Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dead Like Who?

Ok. For those of you who haven't seen the prematurely canceled Bryan Fuller created (2003-2004) Showtime television show, Dead Like Me, just imagine Six Feet Under but the plot doesn't unfold around people who live and work in a funeral home, but instead centers around a group of people who are grim reaper's. Sound confusing? It's quite simple really. The main character and narrator, George (a wonderfully sarcastic young women) died at the tender age of eighteen, by of all things, a flying toilet seat that fell out of the sky from space. Sound bad enough? It gets worse. Upon realizing that she was dead and after getting over her frustration, she quickly learns that she was kept on this planet to fulfill the duties of a grim reaper. Their duties are simple, remove the souls of the living shortly before their death and escort them to the "afterlife."

Almost like Buffy, George has a "watcher" figure named Rube who she meets daily at the local cafe to receive her daily reaping assignments, which includes the first initial of the name (and last name) of the soon to be deceased along with the time and location of his/her death. On top of all this, George and her fellow reapers still have to worry about having a normal job (George is a secretary at a typically annoying office appropriately named "Happy Time Temp Services") all a while making sure that the rent is paid on time every month. Also, although the reapers are still "alive" and people can see them, they are not physically the same people that their family/friends knew. Their appearances are distorted and they look nothing like they did in their previous life.

Throughout her short journey on television, George goes through many personal battles that she must face while accepting her death and new job as "watcher among the dead" alongside those who have lived a longer life than she did and have also accepted their grimly faith. For example, in the first season episode titled "Curious George", George must accept the fact that she might never see her family again. However, it may not be so easy for an eighteen year old to accept on face value. Instead, she returns to her childhood home and although her family doesn't recognize her, she still wants to be part of their lives. Quickly learning that it may not be as easy as she thought, George learns the important lesson of the dead hanging around their past, which goes against all the rules of the reaper guidelines.

I could go into further details about why I love the show, but instead I will explain the reason why I chose to write my blog post on Dead Like Me. Besides its obvious connections to the supernatural, D.L.M is another example of one of those brilliant shows that got canceled way before their time. Just like Arrested Development, Wonderfalls (also developed by Bryan Fuller), and Freaks and Geeks just to name a few. D.L.M is a precious gem among recent crappy television and without the repeats on the SCIFI Channel, I might have never discovered/fell in love with its brilliant character development and dark/twisted story-lines.

 It's been recently announced that a direct-to-DVD movie will be released soon, which is set two years following where the television show left off. So unlike some of the other shows mentioned above (Arrested Development will hopefully be made into a movie, YAY!), Dead Like Me will have some closure for the fans and I can't wait to watch more of the reaper's crazy adventures! Ok, now I'm off to watch more television, in the mean time... tell me what you like about the show or other shows that were canceled too early that you thought didn't get their fair run.

More info on Dead Like Me.


Anonymous said...

I followed this show religiously while it was on Showtime. It was genius. I'm so excited about the movie, though the Direct to video thing leaves me skeptical. I was also disappointed to see that Daisy has been recasted for the movie.

Steph said...

Yeah and Rube won't be in it... which is so sad because mandy patinkin is brilliant... I am so excited for the movie though, the trailer is amazing. I only saw the show after the fact when it came to dvd.... I think we should watch this show in classss!