TV - Murderville

With the full boxset coming to BBC iPlayer from Monday 17th April, a reminder of our own improvised crime fighter Steve Taylor-Bryant's thoughts on Murderville...

Many years ago when BBC3 was a proper television channel, there was a comedy slash reality fiction show with a great premise that I don’t think was executed as well as it could be. A detective, a murder victim and then a celebrity thrown into the show with no script who has to follow the story and guess who the perpetrator was. Unfortunately when the UK does anything “celebrity” based it is in the loosest sense of the term and whilst Tom Davis as DI Sleet in Murder in Successville was excellent bang for your buck unfortunately the likes of Jamie Lang and Mark Wright [who? - Ed] didn’t really add much to make what could have great much above mediocre. Step forward five years and add Netflix wages to the concept and that is a whole different ballgame.

Murderville stars the always incredible Will Arnett as Detective Terry Seattle, no he’s never been, a tired and depressed shell of a man who is being divorced by his police captain wife and for fifteen years hasn’t been able to solve the murder of his old partner, Jennifer Aniston. Each episode there’s a fresh death that takes Seattle away from his partners case and he’s teamed with a celebrity partner. This first batch of shows have bona fide celebrity guests, Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek), Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct), Marshawn Lynch (NFL star), Conan O’Brian (everything funny on late night TV for three decades), Ken Jeong (Community), and Kumail Nanjiani (most recently in The Eternals), and whilst they’re all strong episodes if you only watch one thing this year watch the Kumail Nanjiani one, it’s honestly some of the funniest improv I’ve seen in a long time.

Will Arnett handles the scripted stuff with aplomb, he’s a comedic force of nature who never disappoints and he bounces off the celebrity ideas and actions superbly, handling everything thrown at him until the Kumail Nanjiani one which had even the dead victim breaking character.

Murderville is great, each episode is a short and sharp thirty minutes which is long enough to entertain but short enough that the improvised parts don’t become stale. Each murder is inventive, each celebrity varies in success, and every episode is uplifting for the spirit.

Follow Steve on Twitter @STBwrites

Image - Netflix

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