Netflix’s latest original series “Dead to Me” starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, whose first season was released on May 3, is off to a hot start.
Bringing in great reviews over the course of the last few weeks, I decided to give the series a shot.
After her husband was killed in a hit-and-run accident, Jen Harding (Applegate) begins her new life as widow with two adolescent sons. Seeking closure and clarity, Harding soon finds herself at a support group for individuals mourning the loss of close ones.
It is there she meets Judy Hale (Cardellini), another new group member, who shares that she has just lost her fiancé to a heart attack.
The two share a moment of sarcastic wit and immediately become friends. Spending hours on the phone together and sharing bottles of wine, the two in mourning turn to each other for comfort.
But when Harding goes to Hale’s supposed home unannounced, it is revealed that her believed dead fiancé is actually alive and well and that Hale had been broken up with by him rather than him actually dying.
In a fit of rage, Harding confronts Hale at the next group meeting and reveals to the entire group that Hale had been lying the entire time. Through tears, Hale divulges that the reason why he left her was that they could not conceive a child.
Now understanding her loss, Harding forgives Hale and the two recover. Realizing that Hale does not have a place to live anymore, Harding invites Hale to stay in her guest house and live with her and her two sons.
Hale agrees and goes to collect her belongings from a nearby storage unit. The pilot episode ends with a shot of a damaged Ford sitting inside her unit, while Hale flashes back to the night that she ran over Harding’s former husband.
I realize that there was a lot that transpired over the course of one episode, and that was one of the reasons why I felt that this new Netflix series wasn’t the best.
The series just felt rushed. Each episode is only a half-hour long and the entire show just felt as if it were one event after another as if you were reading a bulleted list.
- Husband dies
- Goes to support group
- Makes friend
- Friend lies/ Break up
- Make up/ Move in
- Friend revealed as killer
It was just plot point after plot point and it felt as if you were drowning in a storyline that doesn’t give you time to come up for air and process what you just watched. If there had been a bit more of comic relief added in some scenes, it would help carry the story so much more rather than having it wash over you.
Not to mention the predictability of the series. I paused the first episode after the initial 10 minutes and texted my brother, who has been telling me to watch the series for the past two weeks, to tell him that I had already realized that Cardellini’s character had killed Applegate’s husband.
The entire premise of the series was so predictable that I realized the twist within the first ten minutes of its pilot episode. I don’t see how any successful series can carry on with a high viewership if its audience will be able to predict what’s going to happen from the get-go?
Though, due to my own personal watching ethics, I will always give any series the benefit of the doubt and watch the first four episodes. If a series cannot absolutely capture me by the end of its fourth episode, then it is just not for me (i.e. The Walking Dead).
But with a second episode that felt just like the first, I guess that I am going to need to push myself to watch the series’ third and fourth.
Ken Downey Jr. is the Features Editor for Time OFF and Packet Publications. This is a part of his series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at email@example.com.