Reaper Heats Up with a Big Revelation

May 14, 2008

Tonight’s episode proved that Reaper deserves the sophomore season it was just awarded.  Since its return from hiatus, the show has turned up the heat on the plot culminating in a big revelation which will come to a head in next week’s finale.

The Leak****The following could contain spoilers****

In the last few weeks, the plot has thickened on this supernatural comedy.  An unwilling bounty hunter for Hell, Sam has been a part of a demon rebellion, helped discovered a mole in the Devil’s ranks and finally told one of his girlfriends about his second job.

But even Sam has no clue about the news revealed in the final moments of “The Leak” episode.  When Andi convinced Tony to use his demon contacts to check Sam’s contract with the Devil for a loophole, she had no idea what they’d discover. 

But what Tony and his friends find is missing pages that suggest that Sam is the son of Satan – a fact that I speculated about three weeks ago.

Now that I’ve finished patting myself on the back for my foresight I can to begin to speculate what will be in store for next week’s finale when it appears that Sam finally learns about his genealogy.

What do you think the ramifications of Sam’s parentage are going to be?  Can he then chose to no longer be a reaper?  And who will die in the finale?  Any guesses?

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Could Sam be the Devil’s Spawn in ‘Reaper’?

April 23, 2008

Last night the CW freshman series Reaper returned with its first of five post-strike episodes to close out the season.  But the fate of the show still hangs in the balance.  But it’s the status of Sam’s soul that I’m curious about – or actually more specifically, his lineage of his soul.

Sam and the DevilThe premise of the show is that run-the-mill slacker Sam Oliver (Brett Harrison) has his life turned upside down when he turns 21.  On his birthday he finds out that his parents (Andrew Airlie and Allison Hossack) sold his soul to the Devil (Ray Wise).  The Devil decides instead of taking Sam’s soul to Hell, he’d rather employ him as a bounty hunter for escaped souls, telling Sam:

“That’s a problem we’ve been having lately, what with overcrowding and so forth.  Honestly, we were underprepared for the influx.  I blame myself.  But that’s not your problem.  All you have to do is track down fugitives and haul their asses over to a portal to Hell.  Easy.”

The story sounds pretty simple and straight forward; and as you can imagine hilarity ensue when Sam tries to take down souls mean enough and bad enough to escape from Hell with nothing more than the help of his two best slacker pals – Ben (Rick Gonzalez) and Sock (Tyler Labine) – and a vessel given to him by the Devil:

“This will help.  A vessel.  Handcrafted in the bowels of Perdition, by the iniquitous and the vile.”  (Sam looks blank)  “Oh, I forgot, you got 600 on the SATs, didn’t you?”

And while on the surface the story sounds simple, the episodes are littered with clues that suggest there’s more to the tale.

First there’s the parents reluctance to tell Sam about the deal.  He’s dad stumbled through:

“There’s something I… I have to tell you. I, uh, I probably should have told you this a long time ago. I, uh… Before you were born, your Mom and I… sold your soul to the Devil.”

The parents tell Sam that his father was dying so they bartered the soul of their first child (because they didn’t they could have any) for the return of his health.

Then there’s the contract.  When Sam ask his parents to see it, they stall, coming up with vague places it might be before admitting they don’t have it.  An outraged Sam replied:

“You put the contract for my soul with my third grade report card, and Mr Huggles?”

And when he asks the Devil for a copy of it, the Devil claims inefficiencies in his administration:

“You know who works for me in my central office? White collar criminals. They hate me. They hate their jobs. I’m lucky if I get coffee in the morning.”

Eventually Sam gets it, but it’s so thick (think War & Peace) and written in legalese that Sam doesn’t understand it.

And finally, there is the unusual relationship between the Devil and Sam.  The Devil has taken Sam under his wing – acting like a mentor – helping him to succeed with his reaper duties and “interfering” with the rest of his life.  An example of the Devil’s guidance:

“Get the girl. Get the soul. I don’t care which, man, just pull that trigger. I’m tired of coddling you.”

It might not sound like much, but it’s clear that the Devil doesn’t dote on all his employees like this.  In fact, Sam’s demon neighbors – Steve (Michael Ian Black) and Tony (Ken Marino) – mention how rare it is for the Devil to talk to one of his charges, let alone confide in them in this latest episode, “Rebellion” in which the Devil invited Sam out for ice cream.

These clues make me believe that Sam could actually be the Devil’s son.

