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October 18 2007

Reaper has "Buffy" potential. If you haven't seen Reaper yet maybe this will encourage you to take a look.

Reaper has been fun so far, so I'm guessing it won't last long since I enjoy it.

[ edited by Damon (zeitgeist) -period at the end of the link title pretty please!- on 2007-10-18 05:20 ]

I love this show so much. It's so funny and different. Been a Ray Wise fan since Rising Sun and then seeing Twin Peaks on DVD. Sock(the main dude's friend) is hilarious, too. The show and Sock are laugh-out-loud funny.
It takes quite a bit to make me laugh.
Reaper makes me laugh out loud every week so far.
The whole cast is great, but Ray Wise is wonderful. I loved him as Leland Palmer (father of the murdered-and-wrapped-in-plastic Laura Palmer in "Twin Peaks", in case you missed it) and I think he's perfect as The Devil.
I'm even finding the Love Interest Girl tolerable. Thankless role that it is.
Maybe the guys let her in on it and she'll become a Soul Catcher as well. Could be some funny stuff there...
I'm with you, sporter. I'm almost afraid to really love the show. I don't know about The CW (sheesh). If it was Fox the Dreaded Show-killer, I'd give it pretty much no hope of survival.
Judging by the rest of what's on The CW (pretty much crap) I wonder if a show that's actually good will last.
Hmmmmmm......
I really do LOVE this show!
I thought the first episode of Reaper was really funny, had a lot of potential, and was well-written.

It doesn't seem to be growing, though. The characters aren't being fleshed out in any way, the plot seems exactly the same in each episode, etc.

I still like it, but it isn't living up to my expectations.
I don't like the "Buffy" comparisons. "Reaper" is funny, but it's more slapstick than clever humor. The characters are too cartoonish, and it's essentially the same story every week.

"Buffy" was/is worlds better than "Reaper" on many different levels.
While I like the show and hope it continues, I myself would never have compared it to Buffy. I agree it is much more slapstick. I do think they have done a good job of finding actors that are a good fit for their roles.
I kind of feel like the show peaked with the pilot thus far. It really has a lot more in common with Smallville than with Buffy.
I, too, liked the pilot and then it went downhill from there. Pushing Daisies, on the other hand, is filling me with Amelie-like love.
I think equating it with Smallville is harsh, but agree that it hasn't shown much growth. The last episode was the strongest since the pilot, though.
Yeah, it's not all that, but I'm still giving it the time of day & hoping for more, 'cause it's got a certain something I don't know, as they say in France. And I'm getting fond of the Reaper's friend Bert (Tyler Labine), too, almost against my will. He's got that silly cocky slacker attitude that just cracks me up.

I think it's got room to grow, and I hope it does... I did think this week's episode showed a little glimpse of more...
I felt the pilot of Reaper was decent and showed some promise, but that the second episode bombed. It left such a bad, cheesy, slapsticky taste in my mouth that I decided to not see any more. I may give it another shot a little later on if I continue to hear great press though.
I thought this week's episode was good, and that it does show the beginnings of character development, as well as continuing to be very funny. Best devil I've seen in ages.The slacker buddy is a total, scene-stealing hoot, but the other buddy, and even the "love interest" girl are appealing too. I agree that including her in the chase would, and probably will, add interest.

Now that the Reaper is starting to have a few seconds to consider the ramifications of his position, he's looking to see what the boundaries are, and how his job affects others. He wants to know the terms of his contract, and I'm sure he will try to push those boundaries. It's tricky, developing a show with a complex premise...and a framework of rules- wanting story and character arcs, yet trying to pick up audience at the start.

Well worth giving it an extended chance, IMO. And what other Reaper comes to mind with the minion at Motor Vehicles? Love her.

[ edited by toast on 2007-10-18 10:31 ]
For what little my opinion is worth, I cannot stand Reaper.
This week is the last episode I will watch, I tried but I hate it.
I like and watch Reaper. Comparisons to Buffy? Not so much. Reaper, as people have stated, is slapstick, straight-up comedy. Not much drama and charactermoments to be found there. I consider it a longer-than-usual sitcom.
Yep, it's good to see George's boss onscreen again (but then Marshall from 'Alias' - one of my favourite characters on that show - is on 'Moonlight', doesn't make that show any better).

I still don't hate 'Reaper' but it feels a bit one-note, I don't like the best-friend character much (though they give him the odd genuine moment, mostly I just find him annoying - he's sort of the friend you've known for years that one day you wake up and think "Why are we friends again ? You're actually kind of a twat") and I think it'll get samey quite quickly (already is IMO). Ray Wise is good value though (anyone else wondering if he's maybe not so much the Devil, more the other fella ? Bit of tough love from above for young Sam ?).

