You wouldnt mistake George's fellow Reapers for the do-gooders of Touched by an Angel, but they are anything but grim. Charming British shyster Mason (Callum Blue) always has some scam brewing, high-living, fun-loving former flapper Betty (Rebecca Gayheart) treats death as a cabaret ("Reaping Havoc"), and one-time starlet and wannabe actress Daisy (Laura Harris) still nurses her dreams of stardom. Even hard-bitten meter maid Roxy (Jasmine Guy) manages to find a way to let loose.
Dead Like Me puts a light touch on black comedy, but it has a sneaky way of using humor to explore loss, loneliness, and regret, as well as kindness, and courage, and responsibility. George gets a hard lesson when she tries to wriggle out of her assignments like some overgrown kid, only to see the damage of her (in)action in "Reapercussions." And as George's angry, tightly-wound mother (Cynthia Stevenson) and withdrawn little sister Reggie cope with death, she breaks the rules to watch over them: their own pouty, glum guardian angel. There's nothing like your own death to put your life into perspective.
The four-disc set features all 14 episodes of the debut season of Showtime's witty black comedy. The feature-length pilot includes optional commentary by cast members Ellen Muth, Mandy Patinkin, Jasmine Guy, Cynthia Stevenson, and Callum Blue. Other supplements include the nominal documentary featurettes Dead Like Me: Behind-the-scenes and The Music of Dead Like Me (with theme song composer Stewart Copeland), 32 deleted scenes, and a still gallery. --Sean Axmaker
On a personal side note - it's wonderful to watch a show that, although shot in a Canadian city under the guise of being an American city (Seattle, I believe), doesn't hide the street names, the weather, or the skyline and scenery of Vancouver, BC! This is not a series typical of the usual American sitcom fare, thank god! It ain't a tiresome reality show, or a poorly disguised soap opera for the masses.
I would say that it would appeal to all of those who dig the movie "Donnie Darko", enjoy "Six Feet Under" and those who are willing to look at the humor in the blandest of everyday activities, as well as the inevitability of death with a dash of hilarity.
This is an original concept of a show that takes us through the "lives" of the undead few who have been chosen at the point of their deaths to have the responsibility of being "reapers" of souls in there not-quite afterlife.
The great thing is, even those these chosen undead ones, these "Bail bondsmen for the disembodied", are given the power of being reapers of souls, they have no special powers (except appearing not as themselves to those who knew them in life) and must maintain jobs (or commit petty larceny as the character of Mason does) in order to pay the rent, bills, and all of the other unpleasant factors of a real life. This particular gaggle of reapers is run by "Rube" played by Mandy Patinkin, meet at "Der Waffle Haus" each day to receive their post it notes on which are written the first initial, last name, place or address, and E.T.D. (estimated time of death) of their "reaps" for the day, and must find the time to do so despite their interferences of everyday "lives" and jobs.
The main character of Georgia Lass, or "George", the wry-witted, sarcastic and irreverent 18 year old struck down in her prime and chosen to be a reaper is beautifully portrayed by husky-voiced young actress Ellen Muth.
As the series progresses, the audience is taken through often hilarious, sometimes heartwarming lessons of life with a wicked sense of humor. Teaching that life is short, that we all die, that the little moments in life are what count and so on could've made for a very clichéd show, but this series takes such an original and dry approach to its characters and humor that it touches all who can appreciate a good laugh wrapped around a positive message. The majority of the lessons taught throughout this darkly humorous, often irreverent, always entertaining series seems to be "You don't know what you've got till it's gone", a message that cannot be delivered enough times to enough people in this crazy day and age! Having watched the entire series (seasons 1 & 2) on DVD, I was pleased to see the evolution of the show's characters into a solid ensemble piece of fascinating people rather than a single centralized character driven piece with caricatures surrounding her, which I must admit, was a risk that the series could've suffered had it not grown up very quickly from its initial 2 or three episodes.
Yet again I'm saddened by the cancellation of one of the few intelligent and truly funny shows on television these days - "DEAD LIKE ME". Why this happened to a show that is so well written, acted, directed and cast is beyond me, but I've given up on reasoning what is obviously a network decision based on money, ratings and the whathaveyous that control such things.
If you haven't seen the series yet, watch it, or better yet, get the DVDs and watch the whole thing straight on through - you won't be disappointed!