Not Dead Yet
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Not Dead Yet
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Not Dead Yet is a comedy series about a woman who returns to her hometown to take a low-level newspaper job and begins seeing ghosts, all of whom have something to tell her. Iffy content is mainly contained in jokes, which can circle around topics like sex and drinking: a woman gets condoms for her birthday, a character believes she's hallucinating after drinking heavily and eating a cannabis gummy. Other jokes often involve one character mocking another, but friends and coworkers support each other emotionally as well. Many characters are people of color, and a main character is a man on the autism spectrum, who emerges as confident and caring. Language includes "bitch," "ass," and "damn," as well as slang like "boobs."
Fabulous show for tweens and up
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What's the Story?
NOT DEAD YET stars Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) as Nell, who abandoned her flourishing journalism career at a daily newspaper to follow her boyfriend to London. One crushing breakup later and she's back in her old California town at the newspaper she left in the only position available: an entry-level obituary writer. Her old colleagues and friends Sam (Hannah Simone) and Dennis (Josh Banday), are now on the managerial level, and her old nemesis, snooty Lexi (Lauren Ash) is now running the newspaper her wealthy family owns. And if that's not bad enough, dead people start showing up to discuss their own obituaries.
Is It Any Good?
This sitcom whiffs on the "com" part (the jokes are enough for smiles, not chuckles), but the great cast and interesting, if well-worn, premise is worth a look. Gina Rodriguez is charm itself, fans will remember from Jane the Virgin, and though the writing isn't as arch and sly in Not Dead Yet, she's appealing enough that we actually care about Nell and whether she'll get her groove back, professionally and personally. It's also easy to like her coworkers, particularly Lauren Ash's Lexi, who gets most of the best lines and delivers them airily.
But about that premise. This is certainly not the first TV series to have a "supernatural mystery of the week" setup, and though the parade of ghost guest stars who drop by to teach Nell something about life is choice (Martin Mull, Brittany Snow, Mo Collins, treats abound!), it's also a super cheesy device. However, Not Dead Yet makes a wise choice and leans into sentiment as well as comedy, imbuing the hijinks with the kind of humanity that can, sometimes, make viewers warm up to a cast and enjoy watching what happens to them. Whether viewers will have that kind of patience in the streaming era is anyone's guess, but Not Dead Yet is definitely better than it appears from afar.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about ghosts. Do you think they're real? Is your idea of ghosts anything like the way they're represented in this series?
Sitcoms often feature main characters who are, as we are told, a mess in some way. Why? What are the dramatic or comedic possibilities of this setup? Would a character who's mature and sensible be funny?
Media jobs are common in TV series. Why? In an era when many professionals work remotely from home, what's the appeal of an old-fashioned workplace with every employee gathered together? Why would this be a good or bad setup for a comedy?
- Premiere date: February 8, 2023
- Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Lauren Ash, Hannah Simone
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 15, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Quirky zombie-detective show has violence, heart (and guts).
Jane the Virgin
Quirky telenovela-style dramedy gets steamy.
Haunted comedy has some laughs, some stereotypes.
For kids who love sitcoms
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