Ghosts are basically dead on their arrival on a TV show

Ghosts are basically dead on their arrival on a TV show ...

The bar is pretty much set whenever a TV show opens with the main character providing background information.

'Not Dead Yet,' by ABC's David Windsor and Casey Johnson, opens with Nell (Gina Rodriguez) narrating the entire series' logline and synopsis.

Nell Serrano, a 40-something woman, tossed away a promising career to marry a man in London. She didn't realize how shallow the relationship was until she discovered love. She offers a slew of other flailing adult signifiers right down to the actual line "Why did I end up here?"

Nell's background is very brief, yet it gives the show "Not Dead Yet" an edge, and then squashes it. She quickly starts to notice the very dead people she's writing about, and they're all eager to help her get her life back together.

Nell is vulnerable and witty, her acting skills almost at odds with her character's dismal persona. It's far from the serendipitous showcase that was "Jane the Virgin," but she's a gifted performer who makes the best of less-than-great material. Nell isn't particularly relatable, funny, or engaging, yet she does not push the viewer away.

"Not Dead Yet," says the author.

ABC is a news broadcaster based in the United States.

"Not Dead Yet" has a classic network procedural feel, but it fails to breathe any new life into the series. Five episodes played for reviewers reveal some superficial details about Nell's previous relationships, and mere remarks about her best friends Sam (Josh Banday) and Lexi (Lauren Ash), all of whom are terrific, but they are also minor reminders of previous television shows.

'Not Dead Yet' is one of many shows that have a stalemate between technology and social media. None of the older staff or elder millennials know how to organize website traffic, yet Nell receives news from Tiktok. A very real position many now hold, which is about as fleshed out as it would have been in 2012, or older members of the ABC audience who might relate to the protagonist.

"This Is Us," a series that explored loss and mortality without the dark levity that engulfs so much modern television, might be improved, especially if the cast chemistry begins to develop more organic rather than forced, as it does often early in a series.

ABC's "Not Dead Yet" will air on February 8 at 8:30 p.m., with new episodes weekly.