The CW’s Reaper premieres tonight at 9PM with an encore being run on Thursday at 9PM. We here at RTVW have all seen the pilot and we liked it, some more than others. We briefly touched on the show in our previous sound off but, in this sound off, we really get into the guts of the pilot and discuss our reactions. Because this episode discussion does include some spoilers for the pilot of Reaper, use the link below to the full text of this sound off. If you’ve managed to stay unspoiled for the show (which would mean avoiding almost all of the promos), I hope you’ll come back and contribute to the discussion once you’ve seen the episode!
RAE: Reaper Pilot Sound Off… GO!
So, I’ve said it recently but I’ll elaborate a little about why the pilot felt uneven to me. I liked the pilot but I am not seeing the greatness that others are seeing. The potential for greatness perhaps but, as of right now, I feel like it’s a little off. I love Bret Harrison and I especially love Ray Wise as the Devil. However, I wasn’t feeling the vibe between all of the coworkers at the store and I’m still confused as to what exactly the show is. I actually liked that the supernatural seemed very dialed back at first. Almost as though it really could be taking place in real life… even the “vessel” is a real life item rather than something normally connected with the supernatural.
But then they went and gave Sam “powers” and really the only reason that was necessary was because they decided the people who have escaped from hell were going to be more traditionally supernatural rather than just “bad” people. In the end, I thought all of that stuff was a little over the top. That and the scene where the devil threatens Sam. Those things combined counteracted what I was liking about the show and that’s pretty much where my feeling of “uneveness” comes from. There’s a chance that’ll go away now that they’ve set up the premise and can just make it about the weekly bounty hunting Sam will be doing.
JUST JODY: I’m going to have to agree with Rae here… I don’t see the greatness others are seeing. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the Reaper pilot, but I enjoyed it in a room with 6000 other people who were all on a Comic-Con high, and had already been primed for laughter by the episode’s director Kevin Smith. I think that makes for the ideal environment for enjoying something like this. Had I been at home watching with my boyfriend, I probably would have cringed a few times at the over-the-top escapee from hell.
Bret Harrison was already a favourite of mine from The Loop, and he was great here too, as was Ray Wise as the Devil. I’m not sold on Missy Peregrym as the female lead… she didn’t really seem to fit with the two male leads, but that may be corrected with time as they get to know each other better. And I found the best friend character incredibly annoying. They set up the premise well, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. But once they had it all set up, they sort of jumped out of the boundaries they had established. Like Rae, I was happy that it wasn’t an overly supernatural show. I was interested in the how “escapees from Hell” would be handled (do they seek redemption? will they be punished?), and in how Sam would deal with his new station in life as a Reaper. But then they threw in this whole supernatural/demon aspect that didn’t seem to mesh with the ‘just a regular guy turned Reaper’ premise they started with. The whole scene on the rooftop with the flaming fists was just bad.
I will definitely tune in for a few more eps. to see where they will go, but by the second half of the pilot I felt that it was just another WB/CW show that would never reach the mainstream public.
POLTER-COW: While I am also not seeing the greatness (next Buffy, really?), I think I liked the pilot more than both of you. I found it very entertaining even though I agree with Rae that the tone of the show is kind of all over the place. I think it will find its voice in future episodes, though.
I really enjoyed Bret Harrison on The Loop, and he basically plays the same character here (even his name’s the same!), so no complaints there. Unlike Jody, I love Sock! I could not help cracking up every time he randomly threw something at Sam’s head. I saw the pre-Missy Peregrym pilot, so I can’t speak to her, but maybe the reason she didn’t seem to fit in was because she came in much later just for the re-shoots.
I’m looking forward to future weaponry. What will Sam fight evil with next? An old shoe? A coffee-maker? A cuckoo clock?
There’s potential here, and until it gets awesome, I’m sure it will at least be fun to watch.
R: Yes, P-C, I think that really could be the issue with Missy. Her scenes don’t feel like they were just subbed in for the previous ones BUT the fact that she was just starting to work with these guys would explain the lack of chemistry Jody and I are feeling there.
Also, who the heck is calling this the next Buffy?! People need to stop with that comparison. Don’t they realize it always puts people off?
SPADADA: I enjoyed the first half of this pilot much more than the second. The first 2/3 even. The supernatural stuff was just way off. And I agree that the sudden superpower was just weird. I had come to the conclusion that the telekinesis was something temporary that The Devil gave to Sam so that he could play the hero with the air conditioner and impress the girl. I thought that was why the constant throwing of objects was so funny because in my mind he didn’t really have a power. But then suddenly he was moving things with his mind and I was annoyed. (Honestly, I know you love Star Wars, Kevin Smith, but the Dirt Devil is hardly a lightsaber.)
As for Sock, I did like him. Though am I the only one (aside from maybe the casting directors) who remembers that Tyler Labine played the exact same role on a similar series six years ago? Dead Last, baby. An endearingly little show that The WB canceled after only 13 episodes.
Of course I love Ray Wise. He is perfectly cast and not just because he was Leland Palmer on Twin Peaks. The man is a great actor. He understands subtlety. The way he just hints at the evil he is capable of without ever losing his composure is so creepy. And he looks the part. What The Devil would look like in the real world. Another reason why the sudden supernaturalness of the show just didn’t work. I really liked the “everything is the same except now you have to collect these souls in vessels and drop them off at hell on Earth” universe. I hope they go back to that and pull back a bit from where they went at the end of the pilot.
This show was created by two women, you know. According to an interview with Kevin Smith in Entertainment Weekly, they were both writers on Law and Order: SVU who had an idea and went with it. Since the tone of Dogma was an inspiration for them, they asked Kevin Smith to direct the pilot, assuming, of course, that he’d say no. He said he partly said yes because he was so impressed that “two chicks” got the buddy humor thing so right. He wanted to put his name on the project to help them get picked up. Aww, it worked!
R: I did know it was created by two women but I did not know that Dogma was their inspiration. That makes a lot of sense and I can actually see this show existing in the Dogma Universe. I wonder how much changed from the original script to the pilot we’ve seen. Sorry, that was random, but I just wonder if some of the unevenness that I sense comes from the network wanting more or less of something than was originally there.
Weirdly enough, even though I didn’t love this pilot, this back and forth with you guys has made me eager to see where they go with the show.
GREG: I have to say that Reaper was less uneven for me in comparison to Chuck and Journeyman. On the contrary, I think Reaper did a good job at something that can be very tough in a pilot and that’s setting the stage without being boring us with too much (necessary) exposition. I also think that it found its style rather quickly and it worked (OK, well the powers may have come out of nowhere, but I can overlook that).
Frankly, I can see the comparison to Buffy and I think it’s a good thing. Is it exactly like Buffy? No. Are there some similarities? Definitely. I wouldn’t say that it’s the next Buffy (I too hate when something is touted as the next whatever). There’s the supernatural aspect, the comedic dialogue (levity), and the formation of a Scooby Gang to back up the lone demon hunter. Buffy had it’s share of cheesiness too (over-the-top demons for one), but that was part of it’s charm, and I think it works for Reaper as well.
R: I think we’re all agreed that the show is funny, has lots of potential, and people should tune in to watch its premiere on Tuesday, September 25th at 9PM on the CW!
Now that you’ve heard what we’ve had to say about Reaper’s pilot, let us know what you think! Do you think it’ll be the CW’s next big hit? Do you agree that the music is top notch? Is it the next Buffy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.