CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: Great Final Season of ‘Reaper’ Gets Lackluster Release
CHICAGO – Part of me is happy about the trend of TV being released quickly on DVD after a season ends, but what about when it turns out to be the last? Should seasons be rushed to store shelves or should time and respect be given for a show canceled far-too-soon? “Reaper: Season Two” is a bittersweet release, a set that’s barely even focused on the sophomore season of this excellent show much less the fact that it’s not coming back.
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
First, a note: I know that there is a small, tiny chance that “Reaper” might return in some syndicated form or on a cable network but with several major players moving on (including Tyler Labine (“Sock”) to a new Fox sitcom called “Sons of Tucson”), I’ve accepted that the show probably isn’t coming back.
If that’s the case, you can definitely add “Reaper” to the canceled-too-soon list. As someone who has seen early versions of a lot of the upcoming fall offerings from several networks (not just The CW, so don’t take this as a slight on what they have to offer in a few months), I can’t believe some of these pilots were chosen over “Reaper”.
Reaper: Season Two was released on DVD on June 9th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate
Although you really can’t blame The CW. They brought back the low-rated show for one more try and it averaged the lowest ratings for any TV drama. People simply didn’t watch it. Although it certainly didn’t help that “Reaper” was constantly delayed here in Chicago (and probably other markets) for sporting events. Even my DVR couldn’t catch up with it and I had to watch it on DVD. In other words, even a fan like myself didn’t watch it in its original airings.
The second season of “Reaper” was incredibly clever in the way it wove similar themes throughout the characters. The theme of season two of “Reaper” was clearly about dealing with predetermined roles - demon, stepbrother, son of Satan. How does being the offspring of the Devil (Ray Wise) impact all of Sam’s (Bret Harrison) life? Will Sock (Labine) respect the step-sibling relationship with his hot new sister? Will Ben’s demon girlfriend live up to her hellish background? And how will Andi (Missy Perygrym) deal with dating the son of pure evil?
Overall, I found the second season of “Reaper” a bit more inconsistent on a writing level than the first, but this was still strong, clever television and the ensemble found an even more consistent groove as a team, playing off each other brilliantly. They will all be missed.
Wouldn’t it be great if a final season DVD recognized the end? A retrospective about the history of the show? A commentary on the last episode from the whole team? A featurette about where “Reaper” might have gone if the axe of cancellation had not fallen? None of that is included here.
Once again, Lionsgate and ABC Studios do fans of “Reaper” a disservice by barely including any special features. There are four deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a mini-featurette that’s more about season one called “The Devil Made Me Do It - A Look Back at the Making of Reaper”. On a similar note, the video and audio are merely average, sometimes even dipping below that line.
“Reaper” has a loyal, devoted following, but the show simply wasn’t supported on The CW. Maybe it will return in syndicated form. Maybe not. But the fact that 31 episodes were even produced should be considered a gift when one thinks about how few brilliant-but-canceled shows even make it to that milestone. Lionsgate and ABC Studios should have produced a better set for the final season of “Reaper,” but as with most TV this clever, we’ll take what we can get.