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Not Dead Yet Review 2023 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Nell Serrano (Gina Rodriguez) had a promising career as an investigative journalist, but gave it all up five years ago to move to London to pursue a relationship. Now she’s back in Pasadena, toting the wedding dress that she never got to wear due to the breakup of that relationship, and rooming with a passive-aggressive dude named Edward (Rick Glassman).
She manages to get a job at her old newspaper, thanks to her bestie Sam (Hannah Simone), who now edits the Style section. She finds out from her new metro desk boss/old work buddy Dennis (Josh Banday) that her new job will be writing obituaries. “Everyone has a story; it’s your job to find it,” he tells her. Another change? The owner’s daughter Lexi (Lauren Ash) is now running the paper; Nell and Sam used to call her “Scotch tape” because she was so stuck up.
Of course, Nell hates what she has to do at this new job, and longs to get back to being the investigative journalist she was when she left for London. Her first assignment is to memorialize Monty Waxberg (Martin Mull), who was known for an earworm of a bubble gum jingle.
As she goes out for drinks with her new/old co-workers, she strikes up a conversation with an older man at the bar, but shrugs off the weird talk as she’s horrified to see that Sam and Lexi have become real friends. But, then she’s horrified when the old man, who turns out to be Monty, is in her living room. Turns out, Nell is able to see and talk to the ghosts of the people she’s writing her obits about.
He has no idea why he’s following this mess of a person around, and wishes he was anywhere but hanging around Nell, but he does try to teach her to enjoy the moment and open herself up. He brings her to a restaurant where his widow Cricket (Angela Gibbs) is eating alone, and wants Nell to tell her — for him — how beautiful she looks. It sparks a new friendship.
As we said at the top of this post, the pilot for Not Dead Yet was thuddingly unfunny, and the second episode wasn’t much better. Why were we let down so badly? Well, when you have Gina Rodriguez as your lead, someone who showed tremendous charm and physical comedic ability for years on Jane The Virgin, you give her a role that takes advantage of that charm and ability. And with Nell, it feels like Rodriguez is trying to inject all of that into a character that just can’t handle it, at least not through the first couple of episodes.
She’s absolutely game and commits to Nell’s sad-sackery (though the physical stuff is reduced in ep 2, where Rodriguez’s pregnancy is barely obscured), but the character itself isn’t at all funny, which is a problem when the show is centered around how Nell is trying to enjoy the moment and get her mojo back.
But the curse of dynamic comedic actors playing one-dimensional parts also extends to Simone, Ash and Banday. By the second episode, it seems that showrunners David Windsor (This Is Us) and Casey Johnson are endeavoring to bring some dimension to the supporting characters, like having Edward reveal to Nell that his passive-aggressiveness is due to being autistic and needing things to be done in a structure he feels comfortable with. We see the usually-snooty and clueless Lexi struggling to keep the newspaper from going bankrupt.
How long it will take for these characters to jell to the point where the show will have that family feel, and the genuine humor that comes with it, is anyone’s guess. And the ghost-of-the-week format has its ups and downs; in the second episode, Mo Collins plays a dead motivational speaker that leads Nell to self-publish an investigative piece about a case Edward is working on, an act that would have likely gotten her fired and kicked out of her apartment in real life, but she somehow manages to get past with job and housing intact. It’s an “only on TV” moment that undercuts the show’s desire to connect with its viewers.