Part of The CW’s “Wow, this show’s really good…what’s it doing on The CW?” category, Reaper started its second season halfway into the TV season with a scant thirteen episodes (a step down from the first seasons order of 18 episodes), which was sadly only the first omen of doom for this series. Despite ending on a high note, the fate of the show wasn’t quite as uplifting, as it looks like this show is officially “done,” with two of its starts moved onto other projects and interest in the show just not being strong enough for another network to pick it up. As disappointing as that is, however, there is one small consolation: both seasons are now available on DVD and ready for Reaper marathons around the world.
Hell just froze over. Reaper: Season Two includes all 13 episodes from the sophomore season and is loaded with special bonus materials including a gag reel, deleted scenes and cast commentaries. Declared “devilishly fun” by the San Francisco Chronicle, the show stars Bret Harrison (TV’s “Grounded for Life”) and Ray Wise (TV’s “Twin Peaks”), who received a TCA Award nomination for Individual Achievement for his performance. “Reaper” follows the turbulent life of Sam (Harrison), a slacker whose world turns upside down on his 21st birthday when he learns that his parents sold his soul to the Devil (Wise). Forced to be Hell’s bounty hunter, Sam, with the aid of his goofball friends, must track down evil-doers and send them back where they belong.
After the events of the first season, the second one starts off relatively different, as although Sam is still a hunter for the Devil, the whole “other” portion of the series is mixed up. Sam and Andi are in an on/off again relationship that is fraught with turmoil (mostly caused by Andi’s strange attitude during the entire season), Ben gets a new girlfriend and Sock shacks up with his stepsister (it’s…well it’s still screwed up, but not as screwed up as you may think). Sam’s home life is completely different as well, with his deceased father coming back from the dead and his mother not making a single appearance (save for a deleted scene on this DVD set). It certainly set up a different mentality than the last season with the “boys” living together and all of them having girlfriends at some point in the season.
But as much as they mixed the season up, it still felt like the same ol’ Reaper with absolutely hilarious writing and brilliant performances by everyone involved. Whether it’s Sock’s reactions to his step-sister or The Devil making Sam do the monkey dance, the season was simply brilliant and strong from beginning to end. They worked in elements of season 1 remarkably well and just everything about what they pulled off in this second season had me laughing my head off for the majority of the season.
Of course the season wasn’t perfect. As I mentioned before Andi’s behavior was a little strange, with her not wanting to be with Sam since he was the son of the Devil—it just came off as kind of selfish and unsupportive and it wasn’t a motive I ever really felt was made clear enough. On top of that she finally admits the selfishness in a drunken stupor, but it never goes anywhere…but then again, that was towards the end of the season, so perhaps it would’ve progressed on further in the third season…which I doubt we’ll ever get. Disappointing, but at the very least we got a batch of twenty-eight hilarious episodes…can’t really beat that, I guess.
The new cast additions were great as well. Nina (played by Jenny Wade) as Ben’s demon girlfriend was instantly likeable and a fantastic addition to the cast; they never even had her go into a predictable betrayal either, as she always was loyal to a fault. Of course they teased the “she’s a demon, can’t trust her!” thing, but thankfully it never lapsed into predictability. There was plenty to enjoy about the season, from the exciting opener to the finale that kept you guessing (it eventually went the Supernatural route of “God has a plan!”…which, oddly enough, is the only other occupant in the “Wow, this show’s really good…what’s it doing on The CW?” category), the season was a solid send off to the series.
Hopefully we’ll see it reincarnated in some form down the line (c’mon SciFi Channel! Or SyFi, whatever), but as it stands Reaper – Season 2 is a prime example of great television. It also was readily accessible, as I knew a couple people who were able to jump into this second season without having seen the first, meaning that they were able to keep it open to newcomers as well. It’s a shame we won’t see more of this show next season, but I’ll still hold onto a glimmer of hope that it’ll return…but in the mean time, I have the two seasons on DVD to watch, both of which come Highly Recommended.
Sadly they didn’t really do anything special for this second season release on DVD. The set comes in a double-wide DVD case that is the same size as the first season, although this time they included cover art that is about thirty times better than the cheesy looking first season art. Like the extras on the set, however, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that this was the second season if it weren’t for the text on the packaging, as the characters pictured are all season 1 veterans—none of the second season cast makes a packaging (or disc art) appearance. Also included is a two-sided insert that lists episode titles and descriptions. Video is a solid MPEG-2 transfer that reproduces the widescreen nature of the film in good fashion, with English DD5.1 tracks accompanying that are mostly front channel focused efforts, but a few surround and LFE sound effects get pumped out on occasion as well. Also included is an English 2.0 track and English and Spanish subtitles.
Extras? Ahh…I wish. Deleted Scenes (5:12) is a short, 4×3 reel of material cut from the season (Five minutes only? Really? Then again this DVD did hit the same time as the season ended on TV, so who knows how much production time this thing had) as well as a solid Gag Reel (8:17), also in 4×3, that shows that Sam Wise likes to call people “assholes” a lot.
But wait, there’s a The Devil Made Me Do It: A Look Back (15:15) featurette! Haha, psych. No, it’s not a look back on this season at all…instead this is what feels like a season 1 extra, as they use clips from the first season and talk about that season only—literally nothing about the second season is brought up. It’s an incredibly strange extra to put on here…especially since there are no commentaries, making the biggest “behind the scenes” look at the season the…well, blooper reel. Sad, isn’t it? Not saying this is a bad featurette (although they keep referring to The Work Bench as “Home Depot”…despite The Work Bench being an actual store in Canada, so not sure what the hell is with the Home Depot talk), but just an odd one to close out the season (and, likely, series) out with. Surely they must’ve had some other material to pop on here? Alas…guess not.
Overall a solid second season, but the DVD extras are incredibly disappointing. Recommended regardless, as the series is just a ton of fun to watch.
Reaper – Season Two is now available on DVD.