Preview: Reaper


In the US: Starts September 25th on The CW
In the UK: Acquired by Channel 4 and E4. No air date yet

Remember Brimstone? Probably not, but it was a quirky little show starring that bloke off thirtysomething and John Glover (who’s now Lex Luthor’s dad on Smallville). In it, 30something had to return souls who had escaped from Hell back to their holding cells, while Glover the Devil looked on and made threatening, sarcastic comments.

Even if you don’t remember it, a group of stoned TV execs did because they’ve decided to revive it as something a bit less threatening and a bit more amusing – at least, to people who have been smoking a certain illicit form of tobacco.

Bret Harrison, fresh from The Loop where he played a former slacker finally getting his sh*t together thanks to a new job, here stretches his acting skills enormously by playing a former slacker finally getting his sh*t together thanks to a new job. For various reasons, the Devil now has his soul and wants him to work for him: Hell keeps losing its inmates thanks to all the overcrowding and they need to be returned. Harrison’s the man for the job.

Assisted by his brother and workmates, Harrison sets about hunting down the wrongdoers, with only a Dirt Devil vacuum and a growing set of unworldly powers to help him. Then there’s that girl he’d quite like to get, if only she didn’t think of him as just a friend. Ooh, just like The Loop, too!

Is it any good?
It’s fun. It’s enjoyable. It’s just not as fun or as enjoyable as it thinks it is, even though slacker god Kevin Smith directed the episode. By the end of it, you’ll feel like that poor guy in the room of stoners who decided not to smoke anything. What the hell were they all laughing at?

The Devil (Ray Wise) really isn’t that threatening. In fact, he seems quite good. There’s no murdering involved in the job description he gives Harrison. Just round up the bad people using the vacuum cleaner, take them to the DMV (a portal to Hell) and that’s that.

Already recast, the female interest has had something of a charisma bypass, but is likely to be warmer than her replacement, CW-favourite Missy Peregrym, judging by her past work (Heroes, Smallville, Black Sash).

Otherwise, the mindless tedium of Harrison’s day-job is probably the most interesting feature of the show. The gags are okay. Harrison’s as good as he always is in the role he always plays. But it just lacks any oomph.

Here’s a YouTube trailer for you.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.