Mystery! (also written MYSTERY!) is an episodic television series that debuted in 1980 in the USA. It airs on PBS and is produced by WGBH. The show has brought a large number of detective series and television movies—most of them British productions from the BBC or the ITV companies and usually adapted from mystery fiction literary sources—to air on American television. In 2002, they added an American-produced series based on the novels of Tony Hillerman to their roster.
The seeds for the creation of Mystery! were a result of the success of Masterpiece Theatre, in particular a series of programs adapted from the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers. Then in 1979, Henry Becton, General Manager of Boston PBS station WGBH, received a phone call from Herb Schmertz, head of corporate communications for Mobil Corporation, with an unsolicited offer to put together a series that was nothing but British mysteries. Mobil, as the sole underwriter of WGBH's enormously successful Masterpiece Theatre ever since its inception in 1971, had enjoyed tremendous public relations benefits from that association. Mobil had still more money to invest in prestigious television programs and was looking for new outlets. After airing on Thursday night for most of its history, it moved to Sunday nights, at which time it alternated seasonally with episodes of Masterpiece Theatre through 2007. Mystery! won both the 1988 Anthony Award and the 1991 Anthony Award for "Best Television Show".
The first host of the show was film critic Gene Shalit. After the first season he was replaced by Vincent Price, who hosted the series from 1981 to 1989. When his failing health forced Price to relinquish this role, he was replaced by Diana Rigg who hosted the series from 1989 to 2003. She had the unique opportunity of introducing mysteries in which she was the star when the series Mother Love and later The Mrs Bradley Mysteries were aired. Beginning in 2004, shows began airing without a host.
2008 format change
In 2008, the series was absorbed into Masterpiece (the former Masterpiece Theatre) and airs under the banner Masterpiece Mystery! In addition, its theme music was changed. It now carries the signature based on its sister program's former theme. Portions of the Edward Gorey opening titles are incorporated into the new opening.  This version is hosted by Alan Cumming.
Mystery! in popular culture
Mystery! was parodied by Sesame Street's "Mysterious Theatre" sketches in the early 1990s, hosted by Vincent Twice (whose name was always said twice), a pastiche of Vincent Price.
The 1990s Mystery! opening was parodied on a 1998 episode of fellow WGBH program Arthur entitled "Binky Rules."