Usually I like my detective stories dark, but "Bored to Death" helped me accept that they could be fun and just as entertaining. The HBO comedy created by author Jonathan Ames makes the comic misadventures of Jason Schwartzman's Jonathan and his cohorts Ray (Zach Galifianakis) and George (Ted Danson).

Usually I like my detective stories dark, but “Bored to Death” helped me accept that they could be fun and just as entertaining. The HBO comedy created by author Jonathan Ames makes the comic misadventures of Jason Schwartzman’s Jonathan and his cohorts Ray (Zach Galifianakis) and George (Ted Danson).

As a threesome, these actors might have the best onscreen chemistry on television. Galifianakis’ Ray is a beautifully bumbling stoner and part-time artist (who draws himself as a superhero with a super-powered member), and the role fully utilizes Galifianakis’ comedic talents — hilarious snark and non-sequiturs with an incredible knack for physical humor.

While I love Ray, Danson is the reason to watch “Bored to Death.” He is wonderful as George, the self-aware millionaire who confronts his issues — womanizing, chronic weed smoking and grandiose ambitions — but knows how much fun they make life. Danson was born to play this role.

That leaves Schwartzman as the lead character, a down-on-his-luck writer who took up freelance private detective work. It has inspired his latest collection of short stories that is bringing him some recognition. Basically, Schwartzman is the straight man, but he’s capable of carrying the narratives.

“Bored to Death” kicks off Season 3 with a two-part, classic noir murder mystery that is fairly well done but is not a high point for the series.

If you’re new to this show, stick around for the third episode, when Jonathan appears on a new Dick Cavett talk show to promote his book, and his nemesis Louis (John Hodgman) returns. It’s one of the finest episodes of television I’ve seen in a long time; Danson and Galifianakis are especially brilliant.

From there, “Bored to Death” carries the momentum with gusto, and themes about fatherhood and maturing/getting old are explored with depth and wit.