Some of us like our crime TV, and life, with a splash of humor. This is the count down for the top five funniest crime shows. Some shows—like Get Smart—didn’t make the list because they were funny once upon a time, but when I went back to watch them they weren’t as funny to me as they once were. As always, this list is purely subjective.
I like to do countdowns in reverse order and I’m cheating a little, so let’s begin with Number 5.5…
• Number 5.5: Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog •
Billed as a “super villain online musical”, Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly, etc.) set out to make a three act mini-series in 2008 starring Neil Patrick Harris in the title role, Nathan Fillion of Castle fame as his nemesis, and Felicia Day as the woman they both love. Each of the acts runs approximately 15 minutes and all are full of tragicomedy and supervillain mayhem. Technically this never ran on TV (only on the Internet) so it’s Number 5.5 on our countdown, but you haven’t really lived until you’ve watched a supervillain break into song. Dr. Horrible’s is pure fun.
• Number 5: Monk •
Here we follow Adrian Monk, a former police detective who has obsessive-compulsive disorder. After the murder of his wife, which is not funny, he tries to solve cases while on psychiatric leav,e which turns out to be funny a good deal of the time. Monk has 312 phobias, including: germs, ladybugs, heights, risk, imperfection, and harmonicas just to name a few. This makes detecting rather challenging.
• Number 4: Psych •
Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster (Gus) run a psychic detective agency. Their motto is “To Predict and Serve.” Best buds since childhood, they get into a lot of trouble. I must admit that when I first starting watching this show, I didn’t find it all that funny and sometimes the gags last a little longer than necessary, but it has grown on me and now I find it funnier than ever.
You can help Shawn and Gus go after the #hashtag killer here.
• Number 3: Chuck •
Take a nerd who needs a computer in his head to become a spy. Add the geeky best friend, the hot spy girl friend, the straight-laced spy colleague, a female general that I cannot fully describe here, plus a Best Buy parody store called the Buy More, and you get comedic genius. Let’s not forget the toxic-fume-loving sidekicks and the in-laws. The last episodes of Chuck aired earlier this year, but you can get them on Netflix or online. Yes, I will miss the Buy More.
• Number 2: Castle •
Detective Kate Beckett allows a mystery writer, Rick Castle, to tag along as she fights crime, but more often than not, he helps find the killer. Yes, this show has many serious story lines, but the jokes seem to fly faster than on Saturday Night Live. I can’t help but smile every time Richard Castle wears his protective vest that says “WRITER” in big white letters, or when he points out that he is ruggedly handsome. This show is still fresh and fun. I can’t wait until Monday nights.
As an aside, if you are on Twitter and love Castle, you may want to follow @InsaneCastleBot. Every time you send a tweet with “#Castle, you get a wonderful Castle quote back.
And now we come to the number one, the funniest television crime show ever…
• Number 1: Moonlighting •
Fashion model Maddie Hayes gets bilked by her investment advisor and only has her house and a detective agency to show for her career. David Addison, the lead detective of the agency, convinces her they can run it together, which leads to mayhem.
When I first starting writing this post, this ABC series from the 80s didn’t even make the top five list, but then I started re-watching episodes and I couldn’t stop—watching or laughing. Whether David is leading the office in lunchtime limbo, or Maddie and David are interviewing suspects in Dr. Seuss rhymes, this is still surprisingly funny, which makes it number one in my countdown.
I’m sure I’ve missed something good. What are your top five funniest?
Deborah Lacy is an avid mystery reader who lives in California.