Only murders in the buildingwhich returns for a second season on Disney+ from June 28, is a murder mystery that capitalizes on our need to consume entertainment.
People used to pick up a book before Kindle, listen to a radio play before Audible, and enjoy their music on vinyl before Spotify, enjoying reading the written word or engaging their imaginations to conjure up characters, so that actors were performing plays from a studio. far.
Something from creators John Hoffman (Grace and Frankie) and Steve Martin (Saturday Night Live) knew only too well, when Only murders in the building season 1 premiered on Disney+ in August 2021.
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It’s seen TV actor Charles (Steve Martin), theater impresario Oliver (Martin Short) and aspiring entertainer Mabel (Selena Gomez) bond over podcasts about true crime, and what’s going on. Selling this series is the effortless on-screen chemistry between our three leads. .
After solving the murder of Tim Cono (Julian Cihi) in a convoluted cliffhanger, these fearless amateur sleuths were then hunted in handcuffs accused of killing building manager Bunny as the credits rolled, as our trio of budding detectives found themselves under suspicion.
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In an opening episode, which finds them being interrogated by the inept Detective Kreps (Michael Rapaport), all three get back into character without missing a beat, delivering subtle comic barbs, disarming amounts of incompetence, and smack dabs. whip.
On the steps in front of the waiting reporters, Oliver mistakes fame for infamy, while Charles and Mabel return to the Arconia. Each is seeking a break from anti-crime podcasts, even as they become suspects at the center of a murder investigation that has gone viral.
Throughout this second run, real effort has been made to keep the premise fresh, may it bring hard-hitting cameos like Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine (Terms of endearment), or slip into the occasional meta-moment. Referring to the difficulties of repeating a first-season hit, but doing it with so much charm and panache, it just fits right in.
This time around, the writers also chose to dig deeper into the story, allowing the audience to better understand the main characters. Importantly, this isn’t just limited to our three main cast members, but expands to include murder victim, Bunny.
It avoids over-reliance on Gomez, Short, and Martin to entertain the audience, while adding depth to a premise that needs to evolve.
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Of the three main cast, Martin Short wins out, tapping into Oliver’s vulnerability, as his need for an audience trumps any sense of self-preservation.
Charles has a more emotional arc this season, as the show chooses to use flashbacks to explore his formative years. Which in turn offers insight into the relationship between a father and son. It also hints at Charles’ connection to his current home, while also highlighting the seedier side of their current situation.
There’s only one story thread that doesn’t ring true in these first three episodes, as Mabel connects with sculptor Alice (Cara Delevingne).
The entertainer reaches out to her after the media storm that erupted after the three of them became suspects, as Charles and Oliver each enjoy their new found fame, Mabel also finds herself the subject of a very positive review.
Once she meets Alice, there’s a tonally awkward scene that might be tenuously tied to identity, in which Mabel intentionally destroys something. That this visceral act ends in a moment of shameless intimacy is at odds with everything else.
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A priori there is nothing wrong with this scene, except that it harms the narrative coherence elsewhere. If the intent was to make an artist statement, challenge perceptions, or potentially take Mabel in a different direction, then someone dropped the ball.
Beyond this minor tonal digression, which continues to sound odd long after the episode is over, Only murders in the building continue straight ahead.
There are some clever visual touches that incorporate a trippy cameo from Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), as well as some subtle fourth wall work from our main players.
Each offers such a solid second season that the only thing that would prevent a third kill in that building would be the lack of available victims.
Something that shouldn’t be a problem anytime soon.
Only murders in the building S2 will launch on Disney+ on June 28, with new episodes every Tuesday. Watch a trailer below.