Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are the oddballs at the centre of the twisty goings-on in Disney Plus series, Only Murders in the Building. A self-aware, even self-referential […]
Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are the oddballs at the centre of the twisty goings-on in Disney Plus series, Only Murders in the Building.
A self-aware, even self-referential take on true crime shows, Only Murders in the Building sees three very different people suddenly drawn together when an apparent suicide in their New York apartment building turns out not to be such an open and shut case. Tim Kono is found dead in his apartment, and the three true crime enthusiasts start a podcast as they gather clues and peel back the layers of an increasingly deepening story.
There’s Charles Haden-Savage (Steve Martin), a reclusive loner who used to be a detective – in a 90s TV show. He meets struggling theatre director and dreamer – with both financial and familial issues – Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and the mysterious Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), who’s supposedly renovating her aunt’s apartment in the building, but has quite a bit she’s not telling the other two.
The chemistry between the three leads is phenomenal and it’s so refreshing to see Martin and Short in roles that they tackle brilliantly, from a dramatic as well as a lightly comedic point of view. In my opinion, Martin Short has never been better than he is here – it’s actually a shame that his dramatic skills haven’t been utilised to such great extent over the years; he has far too often been seen in more physical comedy roles, which weren’t always successful. Likewise for Steve Martin, who is a tremendously gifted actor who was often reduced to daft comedic roles to ever lessening effect after reaching his peak in the 80s; here he is simply brilliant as the sad, affecting character who’s way past his prime and long over trying to connect with other people.
Gomez comes across as a little too aloof at times but just like the older actors, she’s served well by the excellent material, which is instantly compelling and keeps up with brilliantly handled revelations and twists right the way through the ten episode run.
It’s brilliantly shot and scored too, with some superbly clever touches – some which end up being pretty meta – along with some pretty daring stylistic experiments, such as a mostly silent episode (look out for the cheeky, sexy flirting-by-Scrabble scene – surely a first!).
It’s a perfect show for binge-watching too, with episodes at just under half an hour and a ridiculously compelling cliffhanger at the end of every one. Which unfortunately includes the final episode; and I say unfortunately only because I need that second season asap dammit!
A fantastic show with some genuinely jaw dropping developments, phenomenal guest stars and a hugely likable central trio, Only Murders in the Building is an absolute triumph. Awesome stuff.
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