THIS REVIEW IS ABOUT "DEAD LIKE ME - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION", 9 DISK SET
So my wife and I started watching Dead Like Me on Video On Demand, and were both so caught up in it that we didn't want to wait for the second season to be made available that way... so we ordered the box set.
The box set *includes* "Life After Death", the movie MGM made in 2008.
Let me start with the DVDs of the ShoTime TV series:
Disks 1 through 4 contain the series pilot, and the 14 episodes of season 1.
Disks 5 through 8 contain the 15 episodes of season 2 and the bonus features for the series.
Up through here, that's 5 stars. If I could have give 6, I would.
Disk 9... contains the straight-to-DVD movie.
If you're interested in DLM and reading this review (and the many others), I don't have to tell much about the series - they stand firm as they always did, in high, widescreen quality, uncensored and uncut (and the bonus features contain a bunch of deleted scenes and other fun stuff about the series.
The movie, though. Oh dear lord, the movie.
The movie was made to appeal to an audience that is not in the know about what DLM is about - so the first 15, 20 minutes are an introduction (with cuts from the series), done in comic-book style, with Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth) narrating about what the premise of the story is. After the introductions are done, we're introduced to a flaky storyline about Rube (Mandy Patinkin, direly missed in the movie) having gotten his light, and having been replaced by a Cameron Kane (played by Henry Ian Cusick), who... has... some sort of agenda, plan, whatever, and uses the merry band of reapers to... cause chaos... or something, by having them mess up their reaps.
The role of Daisy Adair was performed by Sarah Wynter, who - I'm sure - is a great actress... just not a great Daisy. The series' last episodes had gone through great lengths to turn Daisy into someone with a secret that's eating her, a seemingly callous but very human, confused and hurt woman, who warmed up with every episode, showed fear, love and understanding.
In the movie, however, Daisy is a callous, uninteresting, selfish, vulture-like and petty wanna-be actress, with no depth, no heart and no struggle. One of the bonus features actually tried to explain away the Daisy part, but regardless of the reasons, it was painful to watch, and did not do the part of Daisy Adair any justice - better they had had her "get her light", just like Rube. Callum, Ellen and Jasmin Guy could have carried it off by themselves...
... or maybe they just shouldn't have bothered at all.
The storyline about the relation between George and Reggie (Britt McKillip) was done nicely, and actually allows for some feeling of closure.
My initial plan was to get the series, and rent the movie to see if it was worth buying.
If you buy this box, the movie is included... but if you already have the series, and consider yourself a hardcore DLM fan, do not bother with the movie. It felt like it was thrown together in a hurry (and the fact that *neither* of the writers of the movie had been involved with the series shows, big time), and feels more like an extended "crap, we need a finale" episode than anything else...
Aside from the Reggie/George interaction, the only good things about the movie were:
1. We finally got to see Murray the cat
2. The very, very last scene, after some consideration (had to sink in for a moment).
My wife and I... we'll toss in the series, every now and then, for a DLM marathon session... the movie will remain in its box, though. It's part of the set, but as far as we're concerned... only to keep the outside box from being too wide for the series' DVDs.
And that's why the product gets only 4 stars... I'm not averaging (the movie would make the average be negative, and that's no good) because the series and bonus features are excellent, as expected. The movie just... takes it down a notch. Sad, but true.