Dear Edward

Dear Edward (First Look) – a compelling, addictive and emotional story of love, loss and hope


Sometimes the pilot episode of a TV show is so heartbreaking and impactful that the rest of the show spends all its time trying to catch up. The new Apple TV+ drama Dear Edward is one of those shows. Based on the novel by Ann Napolitano and adapted by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights), Dear Edward’s opening episode is likely to haunt you for days. But the sheer power of this opening episode also creates a problem; how do you maintain the dramatic impact for a further nine episodes? Here, Katims drama occasionally stumbles as it navigates a web of interconnecting stories. But any stumbles are minor, and none distract from the fact that Dear Edward is an engaging and deeply emotional slice of TV drama.

As twelve-year-old Edward (Colin O’Brien), his big brother Jorden (Maxwell Jenkins), and their parents board a flight from New York, their thoughts turn to the new life they are about to embrace in Los Angeles. Sitting around them are a host of fellow passengers also contemplating their future, from a young man expecting his first child to a congresswoman who wants her grandaughter to enter politics and a businessman living a secret life in LA. However, a deadly storm is about to consume the plane and everyone aboard as it falls from the sky into a Colorado field. As rescuers arrive and scour the smouldering wreckage, it appears no one has survived until they hear a faint voice underneath a section of the fuselage. There lies Edward, the only survivor of the doomed New York to LA flight.

Labelled a ‘Miracle’, Edward is sent to live with his aunt Lacey (Taylor Schilling) and her partner, John (Carter Hudson). As Edward begins to process the grief, pain and anger of his place as a soul survivor, the partners, friends, and lovers of those who perished also begin to adapt to a new world without their loved ones. Napolitano’s novel focuses primarily on Edward’s journey, with select chapters exploring some of those who didn’t survive and the people they left behind. But Katims opts to place the families, friends and partners of Edward’s fellow passengers centre stage as he explores hope, guilt and revelation through a series of individual stories that are laced together into a human tapestry of survival, grief and rebirth. 

From Connie Britton‘s Dee Dee to Amy Forsyth’s Linda, and Anna Uzele’s Adriana, each character is allowed to explore their past and now altered present. However, it’s here where Dear Edward occasionally stumbles as it explores big themes, from internalised homophobia to secret lives, political aspirations, cultural belonging and drug addiction, in tight forty-five-minute episodes that also attempt to keep Edward at the centre of the journey. 

Many will argue Dear Edward is a perfect example of an emotionally manipulative TV drama, while others will accuse it of wallowing in grief. There is no doubt that Dear Edward is big on emotion or that it occasionally skirts the boundaries of soap opera. But that doesn’t distract from the show’s ability to sink its hooks into its audience and become addictive, binge-worthy viewing that leaves you an emotional mess but also hopeful of our shared human ability to heal, forgive and love. Here its core message is ultimately one of hope, which is more than welcome in our tumultuous world. 

Dear Edward may not always live up to its opening episode’s power and promise, but it is a compelling and addictive drama that is clearly aiming for a second season, which I, for one, hope we see. 


  • Dear Edward

United States | 10 Episodes | 2023

Dear Edward may not always live up to its opening episode’s power and promise, but it is a compelling and addictive drama that is clearly aiming for a second season, which I, for one, hope we see.

error: Alert: Content selection is disabled!!