Snap judgment: 'Reaper'

Reaper_lIf the idea of a guy getting crushed by a Zamboni andleaving a blood-and-gore trail across a skating rink doesn’t make you chuckle,then you probably didn’t watch last night’s series premiere of The CW’s Reaper,the first freshman fall series to score a "series recording"designation on my DVR. (Much to my shock, this means my favorite new sitcom,Aliens in America, and now my favorite new hour-long show both reside on — dun, dun, dun — The CW. Who’dve thunk?)

In her A- review of Reaper in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, TV critic Gillian Flynn pretty much summed up my feelingsabout the show’s terrific cast, noting that sidekick Tyler Labine defies his"manic Jack Black sidekick role" by "actually being someoneyou’d want to hang out with," and calling series lead Bret Harrison (pictured, left, with Labine)"perfectly endearing" as Sam, who thanks to his parents’ deal withthe Devil, is forced to become a bounty hunter in pursuit of the escapedresidents of Hell. Indeed, Harrison, with his perpetually downturned mouth andsleepy, puppy-dog eyes, puts a fetching face on modern slacker-dom, scoring biglaughs almost every time he opens his mouth and decries his unexpected fate.(Sample rant: "I got chased by a pack of dogs. I moved an air conditionerwith my mind. Oh, and the Devil tried to carjack me. So overall, not a greatday.") The rest of Sam’s crew is terrific, too; I especially loved how Ben(Rick Gonzalez) responded to Sam’s "punch me in the face right now"request by giving him a comforting pat on the back. And even the show’sseemingly throwaway moments — the Devil (a hilarious Ray Wise) flirtatiouslynodding to a female shopper at Sam’s Home Depot-esque place of employment,demons being transported back to Hell via a pneumatic tube at the DMV — areall plotted and filmed with the kind of zest and cleverness that’s absent fromso many network series these days. 

Anyhow, if you missed Reaper last night — I urge you tocatch The CW’s encore airing on Thursday night at 9 pm EDT. And if you’ve alreadyseen it, share your first impressions with your fellow PopWatchers in thecomments section below.

Comments (62 total) Add your comment
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  • Vicky

    I laughed out loud numerous times while watching this show. I know it’s being compared to Chuck, but I think I liked Reaper a whole lot more.

  • Deanna

    Michael, I couldn’t agree with you more! I *LOVE* this show! I thought it was hilarious. I thought that Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine had great chemistry together. The rest of the characters were also well cast. LOVED seeing “Delores Herbig” as the demon at the DMV. Fitting, since the tone of the show reminds me a lot of Dead Like Me. Great show. Can’t wait for next week.

  • AA

    Loved it! Hopefully since it’s on the CW, it’ll last long, even if the ratings aren’t great. I especially enjoyed the Dirt Devil bit recharging.

  • MKS

    This show is so good that I can’t find anything wrong with it. Harrison and Wise were awesome, and I got a kick from seeing Dolores “Her Big Brown Eyes” Herbig with horns at the DMV. Tres hilarious!

  • Kristi

    Slezak – dang you! I was trying to avoid Reaper as i’m boycotting the cw (RIP VM), AND my Tivo is so overloaded i’m afraid it’s going to blow a gasket, AND i think the premise is just sooo silly! But great now that you LOVE it i will have to try it, dang you dang you :)

  • Shannon

    I LOVED it! My boyfriend and I watched Chuck and were not entirely impressed – but Reaper was fantastic. Kevin Smith did a great job directing it. Definitely a TiVo Season Pass entry.

  • Gillian

    Are you kidding me? The scene where the jerk sidekick opens his car door into a little dog leaping at his window is SICK and NOT FUNNY. I will never watch this show again. I can’t believe people aren’t outraged by that scene. Not only was it pointless and cruel but you could hear yelping sounds long after the thud, as if an animal in pain is somehow funny or acceptable.

  • Bill

    Great first outing. Now the test will be how the show does without the guiding hand of slacker king Kevin Smith. If it can continue the mood of last night’s show, then I have a show worth watching again on the former WB/UPN (RIP Buffy).

  • Em

    I read about the comparisons between Reaper and Chuck. After seeing both shows, I thought Reaper was much better. I’m much more likely to tune in to Reaper for the rest of the season.

  • Meredith

    i loved the first episode. This is now one of my favorite show that i will not miss one single episode.

  • jen, tx

    loved it, which kind of surprised me, since i didn’t feel other new shows lived up to their hype (no names mentioned). and dirt devil…brilliant!

  • Stef

    This show was awesome, hooked right from Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut” at the beginning.

  • emily

    I was very happily surprised by how much I liked it. Better than Chuck (although I liked that alright, too), and it doesn’t compete with anything else I’m dying to watch, so I’ll probably watch it every week.

  • Heather

    I liked it, and think it shows great promise. I’ve been afan of Bret Harrison since “The Loop,” in which he coincidentally also played a character named Sam.

  • Rachel K

    I thought it was hysterical. I only caught the first half b/c I had to switch over to watch Boston Legal (yes i realize i need to get DVR) but i’m glad to hear it will be replayed tomorrow night! This show is worth catching.

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