Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reaper: If you want to destroy my sweater...

Very brief spoilers for "Reaper" coming up just as soon as I sign for a package...

Last week's episode was a marginal improvement, but now we're back to lame formula again. The soul again had no personality (did the guy even talk at any point?), Sam and Andi aren't interesting enough as a couple for me to want to watch him pine after her for years (as opposed to Jim and Pam on "The Office," say), and we're already at the point where every beat of the story (unsuccessful first encounter with the soul, vessel gets lost and/or damaged, etc.) comes with the same clockwork predictability that it took "Law & Order" the mothership five or six years to reach.

I want this show to be better, because the pilot was so hilarious and because Ray Wise is brilliant as Satan, but it's looking more and more like a poster child for the Great Pilot, Mediocre Series conundrum.

What did everybody else think?

22 comments:

Maura said...

Not a lot of laughs this weeks, although Andi putting the note on Ted's car was very funny, as was the Devil saying "Dirty, dirty girls. Slutty. Slutty" with great joy. I don't care much if the soul of the week has no personality. I'm looking to be amused.

I said (somewhere) a few weeks ago that I'm OK with Andi not knowing about the contract, but after last night, I changed my mind. All the stumbling and stuttering Sam has to go through to explain why he's constantly blowing her off got old really fast.

Sock needs to be reined in. He lost a lot of what little charm he had by being such an ass that he got the boys arrested.

OK, so I'm taking this too seriously, and I'm not writing it off. This is the only episode I didn't love.

Matt said...

The most interesting thing to me last night was Daddy reviewing the contract and finding one page that would "hurt" and throwing it in the fireplace. I think we're setting up some sort of arc here. (Is Daddy himself an escaped soul, and Sam recapturing him and returning him to hell an escape clause?)

Edward Copeland said...

I agree that the ending was the most interesting part. Two questions though always come back to me while I watch: 1) Why is it so easy for souls to escape Hell int he first place? and 2) Wouldn't it serve the Devil's purposes to let them run amok on Earth? Why does he want them back so badly?

Anonymous said...

when do you bail on this show? I will when you do! Seems like Chuck has outdelivered this show in series after Reaper got more pilot hype. You think? I also think Supernatural has as well.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it yet - so my question is this: was it more entertaining than this week's Heroes?

dez said...

2) Wouldn't it serve the Devil's purposes to let them run amok on Earth? Why does he want them back so badly?

They're causing wanton destruction, but not necessarily scoring more souls for the Devil, so it's probably better for him to have them in Hell where they can be properly tortured.

I liked this ep better than last week's, though I think the Tick's fight with the snot-monster was better than Sam's :-) Plus this ep had a lot of laughs, IMHO. And Ben totally rules!

Anonymous said...

Last night's episode actually made me think they're starting to figure things out a bit more, though the funny (outside of Ray Wise) is still down from the pilot. I like that Dad has a hidden agenda, and that The Devil gave Sam a reasonable motive not to tell Andi, which had been missing up to this point. I think Sam trying to get out of the contract could set up a nice arc, and it seems like a reasonable reaction to his situation.

That said, there's still plenty of dead weight on the show (Valerie Rae Miller's character adds nothing), and the weekly villians need to get some more personality/better motives fast. I'll stick around to see if the writers can start branching out more, though Chuck is definitely superior at this point (after just the pilots, I thought the opposite was true).
-Lance

Matt said...

The other problem they're having is that they've managed to take Andi and Missy Peregrym and completely drain either of them of any interest. Peregrym can have real spark (e.g., "Stick It"), but they've turned her into something of a wet blanket.

Matt said...

I actually liked this episode alot. Although looking back, I think it was just the last 10 minutes or so that I really liked.

I said last week that I thought Andi should be told what Sam is doing and this week they explained why they haven't done that yet. I like that there will be consequences for Ben and Sock knowing and I really like that Dad has a hidden agenda (although I'm not sure what it is yet).

Again, they showed the evil side of the Devil and I always love when they do that. I'll keep watching this show just for Ray Wise in those moments.

Dan Coyle said...

"They're causing wanton destruction, but not necessarily scoring more souls for the Devil, so it's probably better for him to have them in Hell where they can be properly tortured"

Brimstone did it better- the devil wanted them back for reasons of ego. "They all think they can beat the devil- BUT NOBODY BEATS ME." And he only sent one guy after them, a bitter, alcoholic detective.

This show really, REALLY needs to find a second gear, and soon. And drop Andi. Just drop her. Fazekas and Butters' years on SVU are suffocating the show because they're so rigidly in formula now.

drake leLane said...

