The Devil Made Me Do It . . . A Review of 'Reaper'

Bretharrison_reaper_s2_240 Reaper finally returns for a second season Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the CW.

If you didn't watch the show last year, no worries. It's easy to pick up and jump right in. Quick recap: on his 21st birthday Sam (Bret Harrison) discovered that his parents had sold his soul to the devil. That means that Sam is forced to become the Devil's (Ray Wise) bounty hunter with the help of his two friends Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez). Last year, the show really heated up once Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black were introduced as demons leading a rebellion against the Devil and in the final moments of the season Sam learned that he was actually the Devil's son. Really that's all you need to know.

Season two kicks off with Sam, Sock and Ben returning from a mini-vacation to find out they've lost their jobs at the Work Bench and they've been kicked out of their apartment. And, of course, Sam must still do the Devil's bidding while trying to make amends with Andi (Missy Peregrym).

There is so much I love about this series. Labine is fantastic and hilarious as Sam's sidekick. He makes being funny look effortless. He's one of my favorite characters on TV.  Wise is pitch-perfect as the Devil. You know he's bad and you shouldn't find him entertaining but you won't be able to help yourself.

As thoroughly entertaining and fun as the show is, what's still sort of missing is that overarching plot that would make the series appointment television. The show needs to become more than just capturing the demon of the week. I want to see more about what the Devil is up to? How exactly the man Sam thought was his father fits into all of this? The stakes need to be raised all around. I never really think Sock, Ben, Sam or Andi are in real danger because they never really are.

We will see Marino, Black, and Sam's "father" again this season. Both Ben and Sock will embark on romances and we know Andi and Sam can't be happy for too long. This all bodes well. Because as much as I truly enjoy the series, I keep thinking it could be even better. It's on the precipice of going from being a good series to being a great one. And I'm confident, given the opportunity to come into its own, it will get there.

Are you excited for the second season premiere of Reaper? Talk about it below. And after you watch Tuesday's premiere, let me know what you think.

24

We are all in complete agreement that Sean is the most boring bad guy Jack has ever faced. He couldn't even muster up any energy around his treachery. Honestly I'm more fired up when I go shopping and forget my coupons.

We all knew there had to be a mole in the FBI. He seemed like the most obvious choice and he was blah, blah, blah. Sure it was fun little surprise that Erika (Ever Carradine) turned out to be a traitor too but you knew Sean was going to kill her for the moment the episode began. Also I think the series didn't build up the Erika enough before they killed her off. I wasn't invested enough in her character at all.

But here's the good news -- Sean is no where to be found in tonight's two-hour 24 episode (Monday, FOX, 8 p.m.). It appears that the series might be unceremoniously done with him. And frankly I don't care if we never find out why he betrayed his country. Really who cares?

And here's the even better news about tonight's two-hour extravaganza. It. Is. So. Good. I am so back into the 24 fold. The episode is the kind of edge-of-my-seat, pillow-over-my-eyes stressful episode the show is famous for. A lot happens tonight and I wouldn't ruin a second of it by telling you too much. But here's what I can talk about. The series seems to be on a huge "the ends justify the means" kick. Basically the show is saying that Jack's way of torturing people to get the information he needs leads to a greater good. If this season was about making Jack account for his actions, the series seems to be saying he doesn't need to. The facts speak for themselves. Let Jack do what he needs to save the world or suffer the consequences. Is this a good message to be sending? No but I'm also not looking for 24 to set the moral tone for real life domestic and international conflicts. I'm looking at 24 to be entertaining, exciting television which it really is. Jack is a conflicted, renegade hero, a complicated good guy who goes deeper and deeper into the dark side with each passing season.

I take 24 for what it is -- a scripted fictional series. Just like I don't think parents should take parenting tips from the ladies of Wisteria Lane and if the doctors I go to are behaving like the doctors on Private Practice I don't want to know about it, I'm hoping no one is looking to Jack Bauer on how to handle prisoners of war, acts of treason or threats to national security.

Here's what's great about tonight -- we get to see more of Agent Aaron Pierce, one of my all time favorite 24 characters. Jon Voight, who we last saw in the Redemption movie, returns. Renee (Annie Wersching) continues to be a fantastic character for this series -- she's got moxie and a lot of heart. Whatever Renee's fate turns out to be on 24, my guess is that we'll see a lot more of Wersching on TV. She's the discovery of the season.

I know a lot of you think Janis (Janeane Garofalo) is a poor man's Chloe. My take is that she's supposed to be -- come on no one can be Chloe! But what she does provide for Chloe and to the series is an appropriate foil for Chloe. Chloe has met her match from a technological standpoint in Janis. And it's kind of fun to watch a character out-Chloe Chloe.

All this is to say, that I think tonight's episode is simply fantastic. I'm ready to go all in on the seventh season of 24. Are you?

Highlights of the Week Ahead

All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for March 2-8

CBS comedies are all new tonight (hooray!). Romance blooms but not for whom you think on The Big Bang Theory (Monday, CBS, 8 p.m.). For a look at tonight's episode click here.

You can finally see Frances Conroy as Barney's mother on How I Met Your Mother (Monday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS).

You all know that I haven't been the biggest fan of Saving Grace, which returns with new episodes (Monday,TNT, 10 p.m.) I just never really connected with Holly Hunter's gritty, troubled, feisty detective or the fact that she regularly converses with an angel named Earl. But tonight's episode definitely intrigued me. Christina Ricci joins the cast for four episodes as Grace's new partner. The dynamic between Ricci and Hunter is an exciting addition to the series. I'm still not the show's biggest fan but for the first time, I kind of want to see what happens next.

Who are you hoping the judges bring back for the wild card round on American Idol (Thursday, FOX, 8 p.m.). I'm pulling for Anoop Desai, Jasmine Murray and Matt Breitzke -- all of whom I think made really bad song choices. During the Wild Card round, the judges will decided live which three contestants will become part of the top 12. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm a little nervous.

Okay let's take a little break from our bedside vigil of Dr. Carter to talk about what's happening on ER (Thursday, NBC, 10 p.m.). I loved that Dr. Carter's old school ways still prevailed in some cases and his scene where he jokingly told Dr. Banfield he came for her kidney was a great flashback to the Carter we knew and loved. Just like I loved when he asked Sam how Abby and Luka were doing. Noah Wyle only has two more episodes left (including this week's) and next week he'll be visited by an old friend. I don't know if I'm suffering from an overwhelming case of nostalgia or what but I'm totally panicking that there are only five more episodes of ER left. Also I have a question for those of you who don't want Neela with Ray. I'm okay with that but you don't want her with Simon do you? I wish the show wasn't spending so many of its precious final minutes on their relationship.

So what did you think of the two-hour Brothers & Sisters event? Are you annoyed that ABC kept saying there would be a shocking death and no one died (unless they were talking about the death of Robert and Kitty's marriage that is). I do like Robert's blind ambition in spite of his family obligations and his own personal health. I believe a man who ran for President would still want more politically. And, as I've said, whatever the reasons behind the Tommy storyline might be, I still think it's a good story line for the series. It makes sense to me that Tommy would want to reclaim his family business by whatever means necessary. What did you think of the episode? Talk about it below.

That's all for today. I'm back on Wednesday with this week's familiar faces, thoughts on The United States of Tara and more. Also coming this week, a look at Friday Night Lights (subtitled: why I love Tim Riggins). Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com. Talk to you on Wednesday.

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