Mike Tyson Mysteries: Season One doesn’t disappoint in the outlandish factor. Look past the concept of anyone asking Iron Mike to help solve a problem and consider his crime-solving crew: Yung Hee (Rachel Ramras), his adopted Korean daughter; Pigeon (Norm MacDonald), a foul-mouth drunk who was turned into a pigeon; and the effeminate ghost of the Marquess of Queensberry (Jim Rash). The crew doesn’t exactly get along, nor are they very good at solving people’s problems, but it is an enjoyable assembly of characters to watch as they bumble through each episode.
The real linchpin to the entire series is Mike (Mike Tyson). One of my bigger concerns with the show was whether or not Tyson would be in on the joke or not, but he completely throws himself into the role. Mike overplays his lisp and plays a delightfully "not-all-there" character. You know there’s something going on inside his head, but the gears are a bit squeaky and not turning perfectly in tune with the rest of the crew (or, for that sake, reality). Mike routinely mispronounces words and confuses names, such as referring to Gary Kasparov as "Grand Wizard" instead of "Grandmaster" or confusing Elon Musk with Elton John.
Tyson expertly plays up the public perception of Mike Tyson. It's almost like he's roasting himself in every episode and the surrounding characters do a great job of playing to Tyson’s quirks. Much of the credit goes to the voice cast, who do just a great a job inhabiting their characters as Tyson. Just as Tyson is playing to a certain image, you could easily argue MacDonald is doing the same. Pigeon is Norm MacDonald, sarcastically derivative tone and all. Rash does a great job as the Marquess as well, though he’s typically regaled to the role of straight man to Tyson and Pigeon’s antics. The same goes for Yung Hee, the group’s Velma analog and, frankly, the only member who could reasonably be trusted to solve the problems brought to the Mystery Team. She’s smart, wise, and level-headed. She’s also a robot – or at least that’s what Mike thinks.
The show’s style mimics older Hanna-Barbera shows like Speed Buggy or, more notably, Scooby-Doo. In each episode, the team receives a message asking for help via carrier pigeon. Requests range from an Old Wizard asking Mike if magic is real to Cormac McCarthy asking for Mike’s help finishing his latest novel. As you would expect, complications arise every time, turning the simple request into something much larger. Even mundane requests such as helping a new couple buy their first house or picking up Buzz Aldrin from the airport become ridiculous adventures.
If the show has one weakness, it is the episodes. While every episode has its fair share of massive belly laughs, the humor is uneven and a bit random. The smarter episodes outnumber the "dumb" ones, but there are some definite stinkers in the bunch. Since this is the show’s first season, the unevenness is forgivable since it is clear the show is trying to find its way. Of the ten episodes included on the DVD, there’s only a handful you’ll want to watch multiple times and others you’ll just want to forget completely.
Even with a few less-than-great episodes, and a lack of extras, Mike Tyson Mysteries: Season One is still a solid buy for fans of ridiculous comedies in the vein of Harvey Birdman, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, or other Adult Swim offerings.