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New Season: "Reaper," My Favorite New Show

By admin Published: September 25, 2007

Premieres tonight

I've mentioned my enthusiasm for The CW's "The Reaper" before. Akron's Ray Wise makes a jolly but utterly convincing devil, and the show understands that it can be silly and a little scary at the same time, without undercutting either quality.

The premise, for those of you tuning in late, is that a guy discovers on his 21st birthday that his parents have sold his soul to the Devil. And Old Scratch wants to put the kid to work, collecting runaway souls.

What I'm struggling with is explaining why this is more interesting than, say, "Chuck," which is also about a likable slacker who suddenly gets into a situation he's not prepared for. In a way, comparing the two is not fair, because I have only seen the first episode of "Reaper" and I've seen a lot more of "Chuck."
Which means that I've seen "Chuck" begin to lose its grip on the more amusing aspects of its premiere -- while "Reaper" has yet to prove if it can sustain the tone of the pilot.

That said, my amusement at the pilot for "Chuck" was still relatively mild while "Reaper" had me wanting to see lots more. I think part of the distinction is that "Reaper" just feels more clever than "Chuck," smarter, knowing just how farcical to get without going too far. (The second "Chuck" definitely loses track of that line.) But we'll see how things go as the season rolls along.

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