I started off with such high hopes, seeing Aaron Douglas (Chief Galen Tyrol) as the demon messenger, but they really didn't utilize him much. Between that and being prison guard #2 in the Bionic Woman pilot, he's been criminally under-used in his TV guest appearances.

Tom said...

I just want to know why the parents' copy of the contract fit in a manilla envelope but Sam's copy was two feet thick. Does the devil play with fonts and margins like it's a term paper?

Andrew said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but have they revealed why Sam's parents sold his soul yet? (Might be spoilers ahead) I remember reading in some of the preview descriptions that the father had cancer and the devil cured him in exchange for Sam's soul, but for sokme reason I think they left it out of the pilot. Is the father trying to protect his son or himself? Can Sam gain his freedom if his father dies?

Anonymous said...

Andrew, that was revealed in the pilot. Alan, after getting me so enthused about the pilot, I blame the show's mediocrity on you for having hyped us all.

I was blown away that we were already recycling 5 episodes in. Andi has a new guy on her. Sam needs to hide the devil business from her. BOR-ING.

This show needs some direction stat.

Anonymous said...

I liked the episode, but I agree they need to keep it away from being too predictable/formulaic. But Ray Wise has enough goodwill from me to last well into next season :)

Does anybody else think this show might work well as a 30 min show? Or how about if a soul can't be caught in only one episode. My Name is Earl got stuck in a formula early on, but once they toyed with it, it got even better!

drake leLane said...

One glimmer of hope that there's something coming resembling an over-arching mystery, is the father burning a page from the contract.

Something his Dad knows is probably coming down the pipe, but wants to protect Sam from it. Lord (and the devil too) knows it needs something to justify this going on and on. At least we have Patton Oswalt to kick around next week.

Anyone see the news that Reaper collected the highest (or second highest to The Office, depending on how you calculate the results) bump from Live+7 measurements?

Not sure what it means for the series, but if The CW sees any value in NBC's current strategy, it might bite on giving Reaper a full season.

dez said...

Brimstone did it better- the devil wanted them back for reasons of ego. "They all think they can beat the devil- BUT NOBODY BEATS ME." And he only sent one guy after them, a bitter, alcoholic detective.

I loved loved loved BRIMSTONE and was sad when it went off the air (especially as I got to meet Peter Horton afterwards and found out about a really cool story arc that didn't get to play out, dammit), but it was a very dark show and I don't think REAPER is going for that sort of depth. Also, they haven't really told us on REAPER why the Devil wants the souls back, so I was just guessing. Perhaps he even has a deal with God where he's supposed to keep them locked up or suffer more Heavenly consequences? :-)

It's interesting that Ben and Sock apparently weren't on the Devil's radar until they started helping Sam--you'd think at least Sock would have drawn some demonly attention. And whether Andi is involved with helping Sam or not, the Devil is very well aware of her *now,* so he's just effing with Sam's head again, I think. The Devil is *such* a dick :-D

Kensington said...

"Does anybody else think this show might work well as a 30 min show? Or how about if a soul can't be caught in only one episode."
Yup, I've felt all along that Reaper doesn't have the substance for an hour-long dramedy and might work better as a straight-ahead 30 minute sitcom.

Also, I like the idea of a more challenging soul. Maybe the series would benefit from a Buffyesque Big Bad soul that keeps popping in and out amongst the others until a big end-of-season confrontation that has some weight and gravity and shakes up the status quo for the following season.

I sometimes wonder if I'm being too hard on Reaper, given that we're only 5 episodes in to what is, presumably a 22 episode journey. That's less than 25% of the season, and, once the whole thing is in place, the repetitive slant of the early episodes might be more reasonable.

Of course, if there is going to be more meat, it should probably start demonstrating itself within the next, say, three to four episodes. If it remains so flat, then they probably really are just spinning wheels.

Dan Coyle said...

Hey dez, I was a huge Brimstone fan too. I'd love a DVD, since it was visually fantastic. I think they should just tweak that devil's motivation for Reaper's devil: They're making me look bad! Reaper's Devil is also much more hands on than Brimstone's was, "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" nonwithstanding.

dez said...

Dan, who do we have to pester to get it out on DVD? :-)

The story arc, btw, involved his wife glimpsing him, becoming obsessed that he's alive, and basically stalking him to find out what's going on, which of course would interfere with his reaping duties. Maybe they can swipe that for REAPER and have Andi start spying on Sam.

Michael said...

Couldn't we just take what's funny and good about "Reaper" and combine it with what's funny and good about "Chuck" to make the perfect show?

You know, instead of the okay show and the reasonably good show that we have so far?

jim treacher said...

As long as they left out both Perpetually Smiling Brunettes Who Don't Know What's Really Going On, I'd probably love that show.