‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Review: An Excellently Ghastly Supernatural Drama

By Lori Meek
Published: April 25, 2024
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Dead Boy Detectives Season 1 Review
Dead Boy Detectives | Image via Netflix


It plays on the Scooby Doo comparison, but it might also remind you of shows similar in quality and messaging such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Dead Boy Detectives is darker in tone than one would expect and it touches on a few serious topics affecting teens such as bullying, revenge porn, parental abuse, and coming to terms with their sexuality. At the same time, it’s an endearing and highly relevant supernatural drama about a group of teens solving mysteries.

A screen adaptation has been in the works since 2021 when HBO wanted the show as a spin-off of their Doom Patrol. Soon enough, eight episodes were made and the series switched homes from Max to Netflix, where two other series based on the same D.C. Comics peacefully co-exist (I’m talking about The Sandman and Lucifer, both very different takes on the same source material).   

As the name might suggest, the series follows Edwin (George Rexstrew) and Charles (Jayden Revri), two teenage detectives who also happen to be ghosts. The pair helps fellow ghosts resolve their unfinished mysteries so they can finally move on to the afterlife. 

They meet teen psychic Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson) after being asked to exorcise David, the demon, out of her. The exorcism leaves Crystal without her memories, so she starts working with the two ghosts. When the trio travels to the quaint town of Port Townsend on a case, they come across an array of mythical and not-so-mythical friends and foes, including Esther the Witch (Jenn Lyon), Jenny the Butcher (Briana Cuoco), the Cat King (Lukas Gage), Tragic Mick, and the shy but overly friendly Niko (Yuyu Kitamura)

We learn that the boys spent decades evading Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste, reprising her role from The Sandman). Edwin spent 70 years in Hell on a technicality and is understandably against going back there. As for Charles, he just wants to solve mysteries with his best ghost mate. But a more pressing supernatural being looking to remove them from Earth is the Night Nurse (played by Ruth Connell, who previously played the same character in Doom Patrol) in charge of the Lost and Found Department.  

Throughout the season, the dead boys solve interesting supernatural cases ranging from tragic to outright bizarre. Along with the case-of-the-week format, the series also has an overarching mystery in Crystal’s lost memories and a fabulously evil season big bad in Esther the Witch. 

Dead Boy Detectives is one of the few recent series that made me miss the days of network standard 24-episode seasons. There’s a distinct charm to watching this Gen Z iteration of the Scooby Gang solving mysteries, gradually learning more about each other, and cementing the unusually supernatural friendship bond. Add Esther the evil witch and a horny Cat King to the mix and 24 episodes could easily be binged in one long weekend. 

Condensing a series with as many characters and as much mythology as this one decreases the impact of big reveals and character deaths. There’s less time for character development and for the viewers to fully immerse themselves into the show’s lore. That’s not necessarily a criticism of Dead Boy Detectives, it’s just me saying I would have loved at least eight more episodes of Edwin, Charles, Crystal, and Niko working together to solve ghostly cases.

This isn’t a perfect series by any means and requires the viewer to suspend every ounce of disbelief they have. I’m not just talking about the paranormal aspect, but the more Earthly plot holes like how did Crystal manage to travel internationally without a passport? 

Saying that, after The Sandman and Good Omens, Dead Boys Detectives proves to be yet another gem of a show based on works by Neil Gaiman. Who knows, we might even get a crossover with The Sandman in the future. In the meantime, I highly recommend you stream this series. 


Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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