REVIEW: Trio of stars shine in hilarious new TV series ‘Only Murders in the Building’ on Hulu

Aug 31, 2021, 10:30 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2021, 7:45 am

Only Murders In The Building -- Mabel (Selena Gomez), Oliver (Martin Short) and Charles (Steve Mart...

Only Murders In The Building -- Mabel (Selena Gomez), Oliver (Martin Short) and Charles (Steve Martin). (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

(Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

SALT LAKE CITY — In my experience, a little bit of Martin Short goes a LONG way. Yet, in the new Hulu Original streaming series “Only Murders In the Building,” Short’s penchant for hamming it up to the point of annoyance actually fits into the show, rather than distracting from it.

In my opinion, that’s a rather amazing feat.


The new streaming series “Only Murders In The Building” stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. (Courtesy of Hulu)

“Only Murders in the Building,” which debuted on Aug. 31, is a dramedy that follows three residents of the same posh apartment building, the Arconia, on New York City’s Upper West Side.

Charles (Steve Martin) is an actor who was famous for starring in a TV crime show years ago. Oliver (Short) is a Broadway producer and director who has fallen on some hard times personally and financially. Mabel (Selena Gomez) is actually poor, but the apartment belongs to her aunt and she’s living there while it’s being remodeled.

Like most stereotypical New Yorkers, though they live in the same building, they are strangers to each other for the most part.

But when a murder takes place in their building, the three bond after learning of each other’s love for true crime podcasts while having to wait outside their building while the police investigate the crime.

Since the show is in part lampooning America’s obsession with “murder shows,” all the amateur detectives the genre has produced, and seemingly everyone’s desire to create their own podcast, it comes as no surprise when Oliver (the producer who’s always looking for his next opportunity) points something out:

If they put their skills together, this murder could give the three of them the chance to create an as-it-happens, true crime investigative podcast of their own!

As their investigation unfolds, the three uncover complex secrets of the building which stretch back years, and viewers discover that not everything that the characters have told each other is entirely true.


It took me much of the first episode to finally get the feel for what kind of show and comedy style that co-writers John Hoffman and (Steve) Martin were going for. It’s very deadpan, but with the comedic skills that Short and Martin bring, it became very funny very quickly once I settled into the show’s rhythms.

One of the big questions for me going in was how Selena Gomez would do alongside the long-time acting vets, and the answer is that she meshes very well.  She brings a young-Madeline-Kahn-type vibe with her deliberately monotone delivery and deadpan humor.

The writing seems to play to everyone’s strengths, letting Gomez react to Short and Martin rather than try to match them, letting Martin use his talent for physical comedy, and (miraculously) harnessing Short’s manic theatricality into genuinely funny moments. I’ve laughed out loud multiple times through the first three episodes.

In fact, the name of the series (and the title of the podcast in the show) is a joke almost made in passing about which of the many murders that happen in New York they’ll focus on.

Yet, because “Only Murders” is a pretty good mystery in and of itself, I also wonder if that tidbit will somehow also end up being relevant before the show is finished?

Cameos from familiar faces have been a fun surprise through the first three episodes, as have the surprising amount of references to my favorite detective book series when I was a youth, “The Hardy Boys.”


There are some content warnings, however. “Only Murders In the Building” is rated TV-MA.  The first three episodes have strong language, as well as some blood and dismemberment that is played for laughs. This is not a show for kids.

I think it’s worth your time and effort to watch. However, you’ll know within the first two episodes if this is your type of series or not.


The first season of “Only Murders in the Building” will reportedly have a total of 10 episodes, though it seems that Hulu is releasing the show much like a murder podcast: The first three episodes on day one (available now), then new episodes each Monday until its run is complete.

It is streaming exclusively on Hulu, where subscriptions start at $5.99 a month, including a one-month free trial.

Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth is the movie and pop culture guy for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and (ahem) also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out some of his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on

KSL 5 TV Live

Streaming TV Reviews

A young woman and a man with silver hair under a hat sit on a park bench...

ALICIA RANCILIO Associated Press

Top TV of 2023: AP’s selections include ‘Succession,’ ‘Jury Duty,’ ‘Shrinking,’ ‘Swarm’

Did you watch "Beef" yet? What about "The Bear"? It seems there's always a show or two that maybe you've meant to watch and just haven't gotten around to it yet. Or, a title could have skipped you completely. The Associated Press has compiled a list of 10 TV shows — not ranked and in no particular order

7 months ago

This combination of three separate photos shows Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, left, Sarah Snook as ...

Associated Press

Ahead of ‘Succession’ finale, uncertainty about outcomes for its sparring siblings

There's no Iron Throne, but the stakes feel just as high.

1 year ago

Rachael Ray in the kitchen on December 10, 2014. Celebrity chef Rachael Ray's talk show will come t...

Zoe Sottile

‘It’s time for me to move on:’ Rachael Ray’s talk show will end after 17 years on air

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray's talk show will come to an end after 17 years, according to CBS.

1 year ago

Chris Rock, seen here on 'SNL' in 2020, will take the stage on March 4 to perform "Chris Rock: Sele...

Marianne Garvey

Chris Rock is set to make Netflix history

The comedian will take the stage on Saturday night to perform "Chris Rock: Selective Outrage," the first ever live global streaming event for Netflix.

1 year ago

Netflix announces ad-supported subscription option, less than half the price of ad-free (Chris McGr...

MICHAEL LIEDTKE AP Technology Writer

Netflix sets $7 monthly price for its ad-supported service

Netflix will unveil next month the first version of its video streaming service with ads. The move will give cost-conscious viewers a chance to watch most Netflix shows at a steep discount in exchange for putting up with commercial interruptions.

2 years ago

This image released by Amazon Studios shows Morfydd Clark in a scene from "The Lord of the Rings: T...

MARK KENNEDY AP Entertainment Writer

Ambitious ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel hopes to slay HBO’s dragons

The return of dragons has been a hit. Now it's time for the return of the elves and dwarves.

2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

REVIEW: Trio of stars shine in hilarious new TV series ‘Only Murders in the Building’ on Hulu