Not-so-grim Reaper

Well, I promised a review of the other series in which the lead character slips away from his own birthday celebration in the pilot, and here it is. Reaper is a light-hearted tale of a young man whose parents sold his soul to the devil, requiring him to go around collecting escapees from hell… which is being depicted as more pleasant work than his usual retail McJob.
Kevin Smith, who cred at directing the world of retail slackerdom goes back to his first flick Clerks, was brought in for the pilot to help build the feel of the world. Which is well and good, but this first episode is the exposition one, and it’s laden with enough of that that it’s hard to tell how the series will feel once that’s out of the way. As it was, the pilot felt cramped. There’s some comfortable charm with the lead and his friends (and the interesting choice made that he talks freely with his friends about the situation he finds himself in, althoug there are still people it is to be hidden from.) Still, it all felt mechanical, getting the pieces in place, and the pieces didn’t quite fit together yet. Particularly troublesome was the female love interest, whose performance didn’t seem to quite inhabit the same world as the folks around her.
Ray Wise (best recalled from Twin Peaks) plays the devil, and that seems like good casting. He can smile and be friendly evil. But it still felt like he was settling into the part, as if the definition of the devil is in this context hasn’t yet been made clear. At times, he’s depicted primarily as someone who brings dark justice to those who deserve it, at others an agent of temptation for those who aren’t, but even if he’s not on the side of g-d he shows no interest in really trying to best Him (and yes, we seem to be dealing with the Christian devil here.) That actually might prove a viable question to explore in the show, but I’m not assuming that’s their intent.
Not a “wow”; at best, a “might grow to meet it’s ambition”.

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Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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