Created by Liz Feldman, Netflix’s DEAD TO ME is now streaming on Netflix (US).
Described as a “traumedy,” Dead to Me focuses on a real estate agent, Jen Harding (Christina Applegate) (and her two sons) following the loss of Ted, her husband, from a hit-and-run accident. At a local church’s grief counseling sessions, she is quickly befriended by Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini), a woman with her own share of trauma. The ten-episode first season includes many twists and turns that are perhaps slightly reminiscent of Netflix’s own Bloodlines, ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Showtime’s Dexter (for the “who dunnit” aspect, at least), but with a more tightly knit feel to it.
Set in an affluent part of Orange County, the show features quite the sunny display of SoCal vibes and residents. Residents of the area include the typical supportive group of neighbors, the types who politely bring around casserole trays in an attempt to help Jen get through her trying times, and folks connected to Judy’s somewhat mysterious past as well. Somewhat mysterious because she isn’t initially totally upfront with Jen about the cause of her own trauma. Ignoring the many red flags raised early in the season, Jen seeing someone else hurting in a similar way, invites Judy to live with the family. What a nice thing to do!
With the newfound friendship and through the shared grief, Judy and the combined circumstances of the show push Jen outside (and a bit away) from her former way of life. The show spills the tea on many secrets characters have been hiding: Those that Jen has been hiding from her sons, Ted had hidden from her and lastly, those of her new bestie, Judy’s. Despite a dark secret that Judy and her ex-fiance, Steve (James Marsden) are harboring, the show does a swell job of creating some early close call situations wherein Judy is seen struggling to maintain the new friendship, losing herself in her own grief and her reactions to the scenarios set up with Judy having full on inserted herself into the family’s life.
Easily the best part and the main draw of the show is seeing the two actresses play off each other in this understandably dark period in both of their characters’ lives. Though there are many comedic moments throughout the show, Dead To Me definitely leans more towards the drama side by its conclusion. Overall, the twists move the show forward and the cliffhanger ending make this one worthy of the binge. Season 2, where you at?
By: Prutha S. Patel (@pspatel)
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