'Dead To Me' landed on Netflix last year and became, in the space of about a week, one of the streaming service's most talked-about comedies.
It's exactly the kind of show that makes streaming so much more than TV shows. Sure, there may be cliffhangers and twists, but you're not met with the frustration of waiting a week to see what happens next - the next episode is right there, ready to binge.
It's exactly the kind of format that Netflix does and does well, yet it can't be denied that more than a few shows have suffered from a certain amount of wheel-spinning in their episodes. For example, the Marvel shows like 'The Punisher' and 'Luke Cage' were notorious for having at least three episodes a season that didn't need to be there.
'Dead To Me', however, rolls into its second season with the same tightness of plot and story that the first season had. Christina Applegate's character, the eternally put-upon Jen, now has to reckon with the fact that she's murdered Judy's ex-fiancé Steve, played by Linda Cardellini and James Marsden respectively. Without going into too much detail, James Marsden continues to have a role to play in this season that borders on soap opera levels of twistiness.
That's really where 'Dead To Me' gathers up so much of its strength. It's not that it's making fun of melodramatic twists, or even making the joke before the audience can, they just go with it and you're either along with for the ride or you're not. It's not that it asks you so to suspend belief, rather to simply accept it for what it is - a light-hearted, but emotionally resonant comedy with twists aplenty.
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate are electric as Jen and Judy, and the new season explores not just their own dynamic, but how each of them are trying their best to cope with everything - often with pretty unhealthy results. In fact, this season is less about one woman lying or hiding the truth from one another, and more that the two of them now have to work together to survive.
That being said, there are moments where the show becomes almost too chaotic to get a handle on, and maybe that's intentional. Last season's episodes were punctuated by group therapy sessions, which really helped to ground the series in an emotional reality and give both leads a chance to stretch out somewhat. This time around, 'Dead To Me' drops this for a chance to squeeze in another twist or reveal.
It works, for the most part, and Cardellini and Applegate have enough talent to keep you invested in their characters without relying on a big dramatic monologue.
Like the first season, 'Dead To Me' cannot be described as polished, but it is a huge amount of fun and has just the right amount of bawdy humour and real emotional depth to make both of them all the more potent.