Reaper is the story of Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) who, on his twenty-first birthday, learns his parents sold his soul to the devil (Ray Wise). He must now become a bounty hunter for the devil and capture souls that have escaped hell. Sam is given a vessel (some object like a fire extinguisher, a taser, or something equally as weird at first glance) to help aid him in containing the soul until he can deposit it in the receptacle that leads back to hell. The receptacle’s location is in the DMV, which explains so much of why the DMV is the way it is.
At the end of the first season, Sam learns that his father isn’t his real father — the devil is! That revelation, plus the fact that someone was able to get out of their deal, gives Sam his purpose for the second season – find out if the devil is his dad (since how can you believe the prince of lies) and find out how the person got out of their deal and do the same. So Sam, along with his on again, off again girlfriend Andi (Missy Peregrym) and his best friends Bert 'Sock' Wysocki (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), must get to the bottom of both goals. They must also help Sam accomplish his bounty hunter duties and outwit the devil, who likes to throw Sam curve balls – like a new bounty hunter Morgan (Armie Hammer) who is another of the Devil’s offspring and dear old dad has decided to pit Morgan against Sam. The winner of these “tests” gets to eventually take over running Hell, while the loser will end up dead — or worse.
Reaper is a fun show, strengthened by its ensemble cast. The relationship between Sam and Andi isn’t your typical boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, especially since Sam’s dad could be the devil. Also atypical is the friendship of Sam, Sock, and Ben, which shows that only your closest friends could take the news that you’re now a bounty hunter for Satan, and that he could be your dad. Ray Wise is perfect as the smarmy, backstabbing, always impeccably dressed and tanned devil. He almost outshines Harrison as Sam, and probably would do so if he had more screen time.
This looks to be the last season of Reaper as it was canceled shortly after the season finale. There are rumors the show may return in syndication, but with Tyler Labine and several executive producers finding work on new shows and the latest rumor of Brett Harrison finding new work, we may never know how Sam might have gotten his soul back. The show started strong after its first season, but then was relegated to a mid-season replacement with only 13 episodes. It wasn’t highly promoted for its return and being off the air for eight months might have killed its momentum. I have similar worries when the show Chuck comes back after being off the air for eight months as well.
Sadly the extras aren’t that great for this release. The first season had a commentary with the creators, a gag reel, and deleted scenes. This time out there’s a making of featurette, however it’s for the first season! So there’s no input from the new cast members from season two, and while it’s an interesting featurette which includes comments from pilot director Kevin Smith, a look at the sets and the vessel props used to send the escaped souls back to hell, this featurette belongs on the first season release and feels like an afterthought here. There are also deleted scenes which were either extensions of scenes in the episode or the information is given in another scene; either way the scenes were cut for time and don’t reveal much. Rounding things out is a fun eight-minute gag reel with the highlights being the flubs of Tyler Labine and Ray Wise.
The show was fun and quirky and a rarity in today’s TV lineup. Unfortunately funny and quirky don’t often last long with today’s TV viewers. Just ask Pushing Daisies and Reaper.