Horror fans don’t always need the just darker aspects of the genre to have a good time. Everyone loves a good supernatural drama, but sometimes the angst attached to the genre is a little too heavy to take. That’s when phenomenal horror-comedy series like Reaper come in handy.
Sam Oliver turned 21, and his life changed. Not that it was all that great to begin with; he worked a dead-end job at the local big box hardware store, spent his time with two aimless buddies, and remained hopelessly head over heels for his co-worker dream girl. Legal adulthood brought with it some bad news: Sam’s life was not his own. His parents sold his soul before he was even born, and the Devil had arrived to take his due.
This woefully short-lived series follows Sam (Bret Harrison) during his tenure as the Devil’s personal bounty hunter, a ‘reaper’ forced to capture evil souls escaped from Hell and return them to the fiery depths, all the while trying to retain a normal social life and nab the girl of his dreams. He’s helped along by his friends, the affable Ben (Rick Gonzalez) and the funny if scummy Sock (Tyler Labine). Ray Wise, a venerable actor who has played both priests and demons on multiple occasions, stars as the perfectly smarmy Devil himself.
Reaper seamlessly blends the dark and creepy with wry humor and the day to day doldrums of a haphazard 20-something struggling to get by. The perils of Sam’s second job quickly begin to seep into day to day life, leading many humorously dangerous situations, including acid-spewing supermodels, DMV demons, and a baby straight from Hell.
Sadly, the series was cancelled after its second season and the CW was unable to shop it to other networks (both ABC and SyFy had been considered), leaving plot arcs and storylines unresolved and fans unsatisfied with the way it ended. Horror television would greatly benefit from more humorous, tongue-in-cheek takes on the usual spooky themes. Both seasons of Reaper are now available on DVD, Amazon Instant Video, and for streaming on Netflix. The series is definitely worth taking a look at, in spite of the unresolved ending.