Sometimes it’s hard not to take your work home with you. It’s even harder when your work literally follows you home, which is the case with Nell Serrano, an obituary writer haunted by the spirit of each of her subjects. You’ll meet her (and her many, many ghosts) in ABC’s new half-hour comedy, Not Dead Yet, premiering Wednesday, February 8th.
Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin, Diary of a Future President) stars as Nell Serrano in this series adaptation of Alexandra Potter’s novel Confessions of a 40-something F**k Up. Down on her luck and recently single, Nell finds it tough to get back into her career, accepting the only job she can get – an obituary writer at her local paper. But on her first assignment, she discovers that each obit comes with a literal nightmare – a ghost attached to hr to ensure that she gives their stories justice.
Not Dead Yet boasts a revolving door of guest stars, or “ghost stars,” starting with Martin Mull (Clue, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) in the pilot and Mo Collins (MADtv, Fear the Walking Dead) in the second, which comprise the hour-long double-episode premiere. Each ghost’s story also comes with a morality lesson for Nell to learn, wrapping each hilarious episode in a heartwarming message. Additional “ghost stars” will include Brittany Snow (The Pacifier, X), Ed Begley Jr. (Arrested Development, Amsterdam), Deborah S. Craig (Meet Cute), Telma Hopkins (Family Matters), Don Lake (Space Force, Zootopia), Rhea Perlman (Cheers, Matilda), Paula Pell (Girls5eva, Saturday Night Live), Tony Plana (Ugly Betty, Mayans M.C.), and Julia Sweeney (Monsters University, Saturday Night Live).
Despite having a gimmick, Not Dead Yet doesn’t rely solely on the strength of each guest star. Gina Rodriguez is as delightful as ever as Nell, but she is also surrounded by a brilliant ensemble cast, who become the show’s secret sauce. Hannah Simone (New Girl; Mira, Royal Detective) plays her best friend Sam, an anchor between Nell’s old past and new present. Josh Banday (Upload, Pam & Tommy) is Dennis, Nell’s supervisor-turned-GBF, and Lauren Ash (Dina from Superstore) is the editor of the newspaper, who is now close friends with Sam and doesn’t exactly click with Nell. Rounding out the ensemble is Rick Glassman (Undateable) as Nell’s roommate Edward, and Angela Gibbs (Impeachment: American Crime Story, Hacks) as Cricket, the widow of Martin Mull’s character who ends up becoming Nell’s confidant outside of work.
Created by David Windsor and Casey Johnson (This Is Us, The Real O’Neals), Not Dead Yet is laugh-out-loud funny while delivering poignant messages about life and death. Fans of Bryan Fuller’s shows, particularly Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, will no doubt feel a sense of familiarity with the show’s format, but Not Dead Yet succeeds at feeling fresh and original. It’s one of the best new primetime sitcoms in a long time.
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