Wednesday, September 26, 2007

RETAILiation

It seems that the theme of this premiere season is "Retail Slackers." In just two days we saw Mr. Bennett (Heroes), Chuck (Chuck) and half the cast of Reaper hardly working at much-hated jobs at giant retail conglomerates...and in each show, the attitude was clearly that the job sucked the big one. I find this a little strange. Did all the writers used to work at big stores and hate them?

That being said, I thought the premiere of Heroes was kind of disappointing. The episode had no real arc of its own...just lots of setup. There are two new characters from Honduras, one being a woman who accidentally mass murders people and then doesn't remember it (similar to the Jessica side of Nikki, in my opinion). I'm not sure I like this, given the fact that the few women on Heroes are already weak or have negative powers (Claire always has to be saved...and Jessica, the strong one, is evil)...but I guess I have to give it more time.

Everyone is raving about Chuck, but I thought it was just okay. It's quirky, fun and really well shot. But I have two problems: 1. The plot is a huge stretch, and I'm having trouble buying it. Chuck is a now-stereotypical retail slacker who saw a bunch of pictures his old college roommate sent to him in an email and now holds government secrets in his head. Really? 2. It's not that funny. The show is definitely going for more subtle Office-like humor than Two and a Half Men-style punchlines, which I give it credit for, but they're just not that funny. The action-comedy genre is fun, but I think Burn Notice on USA does it much better...it's a little funnier, and the plots are less ridiculous. (Speaking of funny...I never talked about Back to You's premiere last week. It's a very tired, typical sitcom with nothing new or original about it. It proves that no matter how many Emmy winners are on your cast, the show will suck if the jokes aren't funny.)


And now...I am happy to tell you that REAPER IS HILARIOUS AND PROBABLY THE BEST NEW SHOW OF THE SEASON. I say this hoping that some of you have Nielsen boxes and will tune in since scripted stuff on the CW isn't exactly known for pulling in huge numbers. Reaper is produced by Mark Gordon (Grey's Anatomy, Army Wives) and the pilot was written by Kevin Smith. Strange combination? Absolutely. But it worked. It's a story about a slacker retail worker (I'm letting this one slide because the scenes in the store were hilarious) whose parents sell his soul to the devil, forcing him to work for Satan, killing evil people who escape from hell. Why it's ingenious: 1. It's clever and original. Two news anchors? Yup, we've seen it a dozen or so times. Doing deeds for Satan? Not as much. 2. It's visually exciting. Using a dirt devil to suck up a burly arsonist who can set himself on fire is cool to watch. 3. It's episodic - The main character will be chasing after a different lost soul each episode. 4. It's strangely moral - even though he's working for the Devil, he's actually catching bad guys, which makes him a good guy in my book. And, most importantly, 5: It's hilarious. It's a combination of subtle humor, nice punchlines, weird characters and cool visual gags. My absolute favorite line was when the main character and the Devil (a distinguished man in a suit) stood under black umbrellas, looking at the muscley arsonist they had to catch. The Devil explained about him, paused and said, "Oh, gag. What a tool." Love it. Watch it. Tuesdays at 9 on the CW.

7 comments:

Matt said...

Have you read the graphic novels for Heroes? The show and the novel are to be watched/read simultaneously, as you get background and more info on characters.

While yes, many of the women are evil, both Claire and Nikki's storylines are the two largest story arcs outside of Hiro's brief trip to the future to see NYC destroyed.

Though Claire needs much "saving", it ultimately is the women who have the power on this show, though many have chosen to do evil with them.

And Nikki isn't evil. :)

Matt said...

and "Reapers" is absolutely fantastic :) I'm glad someone else saw it!! haha

Matt said...

plus-- remember with Heroes that they said you didn't need to see the first season to understand the second, so in many ways, they have to re-introduce everything, so naturally there is to be lots of exposition.

Matt said...

and yes, chuck blows.

haha-- sorry...i keep commenting before i read the entire thing...so expect maybe 2 or 3 more comments :) haha

Rhys said...

WORD! I was really looking forward to his show and found it hysterical. The Sharpie eyebrows at the end...hee. And I'm alsways asucker for the every-person with a chance to be a hero angle. It's already my favorite of the new season, though I'm still waiting to give Pushing Daisies a try.

Love your blog! :)

philangee said...

i agree that chuck is seriously lacking in the entertainment department. It's a thirty minute sitcom being stretched to fill an hour. sad because I had high hopes.

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