Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Doctor Jeager, Doctor Cuervo, Doctor Captain Morgan. He has two titles.": Reaper

Yeah, yeah. I've been reading all sorts of complaints about how Reaper episode two isn't as good as the pilot, and Chuck episode two isn't as good as the pilot, and blah. Don't give up hope just yet folks! I perfectly enjoyed this ep, although it definitely suffered a little from rehash-itis. I'm always willing to forgive the second episode of a new show, though. Especially in shows like Chuck and Reaper, where the pilots introduce an entirely new situation for our hero and give away a lot of information at once. That means the writers are forced to try and recap this stuff as succinctly as possible for any new viewers. It also means that the second episode is kinda the template episode for all future episodes to come. It's where we see the skeleton idea of how the show will run week-to-week, although by the third episode the writers are usually already fooling with the formula and advancing stuff along. That second episode, though, well, it's a tricky one. I can think of a half dozen other shows this is true for just off the top of my head.

Anyway, my main criticism of this episode? Not enough Missy Peregrym! She got even hotter since last week! Her brief moments onscreen were fine, especially when she said the cart-recovery duty was her favorite because she got to see lots of movies and hang out. That sounds like, my perfect job. Especially if I got to hang out with Missy Peregrym. Damn! In all seriousness, though, I hope Sam and Andi get together sooner rather than later. There's isn't really a will-they-won't-they thing, it's more a when-the-hell-will-Sam-man-up-and-ask-this-girl-on-a-freakin'-date kinda thing. I hope they don't employ some lame plot device to drive them apart for a couple episodes, either. It's the inevitable, guys. You laid it all out there in the pilot. Let 'em do it already. Or at least get her in on the missions.

The mission itself was pretty darn similar to last week's, I'll admit. Okay, so the guy shot lightning instead of fire, but they're obviously gonna have to get creative quickly about these things or the monster-of-the-week stuff is gonna get boring quickly. Already I am wondering about the long-term future of this show, how they're going to keep things fresh, cause Sam, Sock and Ben dressing up like idiots to fight a dead dude is clearly already getting a bit creaky. Nevertheless. Sam, Sock and Ben have terrific friend-chemistry going. The collective freakout moments where they all yell and cry and laugh at each other at the same time while under elemental attack are something you can't fake. These guys are darn good together. Tyler Labine's little asides and conversational tics are terrific too. Plus, bring in his ex-girlfriend more than one scene per episode please! She raises Labine's game a notch every time they're together. Also, the bit where the RC car got crushed by a real car and Sock said "Okay, so...that happened". That was great. The real problem here isn't the action scenes or the goofy scenes in the Home Depot place, it's the investigation stuff. So far both Sam and the audience's brain hasn't really been heavily taxed and the damned's stories has been pretty mundane. Hopefully things will get a little more complex and interesting in future weeks.

Ray Wise was used pretty skimpily here too, but I'm more okay with that. He's so sensational, the writers should be trying to withhold him as much as possible because it makes it all the better when he shows up. However, his scenes were a little boring, mostly involving him needling Sam into doing his unholy duty. This is something we already went through in the pilot. I don't want to see Sam playing the 'hide the Satan box' game in episode three--he needs to embrace what he's doing, on some level at least, or else the show is gonna feel very uneasy. Plus Ray-Satan is much better when he's dropping casual pop culture references and smiling like a shark that just broke the glass bottomed boat. Less exposition, more larfs next week please. And, Ray Wise for the Emmy.

The final story here was Sam working up the courage to tell his mother he had lied to her in the pilot, and that he was still working for Satan. This was absolutely the right call storywise, and I'm glad they got it out of the way this quickly. Sam lying to his mom in the pilot was a nice quiet beat in a hectic pilot, plus it established the essential niceness of his character. However keeping it a secret would be kinda mean and patronizing, and it would lead to all sorts of "secret? what secret?" scenes like the ones we had today (and the ones we're gonna get for a while on Chuck)--let's be honest, those are usually boring. The only problem was, the family stuff didn't quite fit in with this episode, where there was always something else going on, somewhere else to run to, so it kinda felt jumbled and tacked on. That's a streamlining issue, though, and plenty of new shows have those. I'm still very excited about where Reaper is going. Don't desert it in droves, peeps! The numbers are good enough that this could actually SURVIVE on the CW. Exciting!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Sorry to compare Chuck and Reaper yet again...but I'm going to compare Chuck and Reaper yet again.

I'm a bit concerned about the long-term viability of Reaper but not that of Chuck. The second episode of Chuck didn't bother me very much -- I can see where there are legs to that show and that the writers really understand the tone they are trying to achieve. That's a tricky balance and I think they're doing a good job with it. I actually thought the episode was far better than critics made me believe it would be. Microbots in quiche! I am down with wacky crap like that. I think it helps that the show reminds me of a funnier, better version of Jake 2.0, which I liked a lot.

On Reaper, however, I felt like everything was just a less-funny, far worse paced version of what happened in the pilot. I found much of it to be tedious. And I didn't even like Ray Wise, other than the shopping cart gag in the parking lot. Shouldn't the devil be more, devil-y? He's came off far too nice for me. Maybe I watch too much Supernatural and cannot accept evil things as having a nice side. I don't know. I loved him in the pilot, I just don't want to see a nice devil all the time. (I did love the "...well, that happened" moment. Ha!)

I'm still going to stick with both and see what happens. So far, though, Chuck is winning me over a bit faster.