Sociable

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Running with the Devil


I love Satan.
Oh, well, not the actual, biblical fire and brimstone Satan.
No, I'm referring to the quippy, charming well-dressed version of the Prince of Darkness played by Ray Wise on the CW's lovable, if uneven, horror comedy "Reaper." When the series debuted last season, it was one of the standouts of the freshman class. It focused on the adventures of young Sam (Bret Harrison), who finds out at the age of 21 that his parents sold his soul to the devil when he was a baby. The devil (Wise) comes to collect, making Sam his own personal bounty hunter, returning escaped souls to hell. The pilot was bright, funny and smart, with a standout performance by Wise.
If subsequent episodes weren't quite as good, they were still charming diversions, with Wise dependably hilarious as one of the wittiest devils in pop culture. Harrison was also good, believably befuddled and easy to root for, and he had great rapport with Wise. Tyler Labine was a love him or hate him presence as Sam's obnoxious best bud Sock, but I found him funny, and liked the relationship between them and their third friend, Ben (Rick Gonzalez). The show was a pleasant, if undemanding, way to spend an hour.
The show's second season starts Tuesday at 8 p.m. and, while it still isn't a slam dunk, the episode is a strong one, with Sam coming to grips with the fact that he might be devil's son. This new aspect to their relationship adds a nice friction to the scenes between Wise and Harrison, and Wise delivers a fairly creepy speech in which he informs Sam that there are no real benefits to being the Son of Satan.
In other developments, Sam's love interest. Andy (Missy Peregrym), wants to end things and Sock finds out that his mom's new husband has a hot daughter his age who is SO excited about having a big brother. Ouch.
Add in a fight club of escaped souls, Sock's frightening list of nicknames for himself (e.g. Sock Puppet and Johann Sebastian Sock), and the always-welcome use of Joe "Bean" Esposito's 80's classic "You're the Best," and you have a pretty solid hour.
Reaper airs 8 p.m. Tuesday on the CW.

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