Anything But Grim

With network stations like NBC and CBS returning heavy hitters like Heroes and CSI (respectively), the CW might have a lighter side alternative for you. Starting September 25th, the network will be airing a new show named Reaper, created by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas. The series also stars Bret Harrison, Ray Wise, Tyler Labine and Missy Peregrym. While attending Comic Con, we got an exclusive pass to check out the pilot episode, directed by Kevin Smith, and the following is what we thought.

Harrison plays Sam Oliver, a college dropout working a CostCo-wannabe The Work Bench, leading essentially no life with best friend Bert “Sock” Wysocki (Labine). The pilot starts with Sam turning 21 years old, but his parents treat him…oddly. As the day goes on, he goes about his mundane job while dreaming about asking out Andi (Peregrym). The oddities continue when Sam jumps to save Andi from a falling box, he swears he moves it with his mind, and encounters a pack of dogs with her in the store.

Things are topped off when Satan (Wise) himself appears in Sam’s car. As it turns out, Sam’s parents had sold his soul to Satan before he was born in order to get rid of his father’s illness, and on his 21st birthday, it would take effect. Reluctant at first, Sam takes on the task of being Hell’s bounty hunter.

What Reaper’s pilot does well is mix slight emotion with sophomoric-yet-still-funny humor. Harrison’s character is where most of the “more advanced” humor will come from, if you want to call it that, because of the type of character he’s portraying: a quasi-loser hoping for a more exciting life coming from Hell, of all places.

Labine is great for a physical comedy approach and is a very appropriate sidekick of sorts for Harrison. Peregrym, while clearly fulfilling the beauty part of the role, has yet to develop more as a character. She is good at what she needs to do in the pilot, but hopefully her character gets better as the series progresses. The same goes for Wise, who plays Satan in an interestingly charming way.

But what will really make or break the series is whether it can capitalize on what Kevin Smith has done with the pilot.
Will it remain as funny? Will it take a huge nose dive into the abyss and be cancelled midseason?

Clearly it is too early to tell, but if it stays consistent with Smith’s work, it definitely makes Reaper something to consider spending part of your Tuesday nights on starting September 25.