When it comes to YouTube Premium, one name is recognized about all else: Cobra Kai. But the streaming service does, in fact, have other offerings, one of which is actually the true underdog story of the whole situation: the meta-comedy Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television*. The series stars Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars, Party Down) as a very exaggerated version of himself and one-half of an unlikely buddy cop duo. In the first season, he was partnered with Detective Mathers, played by Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black, The Handmaid’s Tale). Now in its second season, Mathers is in a coma — more on that later — and Hansen has a new reluctant partner, Detective Vincente, played by Wood Harris (Remember the Titans, The Wire).
Uproxx recently spoke with the creator of this meta Hollywood crime comedy about an actor who helps the LAPD solve crimes, writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber, as well as Ryan Hansen himself. As expected, it was a very serious interview. At least, by the end of it.
Ryan, with a show like Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television* and even going back to Play It Again, Dick, playing a really well-meaning but also really obtuse version of yourself kind of seems like your calling card. What is it about making yourself the butt of the joke that is so appealing to you?
Ryan: Well, neither Play It Again, Dick nor Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television* were my idea, so it seems like other people, i.e. Rob Thomas and Rawson Marshall Thurber III, find it appealing to make me the butt of the joke. I take myself and my craft very, very seriously and someday people, i.e. Rob Thomas and Rawson Marshall Thurber III, will realize that.
Play It Again, Dick and Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television* are also both shows that have done a lot for extremely niche streaming platforms (CW Seed, YouTube Red/Premium) in terms of showing their true creative capability and worth… only without getting much recognition, critically or even in terms of mass appeal. Have you felt like you were making something special with these shows, even without that recognition?
Ryan: The best part of being on a niche streaming platform is being able to do things creatively you couldn’t do on a network show. Having that freedom is pretty special as an actor and is very satisfying. Would I like more people to view our show? Sure. Is my trailer as big as someone’s on a network show? Absolutely not. Was I on a show with my name in the tittle for two seasons? You bet.
So what is the next small streaming service you plan to make regret airing your show?
The next small streaming service I’d like to do a show on is Target. I’m there all the time anyway and I’d love a lil’ friends n’ family discount. It would be a great show.