Friday, June 9, 2023

Not Dead Yet: A Review of the Disney Show

One of the writers that I am a fan of is Alexandra Potter, who wrote some of my favorites like Be Careful What You Wish For, Calling Romeo, Don’t You Forget About Me and You’re the One That I Don’t Want. I was also a fan of the series Jane the Virgin which starred Gina Rodriguez. Given those facts, I was so excited to find out that Gina was doing a show based off of one of Alexandra’s books, Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up. This show is called Not Dead Yet, which is on Disney+.

For transparency’s sake, let me just admit that I have not read the book this series is based on.  I have the book but for some reason, I have not gotten around to reading it yet. From what I can tell though, the series doesn’t follow the book that much at all except for some plot points here and there. Given what I know of the book and what I’ve seen of the show, the only similarity is that Nell, the lead character, has the same start in the story: she was in a failed relationship, and she moves away to start over, landing a job writing obituaries. She meets an older woman named Crickett, who she befriends and who helps her to start over with her life. Aside from that, I think the series went on a whole different trajectory in its attempt to be a sitcom. 

In the series, Nell, for reasons that have not been explained, can see the spirits of the dead people (and in one episode, animal) who she has to write obituaries for. In a way these spirits not only help her to write good obituaries, but they also help her to learn and grow as a person as she starts over her life. The storyline for every episode is fairly simple and given that the episodes only last around 20 minutes or so, there’s really not much to expect in terms of it for the show. Most episodes can be summed up like this: Nell gets an assignment, and the ghost comes and annoys her as she goes through her everyday life. She finishes the obituary, and the ghosts leave. All this happening at the same time as some side-plot that involves her and the people she works or lives with. There are problems solved, lessons learned, and tiny victories enjoyed. The end. 

Not Dead Yet is not on my list of favorite shows, but I did watch the entire first season. One, because the episodes were short. Two, because I was wondering where all this would go. And three: Scott Michael Foster, who I loved on Chasing Life, was a guest near the end of the season (if there is ever a season 2, please get him to come back!). I thought that something was missing from the show, and everything felt forced to me. The actors were obviously trying to be funny or just trying too hard in general, and the storylines felt empty or too shallow. I think that the show has its moments, and I am happy when I see that, but it doesn’t happen that often. The show has a good set of supporting actors but sometimes I feel like they are not clicking for some reason. 

I feel that this show is trying to figure out what it wants to be because it is definitely not the book of Alexandra Potter anymore by the end of the season. I hope that the producers and the writers can come together and try to piece together the elements that worked during this first season to come up with a stronger season 2 (if it happens). With the writer’s strike going on in the US though, I’m not sure if that is possible. 

Would I watch a second season? Probably. But I’ll be hoping for an improved season (and more Scott Michael Foster please!). If it doesn’t happen, no more season 3 for me (if it even reaches a third season, that is).


No comments

Blog Layout Designed by pipdig