I've just finished watching the three made-for-TV movies adapting the first three Murdoch novels written by Maureen Jennings.
Overall they feel a bit more like the original books (granted I've only read the first one so far). They are a touch edgier than the subsequent television series. Peter Outerbridge as William Murdoch seems a bit stuffy at first yet slowly we get to know him and he seems a bit more like the book version of the character. I must say, though, that I didn't care at all for Colm Meaney's portrayal of Inspector Brackenreid---he comes across as a bit over-the-top and forced.
Overall it's a worthwhile viewing and it takes awhile to get into it particularly if you're more familiar with the television series. Yet after all is said and done I do prefer the series and the characters' portrayals. The series feels more energetic, more dynamic and interesting while the telefilms feel a bit more plodding. With that said I'd say I prefer the original novels better. The books are more detailed and more believably plotted and give you a better sense of setting.
Even so it has to be acknowledged that these three telefilms are what generated the interest to get the series off the ground and into production.