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‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Review: A Profound And Dynamic Drama

The result of a tumultuous development, the latest DC series is now here. Read below for our review of Dead Boy Detectives.

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Review: A Profound And Dynamic Drama
Dead Boy Detectives / Image Courtesy of Netflix

Just over two years after the series was first announced as a spin-off to Doom Patrol, the Neil Gaiman series is now streaming on Netflix. It stars George Rexstrew as Edwin Paine and Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland, the eponymous Dead Boy Detectives as they solve ghostly mysteries and aid the clairvoyant Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson) who has troubles of her own.

How Does It Tie Into The Sandman?

'The Sandman' Netflix series
The Sandman / Image Courtesy of Netflix

Through these adventures (or rather misadventures) the show displays a delightful level of worldbuilding and lore-building without ever overexposing the viewer with new information. We get to see more of the universe from The Sandman, with the inclusion of Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s Death, who reprises her role from the aforementioned series. A welcome inclusion for sure, but a quick one that doesn’t add much to the series as a whole.

Due to the nature of this series, we do get a further look at Hell which Gwendoline Christie presides over in The Sandman, but it’s hard to believe a Hell as structured as the one Dead Boy Detectives can be the one seen in The Sandman, but perhaps this will be explained with the release of The Sandman Season 2.

The Dynamic Duo

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Review: A Profound And Dynamic Drama
Dead Boy Detectives / Image Courtesy of Netflix

What is most commendable about this series, however, is the dynamic between the characters which is crafted with a heavy focus on character-building, and not just for the main three leads. I especially loved Yuyu Kitamura’s Niko who has a deep connection to many of these characters despite being the fourth lead of the series.

Kitamura is just adorable in the role of Niko and the way her character arc ends is just amazingly poetic. Something that can also be said for the leads! Both Revri and Rexstrew give great performances filled with humour and their own dynamic is contagious as they bounce off each other with ease. 

Lukas Gage is quite profound with his performance and adds a fun sense of quirkiness to the series as well as Kassius Nelson’s Crystal who adds the human element to the series and grounds it in reality.

Technically Great

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Review: A Profound And Dynamic Drama
Dead Boy Detectives / Image Courtesy of Netflix

The structure of the series takes a monster-of-the-week approach with an overarching storyline stemming from the initial case as well as Crystal’s predicament. This works for a lot of  the episodes without ever becoming stale and probably could work as a weekly (or daily) episode watch. 

From a technical standpoint, the series works quite well. Offering a display of great visual effects, an interesting score and some banging music direction. The entire series truly works well outside of one factor — the antagonist.

Due to the show’s structural approach, there are a few antagonists who are defeated within each episode’s runtime but the overarching villain of the series truly lacks any substance. The antagonist plays into many stereotypes and is far from interesting given the motives presented. It’s the one thing that stops the series from becoming great and that is a true shame. 

Dead Boy Detectives is a great time, allowing viewers to develop connections with some very unconventional characters throughout eight episodes but it ultimately struggles creating the rift between the antagonist and its heroes.

Dead Boy Detectives stars George Rexstrew as Edwin Paine, Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland, Kassius Nelson as Crystal Palace, Briana Cuoco as Jenny the Butcher and Yuyu Kitamura as Niko. 

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Review: A Profound And Dynamic Drama
Dead Boy Detectives / Image Courtesy of Netflix

The series was developed by Steve Yockey and was based on the DC comics series written by Neil Gaiman. It is now streaming on Netflix, where the next instalment of this universe, The Sandman Season 2, will be streaming later this year.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out some of our other ones here at Feature First.

Zanda is the Editor-in-Chief of Feature First and oversees the publishing of the outlet and content of the social media pages. He is based in Queensland, Australia and may or may not have a life like cardboard cut-out of Ryan Gosling in his room. Zanda has been actively turning Feature First into a reliable and high quality entertainment outlet since 2023.