In Twisty ‘Only Murders In The Building,’ True Crime Makes Good Neighbors
In Twisty ‘Only Murders In The Building,’ True Crime Makes Good Neighbors

In Hulu's Only Murders in the Building, two veteran comedians bring to the table the clearly defined personae that they've firmly entrenched in the public mind: Steve Martin often plays men who are self-impressed, even pompous, and a bit uptight, while Martin Short plays smarmy show-business phonies turned up to 11.

At first, the actors slot easily, even predictably, into their respective roles: Martin is Charles, a washed-up actor living off the royalties from his old cop show, and Short is Oliver, a flailing theater director who hasn't had a hit in decades.

Both men are infatuated with a true-crime podcast, and when a mysterious death occurs in their Upper West Side apartment building, they decide to start a true-crime podcast of their own.

Given that premise, you'd be forgiven for expecting something broader and more manic — and maybe, when it comes to the subject of podcasting, more than a little out-of-touch — than the series ends up delivering. Certainly the opening minutes of the first episode seem to meet those expectations — there's Martin walking down an UWS street in a porkpie hat while we hear his voice reading a gravid and overwritten bit of narration. There's Short, in a flashy purple jacket, narrating his own over-the-top thoughts on life in New York City.

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