For the last few months, I've been enjoying Reaper on reruns, a show about a boy whose soul was sold to the devil by his parents -- or was it? Wink, wink. I know, it doesn't sound very promising, and the first four or five episodes weren't that great, but show after show, the writers have really beefed it up so that there's a real nice minty enjoyment after-buzz.
Like Buffy, Farscape, Firefly, this show works because of the little details. I wasn't at all surprised that Kevin Smith is a consultant. This show walks on Smith's kind of dialog and trademark characters like Sock and Gladys, the demon who works out of the DMV. Of course, none of this would work without the excellent acting. Ray Wise is fun as the devil. Ken Marino is fantastic as the sweet, gay demon with a heart of evil. And Tyler Labine really knows how to stay on this side of obnoxious.
It's at heart a very old-fashioned show. Actions have consequences -- I mean, that doesn't even happen in real life. When Ben tries to defraud the government by taking money for a Green-card marriage, not only is he caught, but he goes to jail. The writers don't create some cute, impossible situation to rescue him. They just give him a "Go Straight To Jail" card. Excellent. And the writers know how to do it right: no tedious trial scene, no moral lectures, no jail scenes! So refreshing. Anyway, to continue with another obligatory example, when Steve, the reformed demon, tries to take the devil down through Ghandi-like methods, he's rewarded and sent to heaven. All this makes Reaper strangely more modern than anything going. I mean, it's so old-fashioned, like Biblical old-fashioned, it's new. I like that.