It's sort of what I thought 'Chuck' would be like, with the slapstick frat-boyish humour and not much in the way of emotional resonance. Not that 'Chuck's a perfect show either, it was just surprisingly better than I expected. All just IMO, course.
I've been watching the show, too, and I'd feel better about its chances for success if it can move the show away from "House".
I also hope the producers remember they hired Missy Peregrym to, well, do something, and I don't mean being a clueless pawn to Satan's manipulations. If Sam's Work Bench buddies were clued in quickly about the soul catching, let Andi in, too. Maybe she'll be better at it than Sam would be.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-10-18 12:20 ]
I'd like to give Reaper a try. But, for some reason, I can't get CW anymore (I don't have cable and no matter what I do to my antenna, it just doesn't come in). And the CW isn't streaming the show on their site. So, I guess I'm sitting this one out, at least until DVDs.
gt0163c has a good point--if CW really wants Reaper to get more attention, at least stream full-episodes online. CW's still a netlet compared to the big-three, and Reaper has some serious non-genre competition in its broadcast timeslot.

Comparisons? I think it's more similar to a combination of Dead Like Me, if Kevin Smith had written/directed DLM, and Wonderfalls, with BtVS as a distant ancestor of both.
The first episode, I totally got the Buffy comparison. It was funny and interesting with a fantasy premise.

The second episode bored me.
The third I turned off because of the bug closeups. Gross.
The last I have taped. Haven't watched.

The difference in quality from the pilot to the second episode was such a let down to me.

Chuck went the other way. I was pretty Meh about the pilot, but the show has grown on me.
chickenbird:
I thought the first episode of Reaper was really funny, had a lot of potential, and was well-written.

It doesn't seem to be growing, though. The characters aren't being fleshed out in any way, the plot seems exactly the same in each episode, etc.

I still like it, but it isn't living up to my expectations.


Word, word to chickenbird.

Nebula1400:
I don't like the "Buffy" comparisons. "Reaper" is funny, but it's more slapstick than clever humor. The characters are too cartoonish, and it's essentially the same story every week.

"Buffy" was/is worlds better than "Reaper" on many different levels.


Very true, Nebula. And yet, as I went back and watched Buffy Season 1 the other week, I was struck by just how...uncomplicated it was. They were still defining the premise and the characters. Many of those first episodes had the same basic story as well.

Reaper has a chance to develop into a decent show, but if it keeps doing the same thing every week it won't hold my interest for long. It needs its "Angel" episode, which in my mind is the one where Buffy became more than just an unusually good monster-of-the-week show. It needs it soon...within the next several episodes...or people will start to get bored. And it needs to deal with the Devil. Ray Wise has been sadly underutilized, and he hasn't been allowed to be threatening. Comedy aside, both those things need to end.

For God's sake, you cannot have a show where the Devil is a major character and then reduce him to popping in off the sidelines for moral support and the odd pep talk. Further, the Devil can't just keep making wisecracks and endangering people while giving Sam an obvious chance to come in and save them. Sam doesn't seem to be impressed enough with the supernatural nature of his boss, which might be because he's been more of an imp than a devil so far. I can't wait for the episode, and I hope it's soon, when the Devil finally tells "Sammy" he's sick of the whining and gives him a very tangible reminder of his power.
dreamlogic:
I think equating it with Smallville is harsh, but agree that it hasn't shown much growth. The last episode was the strongest since the pilot, though.

I don't really think it's harsh. After all, Smallville wasn't an terrible show when it started. Although it's more of a comedy, Reaper is looking very much like the first season of Smallville at the moment.

Parallels so far: A young man with a unique destiny receives a shocking revelation from his father and sets out to save innocent people from the freak of the week. He works to hide his secret from his longtime crush and occasionally save her from danger. Cue misunderstandings and general awkwardness. He also frequently interacts with an infamously evil character portrayed as far kinder than one might expect.
The big difference between Reaper and Smallville is obviously that while Smallville contained a few jokes here and there, it was played straight. As was Buffy. That format allowed for mixing drama (and horror) with lots of nice tension breaking, intelligent humour. Reaper is filmed and acted with a wink in mind (in Buffy, I can think only of only one example of this: 'The Zeppo'). And as such, it would highly surprise me if BAFfler's excellent suggestion:

I can't wait for the episode, and I hope it's soon, when the Devil finally tells "Sammy" he's sick of the whining and gives him a very tangible reminder of his power.


