Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reaper Madness

Yeah, another review, and yeah, this is going to be shorter than the last one...I get more wound up about things I can't stand. Today's subject is Reaper, which debuted last night on the CW network (and I still think that's an unfortunate acronym, since it makes me think of country-western music).

Quick and dirty: Strange things are happening to Sam (Brett Harrison) on his 21st birthday. Packs of dogs chase him through the Home Depot-style store, he pushes falling merchandise away from a coworker without actually touching it, and a guy who says he's the Devil (Ray Wise) keeps showing up in odd places to tell Sam he's got a job for him to do. Sam finds out his dad promised the soul of his first-born (that'd be Sam) to the Devil for the health of Sam's mom. But this Devil is a sport, to a point, because rather than immediately taking Sam to Dante-land, Satan has a proposition. Hell's borders have become remarkably porous in recent years (prison overcrowding...go figure), so Sam's earthly task is to be a bounty hunter, sending escaped evil souls back to the fiery furnace. If he refuses, the contract with Sam's parents is broken...and his mom dies.

As it turns out, Sam is just aimless enough that finding out his soul belongs to the Devil is the jump start his life needs, and with a few nudges from his new boss, he soon finds himself with a makeshift Scooby Gang, including best bud Sock (Tyler Labine) and Sock's ex, who (conveniently for the premise) has information access at the courthouse (and feeds some priceless shouting matches).

Thinking back to the last new fantasy adventure I sampled, Reaper gives me the type of fun the dour "modernized" Flash Gordon denied me. This is the type of show where the initial capture vessel is a Dirt Devil minivac...and it doesn't work at first because the Prince of Lies is also the Prince of Not Giving You One With A Charged Battery. Harrison is really likable in the lead role and makes a great two-act with the boisterous Labine. Ray Wise (hey, it's Laura Palmer's dad!) gives us a Prince of Darkness with an oily smoothness mixed with a touch of menace. Of course Satan comes off as corporate; this is America, and we all know the score.

Behind the camera, Kevin Smith (hero to us all) gives the pilot a nice sendoff; it should be interesting to see how the regular team measures up. The verdict: if I had my way, this one would go the distance. It's devilicious. HAHAHAHAokayI'mdone.

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