‘Dead Boy Detectives’ series review: This ‘Sandman’ spin-off is boundless fun

Jayden Revri portrays Charles Rowland and George Rexstrew as Edwin Payne in ‘Dead Boy Detectives’
| Photo Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Teenagers Edwin Paine (played by George Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri), despite being deceased, have taken on the role of private investigators. Edwin met his untimely death in 1916, a victim of a dark ritual at his school, while Charles succumbed to hypothermia and injuries inflicted by school bullies decades later in 1989. As fate would have it, each attended the same ill-fated institution.

A mistake on the part of hell’s bureaucracy offered Edwin an unexpected escape, prompting him to establish a ghostly investigative partnership with Charles. Their agency dedicates itself to aiding specters and neglected souls. When presented with the plight of a Victorian child and her friend Crystal (Kassius Nelson), who is tormented by a demonic presence, the boys step into a realm far more fantastical than they could have ever imagined.

Their successful exorcism banishes the demon and rescues Crystal, although her memories are an unfortunate casualty. The trio then ventures to Port Townsend, a quaint North American hamlet, in search of a girl who has mysteriously disappeared.

Dead Boy Detectives (English)

Creator: Steve Yockey

Cast: George Rexstrew, Jayden Revri, Kassius Nelson, Briana Cuoco, Ruth Connell, Yuyu Kitamura, Jenn Lyon

Episodes: 8

Runtime: 52 to 57 minutes

Storyline: Two ghostly teens forgo the afterlife to stay on earth and assist other spirits

Their investigation leads them to a colorful collection of oddities, including Jenny Green (Briana Cuoco), a goth-styled businesswoman with a proclivity for the occult, and the creatively cursed Niko Sasaki (Yuyu Kitamura), who struggles with colorful, chatty parasitic sprites. As the heroes quest to save a young girl, they encounter Esther Finch (Jenn Lyon), an ageless witch with vengeance on her mind, and the enigmatic Tragic Mick (Michael Beach) – a former walrus with a penchant for the mystical.

Developed from the imaginative works of Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner, ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ brings to life two figures from Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’— Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Despair (Donna Preston). Gaiman masterfully combines boarding school narratives with youthful sleuths, all with a supernatural twist. It’s as if Enid Blyton’s adventurers were set loose in a ghostly boarding environment!

Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland, Hannah Bos as Hannah Devlin, Kassius Nelson as Crystal Palace, Christine Chatelain as Stacey Devlin, George Rexstrew as Edwin Payne, and Audrey Mallett as Hope Devlin in ‘Dead Boy Detectives’

The ensemble cast featuring Jayden Revri and George Rexstrew offers a compelling performance in ‘Dead Boy Detectives’
| Photo Credit:
Ed Araquel/Netflix

Throughout the series’ eight episodes, Edwin and Charles fend off a menagerie of otherworldly beasts and sinister spirits, encountering cursed families, nautical dangers, and mystical serpents. In their journey, genuine moments of connection are found amidst a backdrop of phantasmagorical chaos, as characters navigate the intricacies of purpose and identity.

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ is a triumph of visual storytelling, with engaging animation and compelling character arcs. With a witty script and an attractive ensemble, the series proves to be a delightful adventure. As the narrative of ‘The Sandman’ promises to expand with more episodes on the horizon, the realm of the Dream continues to enthrall and captivate. Let’s just hope this enthralling series continues to spill its supernatural tales without facing cancellation.

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ is now available for streaming on Netflix.

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