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"Reaper" Tv Series - Kansascity.com Review (buffy mention)

Tuesday 25 September 2007, by Webmaster

‘Reaper’ - Tuesdays 8 p.m., the CW (KCWE)

It would be easy to say that “Reaper” is an attempt to revive the old “Oh, God!” movie franchise with a millennial twist — this time, with Satan come down to Earth (in the form of Ray Wise, much more nattily dressed than George Burns) to give oracles to a humble store clerk.

It would also be a no-brainer to say that “Reaper” is some kind of network-safe stoner comedy, with its premise of college-age dropouts sleepwalking through their day jobs at the local big-box store when one day Sam (Bret Harrison) turns 21 and then it’s all, “Dude! The devil just showed up in my car!!”

No, no, no. Critics have generally been as thrilled about “Reaper” as I am, but they keep wanting to hang a label on it — slacker comedy, post-Buffy horror show, “Touched by a Devil” … The truth is, “Reaper” is all that and more. That’s why it’s so good. That’s why it zoomed to the top of my list of the 27 new shows premiering this fall.

The work of two young women writers of the post-Buffy generation and produced by a team that includes Kevin Smith (“Clerks”), “Reaper” is remarkably well-paced and hilariously well-written. Neither the CW, its predecessor the WB or its parent company, the CBS, has a show anywhere near as clever as this. Scratch the surface and you’ll discover something else. “Reaper” might be the most faith-based show to come along since “Touched by an Angel” … and not nearly as mawkish.

Consider. In the first episode “Reaper” establishes (a) that there is perdition and that irredeemably bad people go there, though some managed to escape in a jailbreak reminiscent of the old Fox show “Brimstone”; (b) that preserving the order of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim worldview demands they be sent back; (c) that Satan is a wily trickster who will say anything to get you to do as he tells you (pay careful attention to his facial expression when he tells Sam he knows how history will end and that “God wins”); and (d) that there really is something to this whole purpose-driven life business, even if the inspiration, in this case, is the worst person in the underworld.