Nine will premiere the dramedy series Drop Dead Diva, produced for the Lifetime Channel in the US, at 9:30pm Monday August 3rd.
It stars stage actress Brooke Elliot as a vapid, aspiring model, Deb Dobson, who is killed in a car crash. As her soul enters the gates of Heaven, she finds herself declared a self-centered “zero” by the gatekeeper. So she gets a wish and is brought back to life in the body of a recently deceased, intelligent, overweight lawyer named Jane Bingum.
Initially horrified, Deb – in her new human form – discovers the meaning of inner beauty as she finds the ability to juggle legal cases, aided by her assistant Terri (Margaret Cho), while attempting to reconnect incognito with her still-grieving boyfriend.
The series has only started this month in the US, and is described as a cross between Freaky Friday and Heaven Can Wait.
In the third ep Rosie O’Donnell played a judge and it promises more celebs in guest roles including: Paula Abdul, Jorja Fox, Elliot Gould, Tim Gunn, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Najimy and Nia Vardalos. Sounds camp -with Margaret Cho on board, how could it not be? Heck, even the title is camp.
The Hollywood Reporter said:
On one hand, “Diva” has a crisp, lively “Ugly Betty”-style sense of humor, and the tone effectively balances the loss of self while trying to assimilate in a foreign land — Fatstania. There are genuine laughs, as when one model can’t seem to pronounce “chocolate” unless it’s followed by “martini.”…..Still, as long as the series sticks with its cute premise and delightful cast of characters and doesn’t try to realign the world, it’s a pleasant diversion. Beyond that, take it with a grain of low-sodium salt. Anyway, experts always say that change comes from within, not from your TV set.
The press materials for Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” contained glowing testimonials from women’s groups, providing another reminder that such advocates needn’t be overly concerned with originality. Granted, there’s much to be said for a program featuring a smart, plus-sized heroine in today’s rail-thin TV world, but “Diva” undernourishes its premise amid a sea of legal-procedural banalities. Stage actress Brooke Elliott makes for an appealing lead — always a good place to start — but constructing a show around her without the contrived “Here Comes Ms. Jordan” template might have been a more fruitful approach.