If Thank God You’re Here were a British series it would be Murder in Successville, a largely-improvised comedy in which a celebrity is thrust into a whodunnit scenario.
The series stars Tom Davis as D.I. Sleet, a hulking, world-weary, short-tempered detective working in the town of Successville, where all the celebrities live.
“I eat crime, I drink justice and I shit myself,” he explains.
But sometimes in Successville the population bumps off one of their own, which is when Chief Gordon Ramsay (Liam Hourican) brings in a young gun recruit to partner with Sleet in order to solve the crime.
In the first episode that job lands to Jamie Laing a UK celeb best known for Made in Chelsea. He looks like a young Woody Harrelson but in the spirit of the show is up for the challenge.
“If you screw this up I’ll knock your bollocks off,” Chief Gordon Ramsay warns.
Even in the first meeting with his new boss Jamie is fighting back the laughter, which is kinda half the fun of this unpredictable show. As well as playing along he will have to look out for clues along the way -we’re expecting a suspect by the end of the 30 minutes.
Head of Ballistics Taylor Swift (Jenny Bede) talks our duo through the crime scene before the corpse Bruno Tonioli, her suspicions point towards Harry Styles & his gang.
In an interrogation room, Sleet & Jamie quiz the Carr Brothers (Alan & Jimmy), another of the stock-standard crime scenes that tests Jamie. Sleet leads the scenes but there is enough leeway for Jamie to improvise (watch for the “safe word” cops use).
There’s also a bar-room scene where Jamie goes undercover as Artie Boocamp (no “t”) and a pretty funny face-off with mobsters Harry Styles (Tony Way) and Niall Horan (Harry Peacock) with Jamie forced to wear an earpiece and repeat everything Sleet tells him, prank-style. Both our heroes will be thrown into jeopardy and save the day, including with a final decision about who killed Bruno Tonioli. Were you paying attention to the clues in between the comedy?
This is a shamelessly silly format with Tom Davis in his element as Sleet, although it’s hard to know if it will wear out its welcome. The ensemble is adept at riffing off the reactions of the celebrity without batting an eyelid. Despite the famous names (Taylor Swift, Gordon Ramsay, Harry Styles etc) there’s no attempt to look like their namesake and it doesn’t matter a jot.
Most of the celebs who front across the 3 seasons are barely known here, but look out for Dermot O’Leary, Emma Bunton, Martin Kemp & Reggie Yates.
If you’re missing Thank God You’re Here (and who isn’t?) this may tickle your funny boe.
9:50pm Thursday on ABC Comedy.