The second season of “Dead Like Me” doubles down on the aspects of the first season I disliked.
[This review doesn’t discuss any large plot specifics of the season.]
There are more soap opera style segments with George’s family untethered to any of the main concepts or characters of the show, more lore retcons eroding whatever was left of Fuller’s vision, more characters, less creativity…the only particularly well-handled new element would be the subtle way Rube’s backstory is handled.
Speaking of Rube, Mandy Patinkin is a great actor, but he gets very little to do on this show. The rest of the cast is very one-note. The show being so procedural in nature doesn’t lend itself to character development or three-dimensional characters in general I suppose, but I’ve seen plenty of fairly procedural shows handle it better.
I’m confused by the family subplot on the show. Keeping those actors for George’s family around made sense early in the first season, for her character development, but as George moved on, why did the show keep her family around? Their subplots are long, meandering, and repetitive, and in the second season they devolve into very typical soap opera plots – divorce, children acting out, nothing especially well-executed or creative.
I’m thankful the season wasn’t the ungodly length of some American shows, twenty-two episodes or so, but still, the fifteen episodes meander plenty and for the most part the season feels like its running on fumes. Characters spin their wheels. Arcs never really come together. The structure of each episode pretty much just repeats, and repeats, and repeats. How meaningful can George’s pseudo-philosophical voiceovers at the end of an episode be when there’s so damn many of them, and they’re all so similar?
The second season of the show is a lesser effort than the first season, and doesn’t have the novelty of drawing connections to Fuller’s later works since Fuller wasn’t involved at all with it. I give it half a peanut, and a stray cat.