Netflix is known for releasing your latest obsession. If you’re not joining Eleven and her pals on a supernatural journey, you’re an inmate of Litchfield just trying to make it through another day. But what has just become an intriguing story that is destined to envelop you in its story brimming with twist and turns yet anchored by a rock-solid performance of two incredible leads, Netflix’s latest effort Dead to Me is the definition of obsession.
Dead to Me stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in a tale that shirks you around like a roller-coaster. Applegate’s Jen has the seemingly perfect life. She has a beautiful house, a loving husband and two children she adores. However, after a freak hit and run leaves her a widow, she can’t seem to hold her life together. Before long, Jen has found herself in a grief support group where she meets fellow member, Cardenelli’s Judy. While at first Judy seems to be a friendly and supportive member of the group who is dealing with a tragedy not unlike Jen’s, a mess of secrets and real intentions unravel, promising to suck you in.
While, the series expertly deploys a series of twists and turns that pivot each episode off into a new direction, what keeps you invested in the world of Jen and Judy is the dynamic between these two captivating leads, which is only enhanced by spot on performances by their portrayers. Applegate and Cardellini dig into what makes each of these characters tick, in ways that are astounding to watch. The two touch upon the grief in each character as expertly as they hit the comedic beats that line each episode.
This isn’t to say that the series is solely wrapped up in the dark situations the characters are facing. Taking a very Desperate Housewives meets Grace and Frankie approach, Dead to Me defines its world by sprinkling in some light-hearted comedy to each character’s dialogue and actions. Through this, the show refocuses the story about grief and danger in a sunny and bright atmosphere, allowing the audience a sense of complacency before being utterly thrown by the twists that bookend each episode. One such twist closed out the season, laying the groundwork for a hopeful season two.
First and foremost, Dead to Me is a story about grief and the many facets of this period of mourning that people go through after the loss of a loved one.
Jen and Judy are struggling to find themselves feeling a moment of happiness that isn’t overshadowed by the loss of someone they love. This feeds into the central message of the series: it’s okay to not feel okay. As the characters grapple with their new normal and try desperately to find a way to just keep going, the show entrusts its audience to do the same. Grief and loss are subjects that can be tricky to handle. Some shows, such as Mom, handle the subject with a delicate nature that also never shies away from dark comedy. Dead to Me is very much in same boat, or pool, as would be more appropriate.
Dead to Me raises the bar on what has been a lacklustre array of series from it parent streaming service, one that hopefully signals a new wave in innovative and downright enticing series to come.
Boasting an impressive secondary cast that features the likes of James Marsden and Ed Asner, the series delivers a high bar that may be tough to follow up. There’s an inherent ability in each performer to bring out the smallest aspects of each character, making them feel lived in and real, all the while preparing the audience for what is sure to be another draw-dropping twist to come.
With an intriguing world that is impossible to be free from, creator Liz Feldman and her team of writers craft a heartfelt experience that is equal parts fun and addictive. This is suffice to say that Dead to Me will have you hooked until the very last glass of wine.
You can stream Dead To Me on Netflix now.