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Dead Boy Detectives


Sandman creator Neil Gaiman’s ghostly detective duo are on the case in Dead Boy Detectives

Worlds collide in Netflix’s newest series, Dead Boy Detectives, bringing together some of the greatest talents working in television today.

Based on the fictional crime-solving duo created for DC Comics by British master of fantasy Neil Gaiman, the supernatural series comes from Kelli Breslin, the producer behind You, and Steve Yockey, creator of HBO’s The Flight Attendant, and a former producer on the much-loved series Supernatural.

Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix. Pictured: Aspiring investigator Niko Sasaki (Yuyu Kitamura) and medium Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson) lend their assistance to the detectives.

As far as the show’s leading dramatis personae is concerned, the Dead Boy Detectives are comprised of two ghosts: Charles Rowland and Edwin Payne, played by The Lodge’s Jayden Revri and new talent George Rexstrew, respectively. First introduced to Gaiman’s Sandman universe by way of the “Season of Mists” storyline, the spectral pair have since appeared in several of Gaiman’s comic books. “Charles was more or less me as a boy,” Gaiman told Netflix’s Tudum while explaining his personal connection to the pair, which was originally a simple side story. “I loved writing him and Edwin, and was proud to send them out into the world.”

Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix. Pictured: Kirby (formerly Kirby Howell-Baptiste) reprises her Sandman role as Death.

Given that the pair of phantom investigators has been involved in several storylines since their comic-book debut in 1991, Netflix’s Dead Boy Detectives acts simultaneously as a coming out party and as somewhat of a reimagining of Edwin and Charles’ origin story.

Presented as children in the source material, characters have been given new life (on screen, anyway) as young men. According to Tudum, although Edwin and Charles are “dead and born decades apart, they’ve chosen to remain on Earth and use their powers for good.” What this means is: old-timey ghost Edwin, known as “the Brains,” and the much more newly dead Charles, known as “the Brawn,” work together to solve crimes, hauntings and other various sinister phenomena. And they truly are best friends, despite the generation gap.

Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix. Pictured: Lukas Gage plays Thomas The Cat King, who always keeps his word but should never be trusted.

“They will do anything to stick together — including escaping evil witches, Hell, and Death herself,” reads the Netflix plot synopsis. “With the help of a clairvoyant named Crystal [Kassius Nelson, Hollyoaks] and her friend Niko [Yuyu Kitamura, Expats], they are able to crack some of the mortal realm’s most mystifying paranormal cases.” Joining the core four in their adventures in the Sandman universe are Caitlin Reilly (Hacks) as Litty, Briana Cuoco (The Flight Attendant) as Jenny Green, Lukas Gage (Euphoria) as Thomas the Cat King, Max Jenkins (Dead to Me) as Kingham, David Iacono (The Summer I Turned Pretty) as David the Demon and Ruth Connell (Supernatural) as Night Nurse.

Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix. Pictured: Jenny Green (Briana Cuoco), owner of the Tongue & Tail butcher shop.

Discussing the concept behind the Dead Boy Detectives and their agency of the same name, Gaiman told Tudum: “Who amongst us can honestly say that if we were hanging around the Earth as a ghost, we wouldn’t want to start a detective agency? I think what fans responded to the most was their good-heartedness and dedication.”

Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix. Pictured: Magic shop owner Tragik Mick is played by Michael Beach.

“The bittersweet nature of Edwin and Charles having only become friends because of their tragic deaths is what makes their friendship such a unique story to explore,” shared Schwartz, while Yockney offered an edgier take. “If The Sandman is this really lush, rich supernatural drama,” he said, “then Dead Boy Detectives is The Hardy Boys on acid.”

Dead Boy Detectives, steaming Thursday, April 25, on Netflix

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