Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not Reaping what it has sown...

For class this week I read the Reaper pilot, and it brought back lots of fond memories.

See, I thought Reaper was one of the best pilots this past fall--possibly even the best. It gave me extremely high hopes for the series and the potential places it could go. After that first episode, I was totally psyched for the next one...

...and right here, before I bash certain things about the show, is probably where I should mention all the good things about it. Luckily, this is a really good show for the most part, so I don't feel like I have to reach for superlatives. The humor and dialogue is superb; the actors are uniformly engaging and fit well in their roles; almost all of the small geek-slacker moments work fantastically--basically, they get all of the little stuff completely right.

But back to that pilot, since I just read it and that was ostensibly the point of this post. Not only does it do the above stuff extremely well, it also sets a lot of cool things up that feel like they're going to be slowly explored over the course of the season and/or show. Including:

1. Sam's developing mental Devil powers/Sam sort of growing up and becoming responsible through his Reaping.
2. Sam lying to his mom about being free from the Devil.
3. Hints that the Devil isn't telling us the complete truth about things.
4. The relationship between Sam and his brother.

Now, I've definitely missed a few episodes, but I don't feel like the mythology or characters have really been advanced at all. With the sort of exception of the Sam-Andi relationship. And the Devil eventually mentioning that Sam has actually doomed his friends by involving them in Reaping. No real evolution in Sam's mind powers, no further exploration of the Devil's truthiness, no further mention whatsoever that I remember about Sam's brother...and the lie to his mom (which could have been an interesting source of tension for much longer) is resolved in the second episode.

Worse than this is Sam's continuing slacker whiny-ness and attempts to avoid his Reaping duties, which just gets old fast. That was the pilot, thank you very much. Please move on. BooM wrote about this much more eloquently than I can a few months ago.

Lastly (and if this didn't seem like it was hinted at in the pilot it would just be a personal disappointment), this is a show that seems designed to explore the grey areas of good and evil and feature way more ambiguity. So far, the escaped souls are all clearly evil and clearly need to be returned to hell. There really shouldn't be any question for Sam as to what he should do...and yet he does question it and try to avoid it. Annoying. How much more interesting would it be if in his "investigations" he learned that one of the souls wasn't so evil?...and then he had to make the decision between returning the innocent soul or damning his mom to hell.

Anyway, I know this is ending with more of a whimper than a bang, but I'm gonna be late for said class if I don't take off now, so...discuss or something. You'll figure it out.

1 comment:

BooM said...

I thnk you said it way betterer. Besides, you used brevity -- which is always the more awesomer choice.