Netflix’s new series Dead to Me offers a complex, thought-provoking female friendship between Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini). The two meet at a grief support group after Jen has just lost her husband in a hit-and-run and Judy has lost her fiancé. The two women handle grief very differently, with one radiating cynicism and the other being over-the-top optimistic to hide her pain.
Right off the bat, they have a relationship ripe with conflict, and that conflict deepens along with their friendship. For example, in the pilot, Jen learns that Judy has been going to the support despite the fact her fiancé is alive, just not together with her. Once Judy explains why she did that and what her real loss is, she and Jen have a stronger bond, and Judy moves into her guest house. Jen gradually warms up to Judy, and Judy reveals that she isn’t all sunshine all the time.
What’s refreshing about Dead to Me is that the drama isn’t for drama’s sake, like shows increasingly seem to be nowadays. The drama is character-driven and necessary to the story, and there isn’t a dull moment in the entire series. It’s very bingeable, with jaw-dropping cliffhangers that lead you from one episode to the next, and suspense that builds as Jen gets closer and closer to finding her husband’s killer. It’s also rare that a television show’s main relationship is between two women, neither of whom are stereotypes. They are allowed to show real emotions and different sides to their characters, which lets the actresses showcase the wide range of their acting capabilities, and the show is better off for it.
Dead to Me is also visually stunning. Many scenes are shot beachside in L.A., which makes for an excellent contrast between the dark, grim flashbacks of Jen’s husband’s death and the grief-stricken moments that both women experience with their losses. From its story to its acting and cinematography, Dead to Me is without a doubt one of the best shows to be watching on Netflix right now.