Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television*: Season 1 – Review

Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television* premieres October 25th on YouTube Red.

As noted by the asterisk in its title, Ryan Hansen’s new show isn’t actually on television. You can find the crime procedural parody on YouTube Red, inspiring one of the series’ funniest running gags. Whenever Hansen mentions the show will be on the video network’s premium service, another character will confuse it with the similar sounding pornography site.

Ryan Hansen Solves on Television is a spot on satire of procedurals and Hollywood culture. The show follows a fictional Los Angeles Police Department program that pairs actors with homicide detectives so the former can use their acting skills to help solve murders. Apparently the mayor is “a big V-Mars fan”, so semi-unknown Ryan Hansen is selected to participate.

While I legitimately laughed out loud several times throughout the episodes I watched, but the majority of jokes involve 4th wall breaking. (“Just like Deadpool!” Ryan notes.) In other words, the show is overly-meta to a fault. Seeing celebrities like Kristen Bell, Joe McHale, and Jon Cryer play themselves is great fun, but it slowly turns into cameos for the sake of having cameos. Luckily the entire season consists of just eight episodes so the formula doesn’t get too stale.

Another flaw is episode length. Most shows on streaming networks have this problem, but it hurts comedies the most. A lot of the extended riffing could have been cut out and the final product would’ve been concise. Instead, every riff out of Hansen’s mouth is left in and the half hour kind of drags on.

Ryan’s detective partner is played by Orange Is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley. I can’t think of a reason she would ever want to do this show, but she’s fantastic nonetheless. Wiley plays off Hansen’s obliviousness very well and adds a lot to the cliche good cop/bad cop dynamic.

If you actually know who Ryan Hansen is, give Crimes on Television a try. You might get tired of the non-stop spoofing, but you can always click over to a comforting cat video if you get bored.

I give Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television* a B.