Murderville, starring Will Arnett, follows Senior Police Decective Terry Seattle as he attempts to put his life together after a divorce and loss of his partner while simultaneously solving murders with the help of celebrity “detective trainees.” Each episode brings a new murder to be solved and a new celebrity (playing themselves) to help him… except none of the celebrity guests have been given a script and have to improvise their way through the process of solving a ridiculous homicide.
Not all improvisation is created equal and some celebrities were better suited for the format than others. Below is my ranking of each episode based on the celebrity guest’s performance:
6. Annie Murphy
As much as I loved her as Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis Rose, I am disappointed to say that Annie did not make the best episode of Murderville. She seemed to alternate between visibly uncomfortable with improvisation and annoyed with Will Arnett for not making it easy on her. She came alive towards the end of the episode, but overall her performance was the biggest lull in my binge.
5. Sharon Stone
Sharon was funny, though in a more subtle way than the other detective trainees. She took everything seriously, both in trying to perform improv and interrogating each suspect. She had some solid jokes but otherwise it was a pretty average episode.
4. Ken Jeong
I had high expectations for Ken that unfortunately he didn’t live up to. This episode had a few laughs from me and a few too many laughs from Ken. While I don’t blame him for laughing his way through the episode, it didn’t make for great improv or dialogue.
3. Conan O’Brian
Conan is no stranger to improv comedy and his comfort with the situation shows. This was the first episode in the series and it was a great way to get the audience familiar with the show’s format. He and Arnett were obviously having fun together, and this episode gave us the gift of Conan talking about death with a curious kid.
2. Marshawn Lynch
I knew Marshawn would be funny but I didn’t expect just how funny. He gave this episode his all and seemed very comfortable and instantly made himself at home on camera. He improvised several truly hilarious moments and did it like a guy who’s been in an improv group his whole life.
1. Kumail Nanjiani
It’s been a long, long time since I laughed so hard at an episode of television. Kumail got a bit of a slow start as he got to know Terry Seattle, but by the end he was improvising like a seasoned pro and used surprisingly adept physical comedy to create the funniest moment of the entire season. Not only did Will and Kumail made a great comedy duo, but I would trust Kumail to solve an actual murder. Nanjiani for Mayor of Murderville 2022!