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Damages Is Done, Should Reaper Be Too?

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Reaper is about to disappear from my TiVo. I liked the first episode, I thought it funny and clever, and have been more and more and more disappointed with every episode that has followed. I think the series is trending down, and based on the fact that last night's viewership was dismal, many of you out there seem to agree with me.

As you may recall, last week I complained that the Andi/Sam relationship needed to progress or die. Last night, virtually the entire episode was Sam lamenting his inability to get together with Andi, the exact problem I said had to go away. I understand that my complaining about something one week is not going to lead to an immediate change, but I have the distinct impression that the producers of the show think I'm misguided in this assertion. Their goal, it seems after last night, is to ratchet this whole non-relationship issue up. I could almost forgive them if I thought it was going to go somewhere, but I don't think that's the case. I would bet that it's just going to ebb and flow week after week and continue ad nauseam.

Be warned Reaper, you're this close to being cut from my TiVo schedule.

The problem with my cutting the show is that I will then only be watching two Tuesday night programs, Cane and Boston Legal, both of which air at 10pm. What will I do from 8 to 10 and why should I have to stay up until midnight to watch two hours of primetime? Sure, I could hope for more wildfires that get Boston Legal pre-empted for a special edition of 20/20, and that eventually ABC will shift Boston Legal to 9pm in order to air the episodes they have waiting in the wings, but that's just plain mean. Even I think that hoping for such a thing is completely wrong and wish for nothing but a speedy end to the problems in Southern California.

I do like Cane though. I know that the show is just a rehash of the umpteen high-powered catty family shows that have come before it (Dallas, Dynasty, et cetera), but Jimmy Smits, Nestor Carbonell, and Hector Elizondo are enough to keep me tuning in. Jimmy Smits is quite the brooder, proving as much last night, when the scowl never left his face. Carbonell's Frank Duque though constantly wavered about how he felt about his own actions. The man clearly wants to do what is best for his family and just doesn't seem quite sure what that is. I don't think that he has any desire at this moment to have power over Smits's Alex Vega simply to have power, I think he actually wants to help his family. It's just too bad that Elizondo didn't get much time on the show last night.

Now, finally, a few words about the Damages finale. My goodness, for a show that I so looked forward to, a show that I so thought could be fun and smart and keep me guessing, it only managed to do one of those three things. Throughout the entire season I sat there and I kept guessing – I guessed as to why the cops could be so stupid, I guessed as to whether the producers knew where they were going, I guessed as to why they structure the show with so many flashbacks and flash forwards. I actually came up with an answer for the last of these questions: the show had to be structured that way to keep the audience from being able to grasp a clear picture of what was happening, as the plot never made any logical sense and showing the events sequentially would make that clear.

Oh sure, the finale tried to fix some of that with the D.A. wanting to prosecute Ellen despite the evidence (you know the blood on her coat that wasn't hers or David's that the cops never seemed to care about) in order to get votes, but that felt more like a cheap way to fix the show's mistakes. And, I respect the idea that the show wanted to set up the second season last night, introducing the FBI thing, but that felt so hugely out of place and silly I can't imagine why they did it. What I really want to know is whether Frobisher lived. Last night, seeing another scene between Glenn and Ted Danson, I had to wonder why these two didn't come face to face more often. Every time they butted heads it made for great television. The murder mystery felt so forced, what the show really needed was these two actors squaring off week after week.

That is something I would tune in for if there is a second season.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.