Wednesday, October 10, 2007

REAPER: Three episodes in...

REAPER was one of the shows I was really hoping I'd like. A lot. I really enjoyed the pilot. A lot. More than I thought I would. But three episodes in, I'm not where the series is going....

Every episode, Sam is bummed because he has to help the devil as he trips over the box containing this week's vessel. Then we learn of the escaped hellion, who has some gimmick (fire, electricity, bugs). The vessel is some generic electronic device (dirt devil, toaster, remote controlled car). Meanwhile, Sam must juggle his dead-end job at Workbench (where he will ultimately gear himself up to fight the hellion of the week). And in between that, he stammers around gal-pal Andi.

It's three episodes in, and already there's the feeling of a rut. There's not much ingenuity in the hellion-vessel combo. It's like there's a giant wheel in the writer's room to match up the gimmicks of the week. The show needs less gimmicks and more inventiveness.

Positives? Bret Harrsion and Ray Wise are both excellent in their roles. Tyler Labine has managed to not annoy as the slacker-overweight Jack-Black buddy that's becoming a staple. And the jokes are actually funny.

The show is quite fixable. It needs a serious through-line. There should be a build to something; Right now, Sam's situation is hopeless and he's not doing much about it. Is there a way to circumvent his new part-time job? Could Sam try to prevent the devil from doing other evil things? Could Sam become a comedic John Constantine?

The show should also dump its already-formulaic hellion-vessel plot structure and do different things. Either that, or the hellion plots are going to have to get a lot more interesting.

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