What we’re dealing with: Fun. Three little letters that seem to be a rare commodity these days on TV. But this year there are at least two new shows that are all about having fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. One of them is Reaper.
The first thing you need to know about Reaper is that the pilot was directed by Kevin Smith. That should be a big enough clue that fun rules the show. The star is Bret Harrison, who we last saw on Fox’s extremely funny yet low rated The Loop. Also, Satan is a main character, so how can this not be fun?
On his 21st birthday, Sam (Harrison) finds out that there’s a reason his parents let him skate by as an underachiever all his life they knew they have no future with him, because the sold his soul to the devil before he was even born, and the delivery date just arrived. Of course Sam doesn’t believe that, but things change when Satan himself (played by Ray wise) introduces himself and gives Sam his new orders. Sam is now Satan’s bounty hunter and has to bring back rogue demons back to hell. He also uses a dirt devil to catch the demon, pun intended.
For fans of: The pitch for this series must have been “It’s the early seasons of Buffy mixed in with Ghost Busters with shreds of Dead Like Me but it all has a heavy Mallrats vibe”
The good: If it’s not clear yet, I loved the pilot. It’s fun (Here’s that word again), fresh, well written and funny. Bret Harrison is awesome, as well as the supporting cast and Kevin Smith gave it his special touch.
The Bad: These points don’t relate to the pilot, but are a concern for the show on the long run. One is the possible repetitiveness and formulistic nature the show must avoid. It needs to stay away from pattern of “Sam gets orders from Satan, Sam chases after demon, Sam has trouble fighting demon, Sam prevails after all and beats the demon”. If they fall into that pattern and follow it too closely it might get boring. The second trap is keeping up with the pilot. I already mentioned it was directed by Kevin Smith. Smith gave it his unique touch, and now it’s up to the regular directors to keep up the standard that Smith set. It’s not going to be easy, following in the footsteps of one of the best moviemakers of our generation, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
In Closing: Reaper is facing tough competition in its time slot, both from Dancing with the Stars and House. But it has the potential to overcome that and develop a cult following, because it appeals to the younger and more avid demographics, the way Buffy did. Being on CW also helps, because there’s less pressure on that network, than on the big four. With that in mind, I hope and believe that Reaper can be one of this season’s surprise hits. I know I’ll be watching.