For the trope about how God works, see In Mysterious Ways.
Mysterious Ways (2000-2002) was a series seeking to capitalise on the X-Files inspired craze for TV shows dealing with the paranormal. Originally created for PAX, an American Christian TV network; possibly its producers were trying to appeal to a broader audience.
It follows a goofy professor of anthropology in the University of Oregon, who has made it his mission to prove the existence of miracles after he survives an accident. In this quest he is joined by a female doctor at a local hospital, a Goth Girl graduate student/research assistant, and his scruffy dog.
This series provides examples of:
- 90% of Your Brain: In "Handshake," a doctor says that a woman who receives mysterious messages when she's drunk has accessed "that ninety percent of the brain that no one really taps into."
- Air Drums: Declan does this whenever someone is singing.
- Even to "I Cain't Say No" (in "Handshake").
- Agent Scully: Both Peggy and Miranda fill this role much of the time.
- All Just a Dream: "Logan Miller", with the series' typical last-minute twist ending.
- Ambiguously Jewish: In-universe. Declan assumes that Miranda is Jewish because of her surname, Feigelstein. Early in the first season, she tells him she's not Jewish and her name is pronounced "FeigelSTEEN", and gets upset at how little he seems to know about her.
- And a Diet Coke: In "19A," Miranda orders a triple bacon cheeseburger, chili cheese fries, onion rings... and a diet soda.
- Artistic License – Music: Type 1 is averted and then played straight in "Free Spirit": in the first few scenes of Miranda playing the violin, the finger movements and bow strokes match the music, but when she plays later in the episode she's obviously faking. Since her face is only clearly shown in the later scene, the difference could be explained by the use of a Talent Double.
- Artistic License – Sports: There are a few very basic errors when Declan and Peggy go bowling in "Spirit Junction."
- First, Peggy asks why Declan didn't get bowling shoes, and he replies, "That's a long story." Bowling shoes are required because street shoes scuff up the lanes, and they were the only ones in the alley so it's not like he could have slipped through the cracks.
- Second, Peggy says it's her turn again after Declan makes one throw. A frame of bowling consists of two attempts to knock down the pins, unless you knock them all down on the first throw (for a strike).
- Third, Declan keeps throwing gutterballs before throwing a strike by complete chance. However, he falls completely into the lane in the process, so the strike wouldn't count, as it's a foul if any part of your body crosses the foul line.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Miranda. In "Free Spirit," Declan writes out a joke to help her break the ice for an interview, and she reads it in a complete monotone.Declan: Have to work on the delivery a little bit, but no, that was great! Great first start.
- Censor Suds: When Miranda's in the bath in "Free Spirit."
- Christmas Episode: "The Last Dance."
- Comically Missing the Point: In "Listen":Declan: (on a student who failed a pop quiz) One of the questions was, "Name the 20th century Canadian communications theorist who stated that media will create the global village." His answer? "Yoda."Miranda: Yoda's Canadian?
- Probably on purpose, given Miranda's slight smirk after her deadpan delivery.
- Creepy Changing Painting: The miracle in "Reason to Cry" is a crying stained glass window of the Virgin Mary.
- Creepy Monotone: Miranda.
- Curse Cut Short: In "Crazy," Declan starts to say "shit," but remembers he's in front of a child and finishes with "...nuts." (Or he could have just thought that "shoot," his usual expletive of choice, was still too strong.)
- Dreaming of Times Gone By: Two characters sharing this type of dream is part of Declan's evidence that they were brothers in a past life in "Twins."
- Electrified Bathtub: In "Free Spirit," Miranda drops a radio in the bath. Declan insists that she should have died and investigates the "miracle," much to Miranda's consternation.
- Emotionless Girl: Miranda.
- Fake Guest Star: Alisen Down at the beginning of the first season. (She eventually gets an "Also Starring" credit before the guest stars and is added to the opening credits in the second season.)
- Goshdang It To Heck: Declan uses "shoot" a lot.
- Hive-Mind Testimonial: The scene in "Crystal Clear" of a man talking to people about architecture school plays out like this.
- I Believe That You Believe It: Miranda says this stock phrase in "Stranger in the Mirror" when a student claims he has memories of another man's life. Subverted in that a second later she revises her statement to, "Yes, I believe you."
- Just Friends: Declan with Peggy and Miranda. Ship Tease abounds, but it's unclear if there are romantic feelings there.
- Moment Killer: Several with Declan and his reporter girlfriend in Season 2. Most memorably, when they are making out in his office and Miranda opens the door... and then just stands there awkwardly staring down at her papers.
- Not Listening to Me, Are You?: At the beginning of "The Midas Touch," when Declan is trying to figure out how to get grant money for a trip to Belize:Declan: I've tried everything. Models, slides. Mariachi band, once. (Notices that Peggy isn't listening.) So this year, I'm gonna take a more radical approach and try a Mayan ritual with you as the human sacrifice.Peggy: That's a good idea.
- One True Love: Explored in "Love's Divine." The mystery-of-the-week revolves around a couple realizing that they truly are meant to be together and Miranda wonders if a person can have more than one soul mate. It's said early on that you "won't be able to shake" your soul mate; it's later pointed out that Declan "can't seem to shake" either Peggy or Miranda.
- Past-Life Memories: They help drive the plot in "Twins" and "Stranger in the Mirror."
- Perma-Stubble: On Declan.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Peggy and Miranda both fit this role with Declan. There was ship-teasing, but Declan's only relationship was with another woman and neither Peggy nor Miranda ever got a relationship upgrade.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Declan's secret weapon◊.
- Real After All: Most of the episodes end with there being a normal explanation of the alleged miracle, however unlikely — followed by a twist in the last two minutes suggesting that it actually was real.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The episode "Yesterday" deals with a police officer who relives the previous day after accidentally shooting and killing his partner and praying for some way to make it right.
- Ship Tease: Declan gets plenty with both Miranda and Peggy. It's implied that they both have feelings for him (and acknowledge that he might have feelings for one of them) but nothing ever comes of it.
- Smart People Play Chess: In "The Big Picture," Declan asks Miranda to play chess with him. She replies that last time she beat him in nine moves.
- Super Identikit: One episode features an uncannily accurate police sketch artist. However, her accuracy is a plot point and the subject of Duncan's investigation, as she has developed some kind of psychic sense and includes features that the witness hasn't described and can't even consciously remember.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "Phoenix," Declan follows a flight attendant onto her flight because he thinks she'll be part of a miracle on the plane. He makes a specific point of telling her what a coincidence it is that they are on the same flight together.
- Viking Funeral: Performed for a character in "Something Fishy," although they light the boat on fire with torches before setting it out to drift rather than doing the flaming arrow thing.Peggy: It's a Viking funeral.
Peggy: Isn't this illegal?
- What the Hell, Hero?: For all his good intentions, Declan can be a real jerk sometimes. He gets called out on his obnoxious manner and unconcern for others often by his two colleagues. The BEST example of this is in 1x16 "Yesterday", where on one occasion he causes Miranda to miss an important exam, and she comprehensively bitches him out in front of a crowded cafe. There is also a scene in the same episode where she and Peggy get together and just start listing his faults:Miranda: He's pushy.Peggy: Scatterbrained.Miranda: A slob.Peggy: ...Oh yeah.