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Dead to Me Series Premiere Review: The Dark Comedy is Very Much Alive

Dead to Me Season 1
Photo Credit: Netflix

Written by Ben Murchison

Dealing with traumatic loss and grief can cause someone to let their guard down and latch on to whatever person can provide them with temporary distractions and fleeting moments of happiness. Against their better judgement, they may allow that person into their life and around those closest to them, without really knowing them at all. In the new Netflix series Dead to Me, a recent widow does exactly this with a new best friend.

Christina Applegate stars as Jen Harding, a grieving mother of two who has just lost her husband in a hit and run accident, and is doing her best to hang on. While she attempts to put on a brave face for her children, she often breaks down when alone. She attends a group meeting where people that have suffered a loss can come to talk, and while there she meets Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini). The peculiar but friendly Judy speaks about losing her husband, and offers her phone number if Jen ever wants to talk. It’s an offer that she takes her up on after a sleepless night and from there the pair form a fast friendship that seems mutually beneficial until things take an unexpected turn.

The first episode of the series created by Liz Feldman introduces a lot of characters including Steve Wood (James Marsden), and Abe (Edward Asner), a patient at the home where Judy works, but it is clear that the focus of the show is going to firmly be planted on the relationship between Applegate and Cardellinni’s characters, which is a good thing because their chemistry is what works best and when it takes off, it lifts everything with it.

The show’s pilot establishes it as a dark comedy from the opening sequence, and even if some of the dry humor seems a bit forced at times, there is a relatability to it. For anything that doesn’t entirely work, the story that is being told has enough early twists and revelations to keep you firmly engaged. Whether you saw the last few minutes of the episode coming or not, there are plenty of unanswered questions to be explored.

With Applegate and Cardellinni, Dead to Me certainly has the cast to be something special, and if the first episode is any indication, they will have plenty of mystery to unravel which should provide each of them with some powerful moments to flex their range before it’s completion. The latest female-centric production has the benefit of its 10 short episodes all available for streaming, making it easy to binge watch the entire thing in a day. You don’t have to wait to see where things go, and that’s a good thing.

Overall Rating of Episode 1: 7 of 10

Dead to Me is currently streaming on Netflix.

Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison is a regular contributor for TV and Movies. He’s that guy that spends an hour in an IMDb black hole of research about every film and show he watches. Strongly believes Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the best show to ever exist, and that Peaky Blinders needs more than 6 episodes per series. East Carolina grad, follow on Twitter and IG @bdmurchison.

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