Think about it.  The Devil fears his enemies might harm his infant son (or worse, corrupt him into challenging his father), so he sends him to be raised in secret by humans.  Maybe the Devil traded his son’s safety for Mr. Oliver’s health or for the Olivers to have a child of their own (Sam has a little brother that we haven’t seen since the pilot). 

This explanation could clarify why the Olivers were so uncomfortable with revealing the deal and why nobody wanted Sam to see the contract.

And now that Sam has come of age, the Devil is teaching him the family business and getting to know Sam, thereby explaining the Devil’s particular interest in Sam.

Furthermore, in “Unseen” when Sam candidly asks the Devil if Cady (Jessica Stroup) is his daughter.  The Devil openly admits that she is not.  But it’s the way the Devil says it that makes you think that Cady might not be his offspring, but someone Sam knows (like maybe himself) is.

Either way, the addition of the demon neighbors has added a new dimension to an already great show.  I know some people might not have given Reaper a chance because it’s on the CW or because they fear it’s some dark sci fi show dealing with the supernatural like Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the CW hit Supernatural

In reality, Reaper is a comedy that relies on witty dialogue, pop cultural references and comical storylines for the slacker in all of us.  I particularly like the dialogue as you can tell from the many quotes I used above.  Unfortunately, reading them in print is not the same as when Ray Wise delivers them.  The Devil has the best lines in the show.

Reaper airs on the CW at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays.  You can watch full episodes on cwtv.com.


What’s the Best New Show on TV This Fall?

October 24, 2007

The Fall TV Season is well under way and November sweeps are just around the corner.  But how did all the new offerings this season fair up?  Here’s my look at the best new shows.

A friend of mine commented that nothing really wowed him this season like Heroes did last year and Lost a few years before.  I disagreed with him.  However, I found that the shows that did wow me were a different kind of show than either Heroes or Lost.  In fact, humor is what impressed me this year. 

Without further ado, here are my Top 5 new shows:

1.  Reaper
In this show, the devil once said, “Life’s too short to drink domestic.”  I say life’s to short not to watch Reaper.  My favorite show of the season, Reaper, has some of the best one liners on TV and they are delivered by none other than the devil himself.  Ray Wise steals every scene he’s in as the boss that won’t let Sam out of his contract, but wants to help him be successful in his role as the devil’s bounty hunter.  While Wise might not be a kinder, gentler devil, he’s definitely a friendlier, funnier devil.

But Wise isn’t the only star of the show.  Sam and his two slacker friends — Socks and Ben — will keep you rolling with their attempts to catch escaped souls using vessels given to them by the devil that include a dirt devil hand vac, a remote control car and a Christmas sweater among other things.  There’s also Sam’s super caring parents — you know the ones that sold his soul to the devil when his dad was dying (or at least that’s what they are telling Sam, but what aren’t they telling him?). 

Of course, there are also girls involved.  Missy Peregrym (Candice from Heroes) stars as Andi, Sam’s dream girl that he can’t quite pair up with.  Valerie Rae Miller (Original Cindy from Dark Angel) rounds out the cast as Socks’ ex and the only one of the friends with real career aspirations.

Maybe this show holds as special place in my heart because Sam’s antics at The Workbench (minus his devil duties) remind me of stories my husband has told me about his days in college working at a home improvement store with his pals. 

Reaper airs on CW on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

2.  Chuck
Brought to us by O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, this comedy is for the geek in all of us and a perfect lead in to the more serious Heroes.  Lowly Nerd Herd employee Chuck is sent an encrypted file containing all the NSA and CSI secrets by his nemesis and former college roommate, Bryce Larkin.  A rogue spy, Bryce destroyed the computer containing the secrets, leaving the information in Chuck’s head the sole source of these government secrets.  Enter Sarah and Casey (Adam Baldwin), CIA and NSA agents respectively sent to keep Chuck, or rather the information in Chuck’s head, safe until a new computer can be brought online.

Hilarity ensues when a particular image triggers the decrypting of a secret and sends Chuck and his handlers on a mission.  For me Adam Baldwin (Jayne from Firefly) steals the show as the gung ho NSA agent sent to eliminate Chuck but is now babysitting the geek while keeping a distrustful eye on his CIA counterpart.  And I’m particularly looking forward to Rachel Bilson guest staring later this season as a potential love interest for Chuck.

Chuck airs on NBC on Mondays at 8 p.m.

