Reaper / Moonlight
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
Hello, fair readers, and welcome to another, fresh installment of First Impressions, in which the G-POP writers berate the shows of the new season for their shortcomings and praise them for the better things they do. This week, I will be writing about two shows that are more supernatural in nature, the CWís critically acclaimed gem, Reaper, and the not so acclaimed CBS vampire drama Moonlight. Weíll start with Reaper...mostly just because itís the one I saw firstÖ
Reaper: Reaper airs on Tuesdays at 9 PM on the CW. The show follows dead-beat Sam (Bret Harrison, The Loop, Grounded For Life) starting from his twenty-first birthday. Sam works at a Wal-Mart / Home Depot style store with his good friends, Bert "Sock" Wysocki (Tyler Labine, Invasion) an irreverent loser looking for some excitement in his life, Ben (Rick Gonzalez, Pulse) the groupís resident nice and helpful guy, and Andi (Missy Peregrym, Heroes, Stick It), the love of his life, who just doesnít know it yet. As he makes his way through his 21st birthday, strange things begin to happen to him, and before he knows it, he has uncovered the fact that his parents had sold his soul to the devil (Ray Wise, 24, Good Night, Good Luck) before he was even born. Now, the devil is cashing in Ė Samís mission: To use the vessel given to him by the devil (a different one each week it seems Ė this week was cleverly, a Dirt Devil Hand Vac) to capture a soul and return it to Hell. The devil seems like a friendly enough guy, for the devil of course, and Sam takes the mission. However, he soon learns that failure will bring dire consequences. So, return demons to hell and try to hide it from your love interest? No problem!
Directed by Kevin Smith of Jay and Silent Bob fame, Reaper is one of the better shows of the new season, mixing cutting humor with a sense of impending doom. Taking a great deal from Smithís film, Dogma, at least in the realm of the type of comedy, Reaper manages to balance some serious black comedy with some thought provoking conversations about the very nature of evil. Itís a big bite to take for one series, but Buffy The Vampire Slayer did it well, and itís director was on the same level of genius as Smith, if not a little higher on that scale. To me, Reaper is going to be one of those fun shows Ė not one that you HAVE to watch first thing every week, but never one youíll delete from your DV-R. Maybe, just maybe, it could become one of those must sees. It certainly has the potential. Iíll know for sure in a few episodes.
Moonlight: Moonlight airs on Friday nights at 9 PM. The show follows 90 year old vampire hottie Mick St. John (Alex OíLaughlin, The Shield), a detective and good guy vamp, who has learned to avoid human blood at all costs, and hates the idea of people who murder in cold blood. Even his closest friend, older vampire Josef (Jason Dohring, Veronica Mars), doesnít kill for blood. He merely sucks on willing participants a little. The only time Josef seems to advocate killing is when it is necessary to help keep the vampire secret from coming out Ė a fact that proves true in relation to Mickís good friend, reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles, Underworld, Tristan and Isolde). Why? Because Mick rescued Beth as a child and has been following her ever since. Because Mick is seriously in love with Beth to the point of doing dangerous things to avoid her discovering who he is. So how does a creature of the night and a reporter co-exist without coming into the light?
Iíve heard many complaints of Moonlight being the same as Forever Knight or Angel. I donít believe this to be true. While maintaining some of the cheese factor of Knight and some of the seriousness of Angel, Moonlight makes its own mark. Mick and Beth interact in an interesting way, and the vampires in this show seem more real somehow. The show is cleverly written, and its reveals are hidden cleverly Ė such as the opening dream sequence in the first episode, in which Beth is interviewing Mick on what it means to be a vampire Ė and Mick rattles off what myths are true, and what myths are bologna. Another difference is clear in the attitudes Ė not tortured or broken like Nick and Angel, Mick has attitude and knows how to have a little fun Ė and it reflects in the series. It isnít better than Angel, itís different, and itís worth a view without the stigma of being ďanother vampire show.Ē As a matter of fact, second only to Pushing Daisies, this is my favorite show of the new season so far Ė and I donít have a lot left.
So my view? Watch Reaper for some supernatural fun. Watch Moonlight for this plus dramatic kicks and romance. Watch both for a new serving for your offbeat television diet. You know you love the weird. These are good additions to your routine. Enjoy!