Matt’s Rating:

So a lot for the long-rumored demise of the published community comedy. ABC’s good Abbott Elementary retains reaping awards, CBS’s pleasant Ghosts is a bona fide hit, and even NBC‘s mediocre though lovingly retro Night Court reboot got off to a strong start (and was quickly renewed).

Taking a cue from Ghosts, ABC’s sillier but spirited sitcom Not Dead Yet appears to be like to the afterlife to spice up the vanity of Nell Serrano (Jane the Virgin’s effervescent Gina Rodriguez), a 37-year-old sizzling mess who returns to journalism after a five-year love affair went bust. Heartbroken and humbled, Nell accepts a job at her outdated newspaper and is placed on the obituary beat, which seems to be something however a useless finish when her topics start showing to her. (My response: Why couldn’t this have occurred to me after I wrote about Angela Lansbury’s passing?)

Gina Rodriguez and Martin Mull in 'Not Dead Yet'

(Credit: ABC/Temma Hankin)

These colourful ghosts are the lifetime of the social gathering, offering gentle life classes of self-acceptance from past. They enliven a madcap farce that doubles as a office comedy set in, of all issues, a bustling native newsroom. (I received a kick when a snotty social-influencer ghost performed by Brittany Snow quipped, “Is this like a factory of some kind?”) Extra factors for the weird co-worker with a salad fetish.

Those with lengthy recollections will acknowledge that conversing with useless folks nobody else can see has been a TV trope reaching again to the ’50s (Topper). But when these saying boo are large skills like Martin Mull (within the pilot, a bohemian jingle author) and Mo Collins (within the evening’s second episode, an overbearing inspirational speaker), the gimmick can nonetheless really feel contemporary.

It helps that Nell’s life is populated by flesh-and-blood scene-stealers, together with New Girl’s Hannah Simone as her fun-loving and fewer neurotic bestie, Superstore’s Lauren Ash (nearly unrecognizable as her rich and mercurial boss), Angela Gibbs as an older-and-wiser acquaintance who understands loss, and Rick Glassman (from Prime Video’s too-short-lived As We See It) as her neurodiverse roomie, who in contrast to the viewer is resolutely unamused by Nell’s zany life.

An impressed and finally touching rom-com twist to the system within the fourth and fifth episodes (airing February 22 and March 1) satisfied me that Not Dead Yet deserves a protracted life.

Not Dead Yet, Series Premiere, Wednesday, February 8, 8:30/7:30c; time interval premiere 9:30/8:30c, ABC

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