3.  Torchwood
Since the airing of this British series is a season behind on the Sci Fi Channel, I know that Torchwood has already been picked up for a second season.  But I couldn’t help but include it on this list for two reasons — 1.  I like this show and 2.  I wanted to include a cable show after all the great hits (Burn Notice, Mad Men and Army Wives) we got from cable this summer.

A spin-off from Doctor Who, Torchwood is even better than its parent.  The adventures of the immortal Captain Jack Hartness and his crew as they chase down aliens and alien technology as part of the secret British agency Torchwood are fun, exciting and captivating.

Torchwood airs on BBC America on Saturdays at 9 p.m.

4.  Bionic Woman
Will Bionic Woman be the next Battlestar Galactia, a TV remake bigger than its original?  I don’t know, but I think it definitely fills the gap left in BSG’s absence as BSG prepares for its final season.  In fact, I like Katee Sackhoff better as Sarah Corvus than as Starbuck in BSG.   Michelle Ryan impressed me in BBC’s Jekyll this summer so I’m glad to have her show up in another show this fall. 

It’s nice to have an action show on with a strong female lead.  It kind of reminds me of Dark Angel with bionics instead of bar codes.  I’m looking forward to more of Jamie’s adventures and to learning more about just what Will was up to before his demise. 

Bionic Woman airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

5.  The Big Bang Theory
This sitcom about two science geeks with lots of book smarts, but not much street smarts and their hot, blonde (insert joke here) neighbor is worth a second look.  It’s a nice pairing with my other favorite sitcom, How I Met Your Mother.  The one liners alone in this half-hour show keep me in stitches.

The Big Bang Theories airs on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.

While these five top my list as the best new shows of the fall season, there are a few more that I haven’t quite made up my mind about.  I think I’ll need a few more weeks with these shows to find out if they are keepers.

Pushing Daisies
While this new drama as already won critical acclaim and a request for a full season of scripts, the jury is still out for me, who is exactly 35 years, 9 months, 15 days, 10 hours and 2 minutes old at this moment.  I am charmed by the Dr. Seuss-like narration and the Pleasantville scenes.  The vibrant colors are visually stimulating.  But I’m wondering if all this charm and sweetness is going to keep me (and audiences) interested.  Right now I like the quirkiness, but will I be annoyed by it after 10 or so episodes?

Pushing Daisies airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Dirty Sexy Money
Right now the Darlings are intriguing.  Everyone likes to look into the life of the rich and famous.  And finding out that their lives are just as screwed up is not only a relief, its fun to watch.  Just ask the tabloids, they sell millions on those stories.  But how long before I tire of watching the rich and spoiled overindulge?  I have hope, but only time will tell.

Dirty Sexy Money airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Life
Do we really need another cop/detective/crime fighting show?  Probably not.  But the story of Charlie Crews still intrigues me.  A cop wrongly accused of killing his best friend and his family is released from prison after 12 years when the case is overturned.  The Zen-spewing detective with a passion for fruit and ladies goes back to work on the force while secretly working to discover who really killed his friends.  Will the mystery be enough to hold our attention? 

Life airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Journeyman
Quantum Leap this show is not.  But the idea that Dan Vassar just suddenly leaving his current life, really at no will of his own, to travel to the past to set some wrong right is intriguing.  Add the fact that the fiancee he thought dead apparently also travels in time and it’s quite a mystery.  But will the audience stick around to find out why?

Journeyman airs on Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Now that you’ve heard my thoughts, tell me what is your favorite new show of the season and why.


‘Reaper,’ a new CW show and a drink

August 20, 2007

I’ve seen a lot of different promotions for TV shows over the years, but CW has a new one I’ve never seen.  In addition to the typical billboards and ads, CW is launching it’s new series Reaper with its very own drink.  Pretty interesting concept.

CW will be promoting The Reaper (the drink and the show) at two bars in each of 10 markets (sorry Broadcasting & Cable doesn’t mention which bars) and 25 bars each in New York and Chicago beginning September 3, complete with promo goodies and television clips.

If you can’t find a bar near you featuring the drink, here’s the recipe for The Reaper so you can mix of your very own at home:

The Reaper

1 oz. sweet vermouth
1/4 oz. dry vermouth
1/2 oz. sloe gin
2 dashes orange bitters

Pour ingredients into an old-fashioned glass two-thirds filled with crushed ice. Stir well, garnish with a slice of orange, and serve.

The show, about a kid who upon his 21st birthday must become the devil’s bounty hunter because his parents sold his soul to the devil, premieres on Tuesday, September 25th at 8 p.m. on CW.