Does Only Murders in the Building continue its strengths in season 2? Yes, and no.
The first season of Only Murders in the Building was a revelation to be sure. Steve Martin and Martin Short, as always, were spectacular. And Selena Gomez, who was mostly known for her time on Wizards of Waverly Place and her singing career, was a revelation in the trio. But can you capture lightning in a bottle on a second go-around?
Only Murders in the Building picks up right where season 1 left off with the trio being accused of roles in the death of co-op board president Bunny (Jayne Houdyshell). That serves as the backdrop of the second outing with them trying to clear their names while also trying to solve the newest murder in the building.
Much like season 1, the new episodes have the trio working on solo issues about their personal lives and coming together from time to time as they discover new clues. What seems different this time, however, is that a lot less time seems to be spent on the murder, and the podcast hook feels very much moved down the priority ladder. It’s there, but it feels almost like an afterthought.
Also not nearly as good this time around is the celebrity living upstairs. Sting has moved out and Amy Schumer has moved in. There was a fine sense of mystery to Sting while Schumer is played more as attention-seeking. It doesn’t mix as well, but she is thankfully not in much of what we have seen so far.
The biggest issue for Only Murders in the Building season 2 is it is competing against itself. If this was the first season of a series, I would say it was fantastic, but when competing against such a stellar first season it is difficult for anyone to climb that hill.
Luckily, the cast is as charming as ever, and the characters feel more fleshed out than ever before. Gomez’s Mabel, in particular, is allowed to really stretch her legs this year and dig deeper into her own emotional baggage, and it works.
Despite a few misgivings based entirely on following up such a strong first season, we can’t help but to recommend Only Murders in the Building season 2.
Disclaimer: Hulu provided The Nerdy with eight episodes of season 2 for the purposes of this review. We watched them to completion before beginning this review.