Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

A rom-com novel adaptation that doesn’t know what to do with its ghostly twist


TV Show

United States of America
Angela Elayne Gibbs, Gina Rodriguez, Hannah Simone
22 min


Nell should write about me, I'm bored to death.

What it's about

After the end of her relationship, Nell Serrano (Gina Rodriguez) relocates back to the US and tries to revive her career through her old role as a newspaper reporter. Stuck in the obituary section, Serrano hopes for a better role as she’s haunted by the ghost of her obit’s subject.

The take

While based on a rom-com novel, Not Dead Yet adapts it with a supernatural twist… And proceeds to forget about it. The book that inspired the series is structured like personal journal entries, with the classic gratitude list, from a forty-year-old writer wanting to restart her life. Unfortunately, the US series removes the confessional vibe, by shoehorning ghosts into the plot. Instead of developing an appreciation for life through interviewing dead people’s loved ones, the ghosts lecture it for her, individually doing so until they disappear when their obit gets published. As a result, lessons aren’t internally realized and the relationships she forms feel hollow. Any dynamic she forms with a fleeting ghost or their loved ones could easily be brushed away in the succeeding episode. In adding the twist, Not Dead Yet fails to juggle its additional ghostly plot line, while also missing the empathy wanted by millennials missing generational markers.

What stands out

When a show’s premise revolves around ghosts and death notices, the expectation would be that the series would have some moments to deal with life, death, or existential crises. This new twist for the adaptation could have added an interesting flair through dark, sardonic humor. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t want to do this. More screen time is dedicated to regular workplace banter, over the show’s supernatural elements. The time when the first ghost appears, Serrano quickly recalls previous ghost-related films, and denies the ghost’s existence, but then drops it to deal with some work issue. In fact, the show seems to be so uninterested in the supernatural, that the ghosts are boring here. While the show itself isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever watched, it’s a shame that the show loses sight of what makes its twist unique in favor of standard sitcom quips.


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