will ever be seen in the show. While it's not 100% impossible, seeing as the show is still finding its feet and could possibly go in a darker, more dramatic direction, that'd still involve significantly altering the current set-up and style, as the Devil, and even the deaths of people in the show, have been played as less-than-serious and milked not for drama, but for comedy.
If they don't move it its gonna get reaped. There is
no way I miss House for the unknown, especially now
that post pilot eps are getting lukewarm reactions.
I love Reaper, but what's more important, I like almost all of the characters. (Sock's ex-GF in the DA's office? She can go.) The plot seems stuck at level 1, but there are all sorts of fascinating hidden subplots lurking just below the surface:

1) Why is the Devil so interested in Sam? (Come on, he has to have a better candidate for bounty hunter in his Infernal Employ.)

2) What's in the Contract?

3) How can you sell somebody else's soul?

I have a feeling the writers are setting us up for a big switcheroo/reveal in later episodes, because all of these questions have been specifically mentioned in previous episodes, and I'm sure the answers will be huge plot points. I like the actors and have confidence in the writers, so I'm stickin' around for awhile.
I'd love to watch Reaper, but I'm a die-hard House fan. So until the CW pulls the heads out of their rears and changes the day it airs (or shows it online), I'll be sitting this one out. I understand the networks have to compete, but what sense does it make to pit a brand new show with no following against a hugely successful show? Then again, this is supposing the networks actually have good sense... :(
GVH: You're right, and it kills me. Not the fact that you're right...that doesn't kill me...but that as far as Reaper being primarily a comedy goes, I really wish you weren't. This show's premise is set up for the Buffy treatment. "How do you live any kind of a normal life after you realize that you've been damned since before you were born, and you have no choice but to serve darkness?" is a question quite similar in terms of implication to "How do you live any kind of a normal life after you find out that the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, and you never had a choice about it?" Buffy had its share of comedy in almost every episode, but Joss was always deadly serious about the basic dramatic nature of the series, and it showed in the pilot episode. (Giles' "You are the Slayer," then the soft and serious music building under his speech...yeah, Buffy undercut it, but we knew right then that it wasn't a joke.) Reaper, by contrast, seems to miss the moments where it could become deeper, and I'm forced to conclude at this point that it's because they want to.

What's more, the comedy on Buffy grew directly out of the drama, which made the laughs much more natural -- and which also gave the writers opportunities to utilize what has become my favorite trick, the moment where the comedy actually punctuates the drama. Buffy's great speech to Giles and Angel in "Prophecy Girl," for example, when she has a few comic moments laced inside the drama ("I already quit, remember? Pay attention!") and then nails the poignancy at the end ("Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't wanna die."). Or Angelus making wisecracks before, during, and after his chase and kill of Jenny Calendar in "Passion." They were doing this well even into the seventh season...in "Storyteller," for example, when Andrew's increasingly ridiculous lines and actions perfectly set up Buffy's moment of drama at the end. (And after all the speechifying she'd been doing up to that point, the fact that I can watch her tell Andrew "Life isn't a story!" over and over again with full appreciation is a fairly remarkable feat of writing and acting.)

Reaper, again by contrast, isn't using its comedy to set up anything. The interesting questions (three of which cjl very ably listed above) and dramatic moments that have come up thus far in the show seem to exist very shakily with the broader comedy. The moment I wish they would have expanded on is the one in the premiere, when . Then, later in the series, when Sam finally . Does this strike anyone else as realistic? I know mothers pretty well...well, I know one mother pretty well, at any rate...and while the first moment wouldn't be out of character for her, the second definitely would given that the first moment had happened. She would instead be feeling very betrayed, and might choose to do what Sam's mother should have done.... When it comes to sacrifice, I don't know many people who'll go farther than mothers for their kids. That's just what mothers do.

Indeed, what's kept me coming back to Reaper is the hope, however faint, that all those consequences will eventually find their way to the foreground. Two things need to happen for me to stay with this show for the long haul. One, Sam needs to have it out with his parents, and we need to see a big family argument about this. If Dad still thinks , we have a long way to go. Two, and far more important, the Devil needs to grow a pair and be...well...the Devil. This "kindly uncle" persona works on the surface, but underneath, the Devil is evil. Period. Ray Wise has had some moments that make me think this aspect may eventually surface. His glare at Sam when Sam was making a case for the contract at the bar, for example...I could practically hear Satan's brain going, "Why in the [[not on the CW]] am I putting up with this?!" And then there was that great moment with the Zamboni in the pilot. I think that may have been played for laughs, but to me, it was intensely disturbing, and it made Sam's choice more important.

