Reaper Reunion Special TV Special Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Premiered on FEARnet
2013, 23 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on May 28th, 2013
Angie Greenup (Host)
Reaper made its television premiere on September 25th, 2007. The show centered on Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison – V), a young man who found out on his 21st birthday that his parents had made a deal with the devil, promising his soul before he was even conceived. Satan (Ray Wise – Twin Peaks) arrives to take his payment not by the collection of Sam’s soul, but rather having him be a bounty hunter of sorts, capturing, through the use of “vessels” that the dark lord provides, those that have escaped from hell. Under the threat of his mother’s soul being damned to hell for breach of contract, Sam reluctantly does The Devil’s bidding with the help of his best friends Sock (Tyler Labine – Tucker and Dale vs. Evil), Andi (Missy Peregrym – Heroes), and Ben (Rick Gonzalez – War of the Worlds). While it only had two seasons, it was one of those series that managed to make an impact that lasted long after its too-quick cancellation. At 9.p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Tuesday, May 28th, 2013, FEARnet brings the cast and creators together for a special Reaper reunion show, airing a week before it begins to run the series in its entirety, and we were fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at it.
On my screener copy, the special is broken up into three different segments. The first has actors Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Rick Gonzalez, and Ray Wise reminiscing about the show, discussing such things as their favorite scenes and some of their experiences while filming. Two things stood out from the get go: the first is how similar the actors are to the characters in Reaper. Like Sock, Labine is the most vocal and amusing, followed by Harrison and then Gonzalez. It’s almost as if the show’s creators had each in mind before they were cast. Even Wise, like his Satan, while looking like a trustworthy gentleman, drops a few lines that may be considered risqué by some for a man of his stature. (In the third segment he asks one of his co-stars if he was once molested that goes virtually ignored by the others. I don’t know if they caught it and played it off or if they just didn’t hear it. I’m hoping the latter because it was a quick, unexpected, and funny statement.) The second thing I noticed is these cats seem to share the camaraderie in real life as they did on the show. Sometimes you’ll see on these sorts of roundtable discussions that the on-screen synergy did not cross over once the camera stopped rolling, but not here. The actors genuinely seem to have friendship both on screen and off.
In the next segment, the men are joined by Christine Wiles (Dead Like Me) and Ken Marino (Veronica Mars). Wiles portrayed Gladys, the demon at the DMV who collected the souls that Sam and his friends captured. Marino’s role on the show was that of the demon Tony, who attempts to lead a revolt against The Devil in the second season. It’s another round of the group discussing their experiences, including Wiles going a bit more into detail about the love scene she and Labine had and Marino discussing the problems he faced wearing the demon suit. Again, there is a sense of joy working on the series that you can’t fake, especially from Wiles.
Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, the creators of Reaper, replace Wiles and Marino on the third and final part. The two go into detail on when they first formulated the idea, casting, the effects, and various other aspects of what went on from the other side of the camera. They add a nice insight to the show that the actors were not part of.
Hosted by Angie Greenup (Jobs of the Damned), the special does a good job of intertwining clips from Reaper to mix it up some. Greenup smoothly keeps the show moving and her energy and excitement are a bit infectious. The bonus is she never interrupts any of the guests, which I’ve seen on other roundtables hosted by people of lesser skill and couth and it’s damn frustrating when that happens.
FEARnet has done a great thing here for the fans of Reaper. It could have easily just thrown the show into the rotation without any fanfare, but instead went that extra mile with this reunion special. Those that loved (and still love) Reaper will no doubt want to be sure to catch this at first opportunity.