Dead to Me has returned for a second go-round with another binge-worthy season.
Staring: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Sam McCarthy, and Luke Roessler
Creator: Liz Feldman
Netflix hasn’t exactly been setting the world of entertainment on fire with its latest feature length projects, but the streaming service has certainly been far more impressive with its series productions. Several of the streamer’s episodic offerings, ranging from dramatic to comedic, have kept us company during the socially isolating lockdown days.
Among the latest Netflix releases that is sure to provide a (momentary) reprieve from reality is Dead to Me, which has returned for a second go-round with another binge-worthy season.
The strange friendship of prickly real estate agent Jen (Christina Applegate) and kind but troubled artist Judy (Linda Cardellini) continues to be at the centre of this dramedy, with the women now trying to deal with the repercussions of the events of season one.
Dark incidents continue to bind them, while the weight of their secrets takes a toll on their relationships and lives. The show reveals what led to the murder that is now casting a shadow on Jen and Judy’s lives. The duo spend much of the season attempting to cover up their crimes but often end up complicating things further with their emotionally-driven decisions. The arrival of a relative of the deceased also proves to be problematic. Plus, the women find themselves drawn towards new love interests, although both are attracted to people they’d be wise not to pursue.
The absurdity of the situations is often played up for comedic purposes, but it’s the convenient coincidences that soon start to get frustrating and leave you wishing the writers had come up with smarter twists.
The outcome of Jen and Judy’s sloppy crimes and even sloppier cover-ups gets more and more unrealistic with each unconvincing turn. And given the way the events are framed, you get to a point where it becomes hard to sympathize with the characters.
None of that, however, keeps the series from being a whole lot of fun, thanks in large part to the acting talents of the wonderful Applegate and Cardellini who manage to keep you invested in their characters’ fate. It’s a joy to watch the two actresses work off each other, and it also helps that the supporting players are very well cast. James Marsden, who continues to play a major role in the drama, is terrific. Diana-Maria Riva (as a police detective who is suspicious of the protagonists) also stands out even if her character’s ultimate actions don’t come off as just or believable.
The second season of Dead to Me may not be perfect, but it’s still very entertaining. This may not be particularly sharp or polished storytelling, but it does have its charm, especially because of its fantastic leading ladies. And while a third season does not seem essential at this point (even though the show leaves the door open for a future outing with a few unresolved threads), one can’t help but hope the series returns, if only so we can continue to see Applegate and Cardellini in action, navigating whatever convoluted scenarios the writers throw at them next.
Rating system: ★Not on your life ★ ½ If you really must waste your time ★★ Hardly worth the bother ★★ ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
★★★ Good enough for a look see ★★★ ½ Recommended viewing ★★★★ Don’t miss it ★★★★ ½ Almost perfect ★★★★★ Perfection