Brief Thoughts On Shows That Won't Last Much Longer

Reaper: As a WKRP nut, the Les Nessman shout-out could not have made me happier (even if they didn’t dare actually mention where the name came from, for fear of looking uncool). I wondered last night if this show could be a candidate to go to cable if/when the CW drops it. In many ways it’s the sort of show that used to be all over basic cable: fun, unambitious, low-budget fantasy. (Many of the writers come from the USA fantasy/comedy Weird Science, which was a half-hour teen-oriented version of that type of show.) The Sci-Fi channel, which I refuse to call SyFy, has gotten more ambitious in recent years, but they still have some shows like that. I can’t really get too strongly behind a “Save Reaper” campaign, though I’ll be happy if it does somehow wind up getting another season; it’s the kind of show that you turn on, enjoy and forget until the next episode. Which is fine, but the CW is a network that depends on its little-watched shows getting a lot of buzz, word-of-mouth and online repeat viewing, and Reaper is not that kind of show. But it’s all worth it to see Ray Wise’s devil leading an AA meeting and tempting them all to get drunk again (an idea that may be inspired by Bedazzled, where Peter Cook’s devil is always seen doing some kind of petty, nasty, annoying thing to make people’s lives miserable).

Kings: There’s really nothing to say about this show except that nobody thought that NBC’s position could be any worse than it was, and then they go and greenlight this bomb. I will say that while I admire the creator’s idea of doing an updated version of a Biblical story, he chose a story that already bombed when it was made into a Richard Gere movie. The story of David and Saul is so depressing and tragic that it’s hard to make it into a work of popular entertainment, but when you update it, the way Kings does, it seems a lot more like a soap opera than a great tragedy. So you wound up with a show that was both pretentious (because of its biblical origins) and silly (because of the actual story it was telling).

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