays his nephew, a private investigator and his grandson his nephew's son, so the whole thing is a real family affair. The movie is a fine, old-fashioned locked-room murder, with a very nice twist and an interesting background, filled out with a New Age retreat, plenty of red herrings and some fine supporting players, particularly Susan Blakely.
This is not a great movie, of course. There isn't enough of a budget to hire talent enough to do something novel and expensive, but these old pros provide a pretty good couple of hours.
MURDER 101: NEW AGE is the 4th and so far last in the HALLMARK CHANNEL
Mystery series of TV Thrillers,
I say it's in the vein of 'DIAGNOSIS MURDER' the Doctor solving TV Mystery Series which ran from 1993-2001 because the stars of that show, Father and Son DICK & BARRY VAN DYKE return in this - DICK isn't a Doctor but a College Professor of Criminology and BARRY isn't a Cop, but a Private Eye, who USED to be a Cop and they aren't Father and son, but close Friends who have known each other for decades, But to be honest having seen a couple of these now - their characters aren't a World away from their 'DM' counterparts.
NEW AGE has Jonathan (Dick) and Mike (Barry) investigating a seemingly impossible Murder at a New Age/Spiritualist retreat where its Leader is killed in a locked room surrounded by a handful of people in a deep trance.
Co-Starring SHANE VAN DYKE & CAREY VAN DYKE (Barry's sons - This episode is a family affair)
Yes It's undemanding stuff, but it's played with such enthusiasm by the Van Dyke's it's thoroughly enjoyable.
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