Clearly determined not to mess with success, “Only Murders in the Building” returns with a second season that self-consciously plays to its strengths, while ending on top of the old one with its cliffhanger. Lays a new secret kept by It’s creepy and fun in every way, with lots of winking references to “Season 2” (the podcast, naturally, but you get the idea).
After solving a murder involved in their first adventure, the unlikely trio of Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez) turn their attention to their next neighbor to find him dead. Plus, he has new cameos to spice up the proceedings, like Amy Schumer as Amy Schumer, who pitches to Oliver, an immediately receptive to the idea of turning a podcast into a limited series because, well, showbiz.
Being quirky can be harder than it looks, but the show works well at it – hiring a shifting narrator, finding a new (and humiliating) acting job for Charles and letting Jane Lynch perform her stunts. Playing double, or overworking Tina Fey’s ruthless podcaster and her distressed assistant.
Once again, the mystery itself doesn’t really matter that much, as the episodes move forward with various clues and revelations, while much of their enjoyment is derived from odd moments, such as paying homage to the short film “Last of the Mohicans”. Trapped in a ladder due to power failure.
While the show probably doesn’t necessarily feel quite fresh this second time around, it benefits greatly from those little touches and the general obsession with true crime. Practically speaking, the timing of its comeback seems designed to maximize its performance with the next round of Emmy nominations in just a few weeks, which worked out well for “Ted Lasso.”
“You can tell this is our second season,” Oliver says at one point, referring to the podcast, but like everything else here, provides a kind of meta commentary on Hollywood and the workings of the show.
You really can, that doesn’t stop the “only murders” from living up to their moderately heightened ambitions and once again turning them dead.
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