Have You Watched “Murderville”? (My Thoughts)

We’re currently 5 episodes into Netflix’s “Murderville,” and I’m really enjoying it as a lunchtime comedy/mystery show!

Like many great American shows, Murderville is based on a British show and stars a Canadian actor (Will Arnett). Will Arnett plays a detective, and he helps someone solve a mystery each episode.

The twist is that while the actors in the show follow a script, Arnett’s detective-in-training partner–a different person each episode–does not have a script. Their role is entirely improvisational, and they really are trying to solve a fictional murder.

I absolutely love this combination of scripted and improv comedy. Arnett and the other cast members do a good job of bridging the gap between the two realms, and while they typically stay in character, it’s fun to see them break at times.

I’ve also enjoyed what each guest has brought to the show so far. They each respond to the improv and the mystery in different ways, and generally it seems best when they’re playful without trying too hard to be funny and when they truly do try to solve the mystery. I think my favorite so far might be Annie Murphy (Schidtt’s Creek), though Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Sharon Stone, and Kumail Nanjiani have all had great moments.

Also, I really like that there’s a mystery to solve. At the end of each episode, the guest star is presented with the three suspects, and they pick one and explain why they think they’re the murderer. We also pause the show right before this part and make our guess. It would be neat if Netflix added an option for viewers to vote on screen and see the results (not to change the outcome, but just to compare your guess to others).

I think the one part of the show I wouldn’t mind seeing changed a little bit is when the guest star has an earpiece for a scene, and they’re just repeating what Arnett says. I don’t entirely mind the earpiece concept, but it doesn’t leave the guest much wiggle room to improvise and react.

Overall, I highly recommend Murderville. What are your thoughts on it?

1 thought on “Have You Watched “Murderville”? (My Thoughts)”

  1. I haven’t watched this yet. We’ll be switching our services in April, and pick up Netflix for the month. It sounds a bit like the show “Thank God You’re Here.” A sketch show where comedian guests are dressed into a costume, and walked through a blue door into a sketch that they have not been prepared for. One of the other players says “Thank God you’re here, …” and introduces the premise. And the guest has to improv their way through the sketch for 5 minutes or so.

    It was an Australian show, but I think it was sold off to other countries. A quick Google shows a season aired in the U.S. in 2007. Anyway, it’s always fun to see people try and bluff their way along when they don’t have all the info. There’s any number of board games built around that premise. 🙂

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