Dead To Me initially seems like a dark, sharp-witted comedy about grief and friendship — and it is. But the end of the first episode also reveals there’s a lot more to the story. Throughout its 10-episode first season, debuting on Netflix Friday, the series whips through twists and turns at a lightning-fast pace. It certainly makes for a thrilling, suspenseful watch, and while burning through that much plot could make it difficult for Dead To Me to return for Season 2, that doesn’t rule out the possibility.
The show stars Jen (Christina Applegate) as a recently widowed mom. She befriends Judy (Linda Cardellini) at a grief support group, and quickly invites her to move in with her. From there, the two form a tight-knit friendship, but Judy is keeping some secrets that could rip them apart. In the trailer, James Marsden’s character warns that "wherever Judy goes, chaos tends to follow," and she’s shown slapping herself in the mirror and looking pretty frantic. Then, the police show up at Jen’s house looking for Judy. As Judy tells Jen herself, "there’s a lot" she doesn’t know about her. Clearly, it’s not always the smartest idea to invite a stranger to live in your house.
We do find out what Judy is hiding — and pretty early on, at that — and the rest of the season is packed with big reveals. There are plenty of long-running shows similarly built on huge twists — Lost, Westworld, Game of Thrones — so if Dead to Me is smart about it, there’s definitely room for a second season. (It also ends on a cliffhanger that sets things up pretty nicely, so it seems clear the writers are angling for one).
However, it’s also possible that, after a certain point, the show won’t need secrets to keep viewers invested, and can instead focus on character development — something its first season has already laid the groundwork for. A good example of this is the Showtime series Homeland, which centered its first season around the fact that Nicholas Brody was secretly working for a terrorist organization. That secret was revealed to the other main characters early in Season 2, but the show continued to find new ways to explore its central characters for six more seasons after that. Similarly, Big Little Lies brought its narrative to a conclusion at the end of its first season, but its popularity led to a second season on HBO.
Given its themes of grief, friendship, and motherhood, there are plenty of directions for Dead To Me to go should it return with more episodes. However, as a freshman show, it will be some time before Netflix decides whether or not it wants to green-light the series for more. The streaming service rarely cancels an original show after one season, and there’s enough potential that Dead To Me should easily land a renewal. Until any official news, though, fans will just have to revel in the 10 episodes available and get to theorizing about how things could play out next.
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