Once upon a time, there was a network making television that defied all previous expectations of what “network television” could be: While The CW still exists today, it was at its peak during the years Arrow and its related spinoffs were delivering bonkers takes on DC Comics characters, alongside equally bonkers sci-fi, crime, and romance dramas. And it was really special to see how an entire network could feel infused with that certain sort of “anything goes” young-skewing adventure, one that still inspires a lot of nostalgia amongst TV fans.

The CW, at its peak, wasn’t perfect (for one thing, at least one high-level producer was fired over accusations of toxic behavior). Yet its joyful spirit, LGBTQ+-friendly storytelling, and genuine chutzpah made it a joy to follow from 2012-2020 — and in many ways, Dead Boy Detectives recaptures that spirit, but new and improved for 2024.

The new Netflix series stars George Rexstrew and Jayden Revri as titular dead boys Edwin and Charles, who died as teenagers in the 1910s and 1980s (respectively) but aren’t interested in moving onto whatever’s next. Instead, they’re happy to stay on Earth solving crimes of a supernatural nature, though their lives (so to speak) get significantly more complicated when they help save a young psychic named Crystal (Kassius Nelson) from a demonic ex.


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Having been robbed of her memories, Crystal needs their help — and in trade, she’s able to help them solve some tricky cases using her abilities. Which is great news, because even though a series of magical mishaps have gotten the Detectives quasi-stuck in a definitely-not-Vancouver small Northwest town, there are still plenty of otherworldly secrets to uncover there.

Based on characters created by writer Neil Gaiman and artists Matt Wagner and Malcolm Jones III, Dead Boy Detectives was originally developed by executive producers Steve Yockey and Beth Schwartz as a Doom Patrol spinoff, before moving to Netflix and becoming an official spinoff of The Sandman (complete with some cameos from that show’s vast cast).

Yet, like most great spinoffs, the series succeeds because it’s very much its own thing, while featuring just enough compelling darkness and quirky moments of magic to confirm its connection to Gaiman’s specific brand of storytelling. And even though it’s not being released weekly, it’s a proper monster-of-the-week procedural, with each episode hinging on a new fresh case, often tied directly to our core trio or their new friends.

Dead Boy Detectives (Netflix)


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