Friday, June 02, 2006

Dead Like Me

I finished watching the first season of Dead Like Me a week ago. Created by Bryan Fuller, the guy who co-created the fantastic Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me tells the story of Georgia "George" Lass, an 18 year old girl who is killed when a toilet seat from the Mir space station falls on her. Unfortunately for George she doesn't get to move on to heaven (or whatever it's meant to be), because she's forced to join the ranks of the Grim Reapers, who's job it is to take the souls of the dead and guide them to the afterlife. Kind of like a first day orientation guide at a workplace, only more morbid. It seems that reapers aren't guys in black hoods with scythes, but ordinary (ish) Joes who's reaping jobs are as soul destroying (no pun intended) as your 9 to 5 desk job, complete with insufferable co-workers and bureaucratic upper management.

So basically, it's a black comedy / drama that centres on George and her little band of reapers, and George's family (her parents and little sister) as they cope with life without her. George was basically a smart-ass kid who didn't know what to do with her life, and the show spends a lot of time on her dwelling on her (wasted) life and coming to terms with her 'after-life' life. Her family, which didn't exactly have it all together when she was alive, continues to fall apart after she's gone, as the un-dead George discovers (although she's forbidden from directly interfering with their lives). The reapers are an insane bunch - led by Rube (Mandy Patinkin, Inigo Montoya himself!), and including the druggie brit Mason, the (wannabe) Hollywood starlet Daisy, and the sassy meter maid Roxy.

There's copious amounts of swearing in this (presumably because it was made for cable), which is a refreshing touch, although they do go overboard with it on occasion. The show has humour and has angsty drama, and both aspects are done well. Ellen Muth, who plays George, has strange mannerisms and a quirkiness that you'll either like or dislike. I grew to like the character, although her tendency to never NOT be cynical or depressed can get a little annoying. The man who steals the show is Mandy Patinkin (Rube) though, with his no nonsense attitude, his sardonic grin, and his tendency to pontificate with a wry sense of humour. And the food Rube eats (not to mention the way he talks about it)! I don't think you can go through an episode of Dead Like Me without feeling like munching on something from "Der Waffle Haus".

Overall, I'd say the show's very good, but admittedly I never got into it as much as I did Wonderfalls. It just doesn't seem to have as much charm. It's still much better than most things out there though. I'll definitely be checking out Season two - the last season, since there were only two seasons made.

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