Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Dead Like Me: Life After Death

Dead Like Me: Life After Death
tv show credits

Created by Bryan Fuller

Starring Ellen Muth - Laura Harris - Callum Blue - Jasmine Guy - Cynthia Stevenson - Mandy Patinkin

Narrated by Ellen Muth

movie show credits

Directed by Stephen Herek

Written by John Masius & Stephen Godchaux

Starring Ellen Muth - Callum Blue - Sarah Wynter - Jasmine Guy - Britt McKillip - Christine Willes - Cynthia Stevenson - Henry Ian Cusick

Release date(s) February 17, 2009 Running time 87 minutes

In keeping with the season I thought I would step outside the genre a bit and review a macabre comedy tv series and it's follow on movie Dead Like Me

I really didn't take a great deal of interest in the TV run of Dead Like Me. It originally showed on Showtime and since I did not have reliable access I didn't really get into Dead Like Me until it hit Hulu. by then I caught both seasons.

If you are not familiar with DLM, you should let me give you a 2 cent tour. It seems that death is handled by two classes of beings. Reapers which once were living people but now they are tasked with collecting the soul of the about to be departed. The actual death however is arranged by strange almost reptilian beings called gravelings. The main character is Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth) who in life was killed by a toilet seat falling from a defunct orbiting habitat. Her soul is collected by Rube (played by Mandy Patinkin) to join a group of other "Reapers" ( Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy and late comer Laura Harris) who are dispatched daily by Rube to "Reap" the newly departed's souls.

Even though the subject matter is somewhat macabre it is often handled in an offhand comedic fashion that soon grows on you. Patinkin is always good in whatever project he is involved with and you soon find that for the most part the rest of the odd characters become familiar and endearing.

Ellen Muth also does the narration which often added insight into no only what Georgia was all about but often encapsulated the show in a short closing monologue.

After watching two seasons worth of episodes, I was excited to see that a movie had been made of the show, but better yet it picks up where the show left off because you are at this point more than slightly disappointed that the show, even though they did their best to leave the show at the end of season two without too many loose ends, it was still great to be able to step back into the world of the Reapers.

And that is all you can really say about the straight to DVD - if you liked the show and want more....get the movie. Patinkin is no longer at the helm and that is left hanging (maybe hoping for another movie mayhaps?) and the crew is joined by Cusick who seems to be dealing from the bottom of the deck and all points in between. One big surprise is returning cast member Britt McKillip. Britt played Reggie in the tv series but in the intervening time she has grown from a petulant preteen into a beautiful young woman and honed her acting to a fine point. The change was so dramatic that had trouble at first believing that it was the same person. But she falls back into her "Reggie" persona quite easily and you never doubt for a second after that. The character Daisy was retained by was filled by Sarah Wynter which in my mind never really carried it off no matter what people say about how good an actress she is. That's all good and fine, she just didn't "Get" Daisy Adair.

But that wobble aside, the DVD was very enjoyable. I really liked the directors comments on the film. (I will often go right back and watch the same movie with the director's comments on so I can to get a feel for what the director intended) Director Stephen Herek was joined by Ellen Muth and their off the cuff repartee was funny and informative. There is another short extra on how the returning actors feel about rejoining the show. But other than that, the extras really are non existent.

The DVD is just a long tv episode, but if you liked the tv show (watch it on HULU first if you haven't yet) you will love the dvd. For just hitting the mark and enjoyment and discounting that there really isn't anything in special effects that wasn't in the show originally...I would say this is an 8 if you liked the show and don't bother because you will get lost if you didn't see Dead Like Me on tv or HULU first)

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