It was impossible not to watch Dead to Me on Netflix. Once I saw that it starred Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, and it allowed them to use their sharp wit in full force. It was a must watch. Though what the show was billed as, a dark sitcom, and what it is, noir thriller drama sitcom(?), are two different things. The leads carry this show, and the strength of their performances cover over any flaws Dead to Me may have.
Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) meet at a local church grief counseling group. Jen lost her husband in a hit and run accident, and is full of rage, and Judy is doing her best to stay chipper and positive despite losing her fiancé to a heart attack. If this was a normal show it would be about these two learning to lean on one another to overcome their sadness. This is not a normal show.
I don’t think Dead to Me’s writing is always consistent. It can feel choppy at times, but as a vehicle for Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, it is wonderful, and it was smart of the producers to stick to the thirty-minute sitcom format even though a show like this would generally feel more at home as a one-hour drama. That way it doesn’t outlast its welcome. It is a tight five hours of programming.
With the about eight billion dollars’ worth of original programming hitting Netflix at any given moment it is hard for a show to stand out, but having Applegate give a tongue-lashing to a woman dropping off a Mexican lasagna was a great way to do it. Add in a James Marsden, Ed Asner and of course Linda Cardellini, and it is hard for a show not to gain attention. It is worth your five hours, and I am sure the next five hours will be as well (it just got renewed). There is a lot of life left in Dead to Me.