cjl, I hope you're right that eventually your questions get answered. I hope I'm right that the Devil will develop more menace than he has shown thus far. These things need to happen if Reaper is to develop into a show worthy of its premise. I fear, however, that GVH may be right, and that this show which could have so much depth is shying away from the implications of its premise because it just wants to be disposable entertainment with a glittery surface and nothing beneath. Seeing as how it's the new show of the fall I've enjoyed the most (I've TiVoed Pushing Daisies, and I'll watch it soon, Lee Pace my idol, I swear I will!), and that it has decent writing brought to life by such a promising mix of old and new talent, I'll be really disappointed if it turns out to be a shiny gift-wrapped box with a dead fly inside.

Edited to add the following invisotext:

[ edited by BAFfler on 2007-10-18 20:58 ]
I never watched "Buffy", so I can't compare the two. That said, I am enjoying "Reaper". It makes me laugh. Ray Wise (aka The Devil) referring to Sam's boss as a douchebag in the last episode had pop coming out of my nose. I don't know if it's quality television, but it makes me laugh. So I'm going to keep watching.

You "House" fans can keep your crotchety Dr. House...I'm hanging out with The Devil on Tuesdays.
I'm not a Sam fan, but Sock is hysterical and Ben is hot in a way-too-young-for-me kind of way. Those two things, the possibility of a longer arc about the contract, and Andi potentially finding out keep me watching. Andi really really needs to find out.
I never watched "Buffy", so I can't compare the two.


Wow, that's something you don't get to read here very often :-)

And, BAFfler, for the record: I'm right there with you. You totally nailed why Buffy and Reaper are very different shows (at least right now) and if Reaper turns into the show you'd like to see, it'd go from amusing television, to must-see.
Chickenbird:
I thought the first episode of Reaper was really funny, had a lot of potential, and was well-written.

It doesn't seem to be growing, though. The characters aren't being fleshed out in any way, the plot seems exactly the same in each episode, etc

Xane:

The difference in quality from the pilot to the second episode was such a let down to me.

Chuck went the other way. I was pretty Meh about the pilot, but the show has grown on me.

BAFfler:
And yet, as I went back and watched Buffy Season 1 the other week, I was struck by just how...uncomplicated it was. They were still defining the premise and the characters. Many of those first episodes had the same basic story as well.


Agreed on all counts. Reaper really seems to be headed in the wrong direction.

I think it was probably a bad move to have Sam's job and relationships be fully formed in the pilot. Buffy's early episodes were similar in plot/content, but the characters grew because everything in Buffy's life was new. New town, new school, new friends etc. The only pre-existing thing was slaying. In Sam's world, only the reaping is new. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the 5 kids all knew each other in high school. His job is old hat, he still lives with his parents, practically everything in his life is stagnant. There's nothing to keep the show fresh while the kinks are worked out.

Reaper needs to mix things up in a hurry. Bring the devil more into the mix and get that relationship with Andi moving along. At least bring her into the reaping group. A new cast member wouldn't be a bad idea either. It would be a a way of getting to know the characters as the audience does, without resorting to a ton of awkward exposition. It's not all doom and gloom though, IMO. I love the basic premise and the cast is great. Tweaking and an overall story arc are in order, but at least it's not Bionic Woman level of broken.

It's also fortunate to be on CW (that for lack of other options) will probably give the show time to develop. I'll keep watching, even if it's only for Delores Herbig (Gladys at the DMV). Between this, Chuck, and Pushing Daisies, I'm quite pleased with the new crop of shows.
Hmm. That's a good point about the newness of the relationships on Buffy, aeval. Still, Buffy already knew she was the slayer-though she was trying to shake it off- whereas Sam has just been hit with his minion-ness, and his relationship with the devil, is brand new, too.

I agree that the superb devil needs to be more in the mix. I love the whole "anti-mentor" relationship idea. And Andi is, of course, in danger of being reduced to perpetual rescue-ee, despite seeming overall more competent and together than the poor, bumbling guys.. Give the girl a chance to save them.

An overall story arc is a pretty much a necessity here..the 2nd episode was way too "arbitrary evil of the week"; I hope I'm right in seeing a glimmer of more in the most recent episode. I think it could be really special. No problem with slapstick elements- it can be wonderful, done well. Great to see "Herbig brown eyes" again.
I'd love to see an episode, but not giving up House (which has already proven itself excellent) to watch Reaper. If CW catches on to the full advantages of streaming video and provides a way to watch on-line, I'll even pay attention to the commercials they make you sit through.

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