While it starts strange, Murderville begins to find its feet by the end of the first season.
This review of the Netflix series Murderville season 1 does not contain any spoilers.
Based on the BBC British television series Murder in Successville, Murderville follows a similar format. As very clearly put in the series introduction, “For Detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett), every day means a new murder case and a new celebrity guest star as his partner”. In each episode, there is a new murder (and therefore three new suspects) with a different celebrity guest for each one. But the twist with Murderville is that the celebrity guests are not working with a script. Instead, only the main cast members know about where the story is heading in each episode. As for the celebrity guest, they have no idea and instead have to improvise work their way through the episode(s).
The core cast of Murderville includes Will Arnett, and Haneefah Wood as his soon to be ex-wife Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle, Philip Smithey as Darren “Daz” Phillips, and Lilan Bowden as Amber Kang. They’re a delight to watch, and as the main cast members in all six episodes, they remain a highlight throughout. If anything should remain the same going forward, it’s these four characters!
As for the celebrity guests, they are Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Annie Murphy, Sharon Stone, and Ken Jeong. Marshawn Lynch seems to enjoy taking part in Murderville the most, but it’s Annie Murphy who provides the series with its strongest performance. it’s great to see some of the other cast members crack up as well, especially if they’re meant to be playing someone who is dead.
The episodes are made in a way that you’ll look forward to trying to solve the crimes as you watch. Without a doubt, the best part of each episode is the final act. Each episode leads up to the killer reveal, and it’s really fun to see whether the celebrity guesses correctly or not! (P.S. Sharon Stone’s response to whether she keeps her job is a highlight)
As for the stories in the episodes, they prove to be up and down. Some are a little bland and, as a result, don’t provide much entertainment except for the closing act. Whilst others, such as “Heartless” and “The Cold Case”, have a decent enough storyline that will keep the audience invested. In terms of length, whilst 30 minutes isn’t long, by all means, a snappier episode could make room for more laughs.
Sure, this isn’t one of the greatest shows that any of us will watch, it’s a simple and casual watch. Murderville is pretty much like a combination of Whose Line is it Anyway? and any other police drama show out there. As a whole, this series is light, short, and it provides a few laughs along the way. It’s an interesting format that with a little more work, could become Netflix’s big hit.
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