It's rare that a show comes along that instantly clicks with me but Netflix has somehow done it again with its latest bingeable series, Murderville. Starring Will Arnett as senior detective Terry Seattle, every episode sees the comedian partnered up with a celebrity guest star, but the catch is – they aren't given a script.
An ingenious idea. One that really lets Arnett, best known for Arrested Development and Lego Batman, push his comedic chops to the limit, providing some gut-busting laughs. The first episode sees former late-night TV host and fellow comedian Conan O'Brien try to solve the murder of a magician's assistant.
O'Brien revels in the unpredictable nature of not knowing what's coming next. But equally, he struggles to stop smiling when forced to shove down a sloppy joe drenched in hot sauce while trying to question a suspect, only to hear Arnett continuously yell "slop it, Conan!". Later on, we get a segment where the new trainee is sent off to handle a group MAMAs (Mothers Against Magic Association) while Arnett whispers what to say in his ear. If you've ever seen the 'Get Out of Me Ear' pranks by Ant and Dec (opens in new tab), then you know exactly what you're in for.
Murderville consists of six tight episodes, each lasting around 30 minutes apiece and never outstaying their welcome. I binged the whole series in one night and really hope season two gets commissioned. There's a lack of comedy across TV and cinema at the minutes, so this filled the gap nicely.
Aside from Conan, the celebrity guests consist of Annie Murphy, Ken Jeong, Kumail Nanjiani, Sharon Stone, and Marshawn Lynch. The latter of which is a former American football player who could have easily been mistaken for a comedian. "I was thinking of changing my name... I wanna be detective Bagabitch," he says, three minutes into the second episode.
Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani shines arguably the brightest in episode three, however. One segment in particular where the Eternals star is forced to "walk as ugly as possible" to make Terry Seattle look cool in front of his high school crush is painfully funny. Myself and my partner were on the verge of tears from the bizarre noises coming out of Nanjiani's mouth as he waddles like a lost troll.
While there's a thin storyline carried through to the finale, and the actual whodunnit of it all is pretty predictable if you've been paying attention, it's the chemistry each different guest star brings that really helps the show stand on its own two feet.
The only exception to this might be Schitt's Creek Annie Murphy who perhaps takes the role a little too serious. Although, It does allow Arnett's goofy detective to play off the actor as quite a good contrast. Meanwhile, Sharon Stone is ruthless and Ken Jeong is just having the best time ever, as the pair round out the series on stellar form, respectively.
If Murderville does well, which I'm hoping it will, I'd be very interested to see what other big-name stars Netflix could rope in. Aaron Paul lining up alongside his former Bojack Horseman co-star could be lots of fun. Or maybe even Jason Bateman could show up for an Arrested Development reunion. Above all, my number one pick would be Bill Burr. The comedian would have a riot, undeniably being able to do wonders with the improv proposition. Make it happen, Netflix!
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