It's always the most random TV shows that stick with me and end up being something I fall in love with, and the one I was not expecting recently was the Hulu original series, Only Murders In The Building. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez do an incredible job in the premiere season of this series. I was compelled in many ways, because it seemed like every part of Only Murder In The Building, from writing to editing, was lining up effortlessly. At first, I thought that the series was going to go in that annoying direction of always mocking the younger generations or developing a misinformed narrative of generational divides. Instead, it became one of my all-time favorite series ever done, and holy shit am I happy it's getting that second season.
Only Murders In The Building in my head feels like the vibes and at times witty comedic moments from the Netflix series A Series Of Unfortunate Events had a baby with the classic mystery in the film Rear Window. I see how it found footing in the identity of itself early on, showing the opposite but mixing realities of economic statuses in New York City from Manhattan to Long Island and everything in-between. Only Murders In The Building includes people not only financially, but also in locals vs non-locals. My partner grew up in Queens for most of their life, going to game stores near friends in Brooklyn and developing a love for theater that continues to stick with them. Me, on the other hand, moved around a bunch, but has mostly known non-city life, or at least being a visitor in most circumstances. The series included people in on the jokes, giving a lot to audiences from New York City and those who may have visited only once or twice. What I found hilarious was recognizing a specific location in the series, during the fifth episode "Twist", specifically what they called Long Island was actually on Beach 116th street in Rockaway over in Queens. I know this because I walked that path with my camera as my partner showed me where they grew up, although no resemblance of a tattoo shop was there like it was in that episode. I've included some evidence, via photos I took during my first trip with my partner to Rockaway Beach. It was unique but also compelling for me, but even more so for my partner who became so interested and excited seeing their hometown on-screen.
With that setting for Only Murders In The Building, it mixes how it targets its' audience, from meta commentary on true crime and podcast worlds to traditional storytelling methods you'd find in many other TV shows alongside mystery novels. The setting may have been a character in itself, but the perspectives the series brought in the biggest impact. For example, the episode from a deaf perspective, Theo's in particular who is also played by deaf actor James Caverly, it addresses a lot and doesn't ignorantly display lack of hearing or silence as a reduced ability to tell a story or artwork. Besides the great acting from Caverly, many other characters and perspectives are brought in, like Jane Lynch's character, Charles' former body double for stunts. Lynch's scene with Steve Martin's character, Charles. in the ninth episode "Double Time", was incredible and impactful on many levels.
These moments signal the emotional and smart impact Only Murders In The Building can have with the audience through any character. The twists & turns, and eventual rewards keep an audience like me watching this quick dramedy filled with pockets of joy and shock. The characters, especially the main three, maintain pieces of identity that become so fun to point out as you solve things alongside them. I wanted to help because they mattered to me, and while a big part of that comes from many involved in making the series, a lot can come from the acting itself which was phenomenal. For a favorite example of mine, the weird yet brilliant acting from Steve Martin as his character is cognizant yet dealing with poisoning…oh, and a ridiculous elevator debacle. I had some of the most fun I've ever had with a series as I watched Only Murders In The Building. I have to say that this result comes from people, like me for example, who love the comfort that comes with mysteries and the art of exemplary storytelling.
And as for the future? Well, work is well underway on the second season… as Gomez showed fans a few days earlier via Instagram and TikTok: