TL;DR – While I don’t think they quite nailed the concept, it is a delight when it lands.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this show.
Murderville Review –
I always love when someone takes a new spin on a familiar concept. While Police Procedurals have led into the realm of comedy, most notably with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. There is still a vast untapped gold mine of choices that you could explore. With that in mind, let us look at a show that combines police and improvisation oddly and uniquely.
So to set the scene, we open in on Terry Seattle (Will Arnett), a senior detective in the City Police Department. Things have not been going well for Terry, with the lingering death of his partner Lori (Jennifer Aniston) 15 years ago and the very recent divorce from his wife Rhonda (Haneefah Wood). She also happens to be the Police Chief. Well, on this day, things are going from bad to worse because there has been a murder, and Terry has just been lumped with a new partner Conan O’Brien. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
To get into the nuts and bolts of the show, the premise is that the standing players like Will Arnett, Haneefah Wood, Lilan Bowden & Phillip Smithey all know the script and what is going on. But the guest star, who in season one is Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Annie Murphy, Sharon Stone & Ken Jeong, has no clue what will happen and must go with the flow. But while they are responding to the ridiculousness, they must also pay attention to clues because at the end of the episode. They must work out which of the three suspects are the killers. For my Australian readers, think Thank God You’re Here, but with murder.
Usually, in a show with mixed feelings, I would start with what I liked and move on to the problems, but here I think we will do the reverse today. Two facets hold this show back from reaching its potential. The first is that you can plainly see the gears moving in most situations as a viewer. Each scene has to hit its main points, and an inflexibility permeates the show. You can see Will Arnett at times dragging the conversation to the pre-approved point rather than letting it flow. The second facet is the enter overarching meta-narrative for the season. I watched every episode, and I did not care for one second anything that happened outside of trying to find the murders. Okay, that is a lie. There was one moment when I was like, “wait, is that Jennifer Aniston?’ but other than that, I did not care.
The inflexibility and dullness that permeates the show should have been a death blow for the concept, but somehow, they managed to claw their way into some truly absurdly entertaining moments. The absurdity of watching Marshawn Lynch pretend to be a little white dude’s reflection with complete focus. Or how Annie Murphy was clearly in there wanting to solve the crime and was going to get those answers. Or watching Sharon Stone desperately try and maintain her composure as gushers of blood fling up around her. In these moments, you see the complete joy that could be on hand. To add to this, I think most of the murders are at least interesting, and I have to say that one or two of them did stump me.
In the end, do we recommend Murderville Season 1? Well, yes, but just. There are many frustrating elements that you will have to sit through. However, when it shines, it shines, and also, it is only six smallish episodes, so that works in its favour.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen Murderville yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Murderville
Directed by – Brennan Shroff & Iain K. Morris
Written by – Marina Cockenberg, Krister Johnson, Kerry O’Neill, Anna Drezen, Hannah Levy, Adriana Robles & Jack Kukoda
Based on – Murder in Successville by Andy Brereton & Avril Spary
Created by – Krister Johnson
Production/Distribution Companies – Electric Avenue, Abominable Pictures, Mister Krister, Artists First, Tiger Aspect Productions & Netflix
Starring – Will Arnett, Haneefah Wood, Lilan Bowden & Phillip Smithey with Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Annie Murphy, Sharon Stone & Ken Jeong and Alison Becker, Mary Hollis Inboden, David Wain, Rob Huebel, Ian Gomez, Erinn Hayes, Jay Larson, John Ennis, Erica Hernandez, Nina Pedrad, Josh Banday, Samantha Cutaran, Irene White, Peter Giles, Phil LaMarr & Nicole Sullivan
Episodes Covered – The Magician’s Assistant, Triplet Homicide, Most Likely to Commit Murder, Murder by Soup, Heartless & The Cold Case