Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When the Reaper Comes to Call

Tonight is the season premiere of House, a show I haven't missed in three seasons. Yet, here it is 9:15 PM on Tuesday, and I'm watching a new show called Reaper on the CW. I can hardly believe it myself.

I rarely pay any attention to cable shows since I cancelled my subscription some years ago. However, I'm still roughing it in the Bethesda Marriott and Convention Center where room service delivers a copy of USA Today with my breakfast every morning.

So...there I was...eating Raisin Bran and reading the paper this morning when I read the headline, "Reaper Shows Viewers a Hell of a Good Time." Thinking it was a forthcoming movie, I read the review. And found out that Reaper was a new show premiering tonight.

Reaper is about a young man whose parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born. When Sam turns twenty-one, Satan comes to earth to collect. He tells Sam that, because he's having a problem with souls escaping from hell, he wants Sam to be his bounty hunter on earth, returning the fugitives to him.

Sam's instructions are to return any souls he collects to "the portals to hell." When Sam asks where he can find the portals, Satan replies, "Anywhere that seems like hell on earth IS hell on earth." He suggests Sam return an escaped arsonist to the Department of Motor Vehicles so he can renew his driver's license at the same time. ("Hey, I'm all about the perks.")

USA Today nailed the show when it said:

Rather than play the devil like a substitute dad, [Ray] Wise and the writers make a much funnier choice, turning him into a sort of warped CEO who sees himself as a mentor. Sure, he can be scary, as when he shows Sam the risks of giving up, but more often he's encouraging. It sets up a witty give-and-take dynamic with Sam justifiably horrified and Satan pretending to be wounded.

Aided by his friends, Ben and Sock (a sort of low-rent Jack Black), Sam sets out to capture the arsonist with the magical Dirt Devil Satan gave him. Unfortunately, the Dirt Devil needs to be charged first. Sam and Sock dress up like Ghostbusters (with smoke alarms on their sleeves in place of epaulets) to find their prey.

Directed by slacker-master Kevin Smith [of Clerks and the unfortunate Jersey Girl] and created by Law & Order; SVU veterans Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, Reaper layers its light adventure with a mildly satiric tone.

The show is clever and funny and quirky. All things that I like.

And, besides, Fox will re-run House. They always do.

No comments: