It is not always easy to combine a murder mystery with light-hearted comedy, but when it is done right, you have got gold. Hulu’s original series ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is the brainchild of Steve Martin, who also stars in the series, and John Hoffman. The show talks about three residents at a New York apartment who team up to solve a murder that has happened in their building.
‘Only Murders in the Building’ adds a fun twist to the classic murder mystery genre, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat as you uncover more about the murder and the characters. There is a good balance between goofiness and suspense, which makes the show not too heavy nor too dark. It is definitely something that you can easily watch by yourself late at night, or on a large projector screen in the living room for a move night with your family.
The murder mystery genre has always been popular in film and tv, and this show does it quite well. It also incorporates the comedy nicely, without making it feel overbearing. We have seen examples of the combination, in films like Enola Holmes and shows like Castles, and this one is surely a great addition to the mystery-comedy genre.
There are a lot of things that the show did great at, and that includes the introduction of the three main characters – Charles, Oliver, and Mabel. The trio, played by Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez respectively, presents their introduction monologues in a way that seems like a parody of the monologues you would hear in a true-crime series or a podcast.
These narrated monologues continue to happen throughout the series, as the show introduces new characters. You get a good basic understanding of these characters, but without the show giving it to you straight.
In terms of the characters themselves, they all have a well-developed backstory that is slowly unveiled as the series progresses. You will not get the backstory directly, but it helps to keep them mysterious, which then helps to keep you guessing on the ending.
The actors also do a great job at portraying the character they play. Steve Martin plays Charles, who appears uptight and distant at first but is more just an awkward man who has a difficult time opening to people. Meanwhile, Martin Short’s Oliver brings some wittiness to the room, but it does not feel out of place. Selena Gomez also does Mabel right, and she gives the character a grounded energy that surprisingly pairs wells with Charles and Oliver’s rather eccentric ones.
Another thing that the show does an amazing job in is keeping the show interesting as it progresses. One of the highlights of the show is that the trio begins a podcast to document their investigation. This is inspired by their shared love for a true-crime podcast, hosted by Cinda Canning (played by Tina Fey).
This adds a sense of modernness to the series, and while the podcast plays a major role in the series, it is not too obvious that the trio has a podcast. Rather, it seems like something on the side, but you do get references of the podcast every so often in the series.
‘Only Murders in the Building’ also approaches new developments within the show in a smooth way. When it comes to a character’s flashbacks, it is done in a way that flows naturally, without abruptly cutting out from the current timeframe. There is also a fun depiction of how the trio citizen sleuth goes through their list of suspects, with Oliver imagining the process as a casting call for a Broadway production.
It is also a visually pleasing series, with beautifully done set designs that help to tell more about the characters and their personality. If you want to get some home decoration inspiration, it is highly recommended that you watch this on an Ultra 4K OLED TV to soak up all the details.
The show is amusing, entertaining, and overall, a great watch. It covers both the exciting aspects of a murder mystery and the entertaining angle of comedy. There is not much wackiness to be expected, but it is enough to add a little bit of fun, without taking the focus away from the main plot of the show –to catch a murderer.
‘Only Murder in the Building’ is streamed on Hulu in the US, and on Star+ on Disney+ in the UK. It is also available to international audiences through Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. The show is currently ongoing, with new episodes released weekly.