It was almost a year ago that the internet got into a bit of an argument: Who should star in a theoretical reboot of Peter Falk’s detective classic Columbo? Is it Mark Ruffalo, who has a kind of nervous-aloof-eccentric energy to him that could work? Or how about thinking outside the box and going female with Natasha Lyonne, who has her own thing going? Jump to the present day and we still don’t have a Columbo 2.0, but we do have this: A detective show starring Lyonne, helmed by no less than Rian Johnson.
As per Variety, the pair are teaming up for Poker Face, which Johnson describes as a “fun, character driven, case-of-the-week mystery,” for Peacock. If your mind darted to Columbo, then let us remind you that TV was very different before our current Golden Age of Television, with its continuing stories spread out over multiple seasons. There were lots of detective shows and they were all comprised of self-contained, killer-du-jour episodes. Columbo just did it better than most, with a famous guest killer every week, from John Cassavetes to Janet Leigh to Johnny Cash to William Shatner (twice!), among so many more.
But again, this isn’t a Columbo reboot! And that’s for the best! It would be impossible, maybe even sacrilegious to try and copy what Falk and company did with the show, which was tailor-made for its star, who wanted to do TV work as infrequently as possible, all so he could be free to pursue his film and stage careers.
That said, it wouldn’t be particularly blasphemous if Johnson — already busy with his own detective film series, revolving around Knives Out’s Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig — nicked that show’s main structural gimmick, in which we learned who the murderer was right off the bat, didn’t meet Columbo till the 20-or-so-minute mark, then tried to see how our secretly not-really-bumbling hero would crack the case. And Lyonne, who’s currently busy with the second season of Russian Doll, has exactly the dynamic and unique personality to make for a backdoor Columbo remake far better than an actually Columbo remake.
But upon hearing about this new dynamic duo, everyone was stoked, including Lyonne and Johnson themselves.
— natasha lyonne (@nlyonne) March 16, 2021
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) March 16, 2021
Others agreed that this is a better idea than a Columbo revival.
The Internet: Natasha Lyonne should reboot Columbo.
Rian Johnson: pic.twitter.com/P8xCzgX9vo
— a l e x g r a d e t (he/him) (@menace2snacks) March 16, 2021
In any case, the only way this news can get better is if Mark Ruffalo announced he’s teaming with some other hot shot director for his own non-Columbo detective series. Two is better than one!