Murderville Season 1 Review & Summary: A Starry, Intelligent and Sometimes Messy Improv Comedy

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Video Source – Netflix (Netflix YouTube Channel)

Murderville is a mystery-comedy series that will release on Netflix on February 3rd 2022. It is a Sony Pictures Television production directed by Ian K. Morris Brennan Shroff. The series will have 6 episodes. 

Murderville Season 1 Cast

  • Will Arnett as Detective Terry Seattle
  • Haneefah Wood as Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle 
  • Lilan Bowden as Examiner Amber Kang
  • Several Guest Celebrities

Murderville Season 1 Plot

Netflix has released an improv-based mystery comedy show. Terry Seattle is a detective who gets a new celebrity partner in every episode who is supposed to solve a scripted murder without any script. 

Murderville Season 1 Review

Movies and series are at a point where only reboots or remakes seem to be making rounds. They are similar; fancy girls travelling to foreign countries; grey aesthetic small-town murders, reboots of classics or are made by Shonda Rhimes. Netflix has many mysteries so with a new one being announced it can be assumed that there was sufficient eye-rolling and probably a realisation that it would still rank pretty high. This is where Netflix gave us a refreshing surprise called Murderville. 

A police procedural series that has a different celebrity guest star in each episode. While the recurring actors like Will Arnett and Haneefah Wood were aware of the scripted murder mystery sequence the guest stars were unscripted. It worked as an escape room where the guests and Terry were moving from one scene to another and being given clues. At the end of the scenes the guest was supposed to make a deduction and choose who the criminal of the mystery was; an escape, if you will. It wasn’t necessary to be correct; some of the guests were not. Conceptually, it was an amazing show.

When comedy is in a dreary setting, its contrast conveys the jokes better. Or so it did in Murderville. On top of that, the casting of Will Arnett for the detective could not have been more perfect. Bringing an over the top character on the screen without forcing the absurdities on the audience is commendable. His quirks and jokes were pleasantly amusing instead of making the audience cringe. Haneefa Wood who played the role of the chief and Seattle’s ex-wife had a comparatively smaller role but even in those few minutes, the authority of the character and the inherent humour of the show was balanced perfectly. If I had to choose one thing that was perfect and consistent throughout the series, then the performance of the main cast would win hands down. 

Murderville has only 6 episodes of about 30 minutes each which means that it is perfect for a binge. It is the kind of show that is made for one sit watch and fortunately, it is entertaining enough. There are 6 different celebrities: Conan O’ Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Annie Murphy, Sharon Stone and Ken Jeong. While each episode has a completely different plot and partner, there were some continuing jokes that were entertaining in the beginning but not as much later. Considering that the guests were doing complete improv and were one take, their quips and jokes were above par. It can be seen that the guests have absolutely no idea what is coming next and that the episode is shot in one take because, dead bodies are laughing, the cast is trying to hone their expressions and the guests are at a loss for words. For this reason, it might not be the best show in comedy but it was definitely entertaining. 

Murderville Season 1 Review

Reviewing the Best Murderville Episodes

Conan O’Brien’s episode was underwhelming, to say the least. Though it was the first, it hardly made a great first impression. A person who wasn’t even in the show, Jennifer Aniston as Lori in the frame made me laugh more. Performance-wise it was pretty bland but like all the other murder stories, this one was well thought out.

The next episode was of Marshawn Lynch. This episode would definitely come in the top 3 of the series. Lynch completely accepted everything that was happening and he contributed to the confusion. Episode plot was great with the right amount of absurdities and salvaged the impression for the series. 

Kumail Nanjiani was a closed-off actor in the episode. He did all the weird walking and tried to solve the murder but the episode felt dry and bland. The story didn’t fall right at all and I was back to questioning whether the series is good or not. Through all this, it was only Seattle who was perfect in every sense. He broke character but the charm of the show was how raw it was. 

From this episode onwards the show became so much better. Annie Murphy was surprisingly great at improv. She pulled off under-cover detective work while being hilarious playing along as a homicide detective and tackling the various activities well. Her self-portrait was off the rails. 

The last two episodes were the top 2 of the series. Sharon Stone and Ken Jeong were made to be improv homicide detectives. Though Ken broke character more than anyone else did, he had carved the role out for himself. Stone, on the other hand, stayed in character and was funny throughout. Her questions, her willingness and her, everything was what I expected from the entire series. Similarly, Ken Jeong too was comfortable with everything thrown his way. His murder story was more bizarre thus requiring him to do equally bizarre stuff. Their episodes are the only times I laughed out loud and would re-watch too. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Conceptually the show is a genius and is doing something that hasn’t been explored much. In terms of execution, their choice of cast and the stories were great even though some of the celebrity guests didn’t end up doing it justice.

While I did expect great stuff from some of them only Ken managed to reach the expectations. Sharon, Marshawn and Annie did surprisingly great jobs. If there was a second season for it I would watch it only for Will Arnett.