Death by Dying

(CW: Death by Dying deals with death and murder, gun violence, and body horror.)

Death by Dying is a dark comedy, co-created by Evan Gulock and Niko Gerentes, and Gulock also plays the main character, the extremely well-dressed Obituary Writer. The story is set in the strange town of Crestfall, Idaho.

The Obituary Writer is always known as the Obituary Writer. He is his job. In the show’s first season, there are five obituaries, with each episode focusing on a different Crestfell resident. But the Obituary Writer doesn’t just, well, write their obituaries, he investigates why they died, also becoming an unofficial town detective. This is somewhat facilitated by the fact that the town coroner has been missing for a few months. Nobody seems to be that concerned about this disappearance, and the butcher has been appointed coroner in the meantime, because, well, a butcher understands flesh and blood, don’t they?

In episode one, Wyatt Dies, it’s local farmer Wyatt Hudson who dies. He was an extraordinary person, and much-loved in Crestfall, but he was killed by a gunshot. The Obituary Writer can’t understand why anyone would want to kill such a wonderful person like Wyatt, and sets out to unravel the mystery.

As the Obituary Writer investigates Wyatt’s death, we’re also introduced to some of the quirks of Crestfall. The Obituary Writer goes to the farmer’s market, where Wyatt sold bluestem grass – even though nobody knew what you were supposed to do with it, it was still very popular. Bryndle Blackwell sets up her stall every week to sell one apricot. There are rumours that the apricot grants eternal life, and there’s a wild dash to her booth every week, as everyone tries to be the one who buys it. There’s the Craigmire Cannon that’s fired every time a resident in the town dies, with cannonballs landing in Wyatt’s field, and build up over the years. There’s also the Dark Woods outside the town…

In Obituary 02: Lillian Died, the Obituary Writer makes a friend, when he meets Charlotte. Charlotte comes to the Obituary writer thinking he’s the one who solves murders in Crestfall, and she believes her aunt Lillian has been murdered. Lillian Parker was the owner of Borrowed Books, a bookshop she started with the collection of books she had borrowed from her friends and never returned. It’s in this episode we also discover that the Obituary Writer knows the Angel of Death, who helps him to investigate Lillian’s death. At the end of the episode, the Obituary Writer ends up with three cats who have a…sinister background to keep him company at home. This friendship between the Obituary Writer and Charlotte continues throughout the season, and ends up becoming the main story as the season comes to a close.

Season one consists of five obituaries; and as of October 2020, a live show, a brilliant SCP Archives crossover, (The Case of the Phantom Bicycle) and two Tales from Crestfall have also been released. There are plans for a season two, and a trailer for the first season was recently released.

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