Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Underappreciated Gems: Reaper (2007-2009)

Underappreciated Gems: Reaper
Welcome to another of my underappreciated gems posts, the ones where I pay tribute to a TV show canceled too soon.

This time, I'm talking about: Reaper.

Reaper was a show on the newly formed CW network from 2007-2009 about Sam Oliver, a guy who finds out his parents sold his soul to the Devil before he was born, and is now, at age 21, forced into being a sort of bounty hunter for him, sending escaped souls back to Hell.

Though an hour-long show, Reaper was very much about the comedy. In fact I would call it more of a comedy than a drama. While Sam (Bret Harrison) was the emotional core of the show and definitely had some moments of angst about his eventually having to go to Hell, his best friends and coworkers Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez) were not always helpful layabouts who also know his secret, and attempt to "help" him catch the souls.

The beginning of the first season played a lot more episodic, focusing more on capturing the souls and the hijinks the guys would get into doing that, rather than an underlying substantial arc. The arc slowly evolved as the first season went on, and, as such, gave the show much more intrigue. The characters became people you actually cared about rather than caricatures. An important thing on a television show!

The second season amped up the serialized nature of the story, and made it more about how Sam was trying to get out of his deal and less about the actual capturing of the souls. Though that was still going on, of course. More moral dilemmas were presented for the characters, with more interactions with demons, and what that all meant.

And if you are looking for a love story, never fear. Sam's been pining after Andi (Missy Peregrym) for quite some time, and has to hide his true nature from her for awhile too. The nice thing is that the show didn't drag this out forever, which can become really annoying on other shows that take five seasons before characters get together. Alas, this show didn't have five seasons to do anything like that anyway!

In short, if you like to laugh, you'll like this show. Plus you've got Ray Wise playing the Devil, and you just can't go wrong there. He plays it with a certain panache that makes you like him even when he's doing terrible things. Personally, my favorite character was Ben. Though Sock was the more over the top funny guy, Ben was subtle, and I dug that.

Top episodes:

  • 1x12 - Unseen
  • 1x15 - Coming to Grips
  • 1x18 - Cancun
  • 2x04 - The Favorite
  • 2x09 - No Reaper Left Behind
  • 2x13 - The Devil and Sam Oliver

Best episodes to get you into it:

  • 1x01 - Pilot
  • 1x04 - Magic
  • 1x06 - Leon

The entire series is on ABC.com right now, and I can assure you, even though it's a few years old, it still made me laugh a lot when I rewatched the whole thing. There are some fun guest stars throughout the series, including Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black and Armie Hammer.


  1. Reaper was a great show. I was sad to see it go.

  2. Yeah it was just getting into its groove, it was really too bad.

  3. Bring this show back. This is excellent series. There are many web sites online where you can go to watch all Reaper Episodes on the internet.