I was really excited about the premise of Murderville, a crime prodecural comedy starring Will Arnett as eccentric Detective Terry Seattle, who is partnered with detectives in training aka guest stars who completely improvise their parts while they solve the case of the week. Unfortunately, it looks better on paper than in actuality. What you would expect to be a brilliantly absurd comedy more often falls flat and its a real shame.
I was really disappointed in Murderville because I was expecting a lot from the comedy greats that they cast as guests. Improvisation is not an easy task but I expected the guests to come out guns blazing. Instead, they seemed completely out of their element, unsure of what to do, sticking out like sore thumbs in a cast that seemed like they were in on an inside joke with the exclusion of the guests. Its all very awkward.
I think the main problem with the show’s premise is that it overestimated the limits of improv. Its okay to improv if the guests were at least briefed on “the case” they were supposed to be working on. Even that tidbit of information, if not the entire flow of the script could have prepared them somewhat to respond to Will Arnett’s character more naturally. Instead, they never quite achieved the sense of buddy comedy rapport that the series was obviously gunning for (with the exception of Marshawn Lynch).
The guests were also unable to create characters for themselves unlike in scripted roles where they can flesh out the personalities of the characters they play beforehand. Ken Jeong seemed to be taking most of his cue from Will Arnett and could not stop laughing. As much as I love Coco, Conan O’Brien’s persona seemed never to click with his detective role, and the rest of the guests were pretty much the same story, save for some.
I’m sure the cast of Murderville had fun doing this one of a kid show but for all intents and purposes, it seems like one big fat unfunny joke at the expense of the audience. Its annoying, over the top and should not get another season. I’m sorry. I wanted to love it but I don’t. On to the next idea please.