Dead to Me.

Dead to Me 2

By Joanna Langfield

This thinly layered plot twister is kept very much alive by its snappy pacing and two terrific leading actresses.

Created by 2 Broke Girls’s Liz Feldman, the bingeable 10 part series begins as two women meet, quasi-cute, at a support group for those who have lost a loved one. Linda Cardellini’s Judy makes it a point to reach out to the recently widowed Jen, who proves herself a hard nut to crack. But sooner than Jen might expect, she finds herself drawn to Judy’s sweet warmth, even if the two women are, at first glance, very, very different.

Even if the story feels a tad convoluted and somewhat rushed, ending every episode with a knee slapping reveal keeps us hooked. I, in fact, didn’t want to turn the thing off, even though the overall run time makes Avengers: Endgame look like a test for sissies. (Yes, I said sissies. And Yes, I know: those breaks between episodes offer opportunities for all sorts of relief.) But I was hooked, getting a kick out of each twist and turn, even if they become all the more improbable as we go along. And, I enjoyed the idea of these two, seemingly polar opposite, women forging a fierce and necessary friendship. James Marsden is fun as the slick and type-drawn bad boyfriend, Ed Asner sweet as can be in a few key scenes, too. Cardelinni gets better and better with each episode, bringing even more than is on the page to her somewhat silly mystery woman.

But what really kept me streaming is Christina Applegate, who is downright great in the more-interesting-than-she-looks Jen. Sleek, tough, and in mourning, we may assume we “get” Jen. The plotting helps, but it’s the actress who really makes Jen someone we can’t stop watching.