REAPER the Pilot
This pilot does its job well. It's not as funny as later episodes in both seasons, however, it does have Soc, probably the funniest character to hit our screens in like...forever! Yeah he beats most unfunny characters in any sitcom really but whatever. So it has Soc and it has the bizarre situation. It also has the great Ray Wise playing the devil and he's got his hands full trying to recruit Sam, the slacker who at first thinks he's being hijacked. "I'm not a hijacker, Sam, I'm the devil," Ray says with full mirth in his voice. The tiny dog scene is very funny until Soc whacks it wtih the car door but it survives. I hate animal cruelty of any kind to be honest but whatever.
There are also a few dead end characters and plotlines that don't go anywhere in the course of the show. Soc's ex girlfriend being a lawyer and Soc have some funny jibes at each other but thing about Soc is he has funny jibes to almost everyone. She's a lawyer so was put in to probably help Sam iwth his missions and the info on them as she does here. Her character doesn't really add much and I believe eventually she's phased out entirely. Ben gets his face fried early on and doesn't really add much here but he'll grow as a fully developed charcater later on. Sam's mom and pop don't really come off well, what having sold their child's soul to the devil but one thing I found out on this recent viewing is that they were really tricked into believing they couldn't have children but then the doctor who lied to them, well, was wreong and they had the first born that they had promised to the devil i order to save pop's life from a disease.
The effects are fine, probably better than most TV shows and the gore...well that was unexpected. The Three Stooges Meet the Devil is what this starts out being and yet, it's much much funnier and quirkier and from a new time, with all sorts of modern and almost modern pop culture references and music. Ben being sidelined early on, it then switches to Abbott and Costello mode. The one thing about the pilot is that it seems gorier than almost any other episode that I've seen, what with the devil showing Sam a man run over by an ice cleaning truck in order to scare Sam back into helping him and all the blood that the truck leaves as a trail on the ice...
The monster...a fire bug kinda guy is well conceived but unlike later monsters/souls, we find out little about him or his personality but that's allright, there's much more going on that it doesn't seem to hurt the episode or the action and there's a lot of action! Again, Soc gets the best lines but Sam gets some as well such as the "bad day" speech he makes to his father.
The other plot line that I'm not sure goes anywhere later on is Sam's telekinetic powers. I guess it would limit the action if he could move things with his mind and reach the fallen vessels faster or bring them to him. In a way it makes sense to lose this plotline because it would limit the danger if Sam were so super heroic.
Another character that isn't needed ...and again, I'm not sure...but I don't think he appears any where else in any other ep is Sam's brother.
And in this ep, for some reason, Andie, can see the devil. Maybe he just let her this time. In others I don't think anyone can see the devil as he talks to Sam but I could be wrong.
All in all, a good episode, much funnier than any Buffy or Angel and much more entertaining in a way. A bit too much gore for a horror show but I think the pilot was finding its way as a genre...it's comedy all the way after this really. And again, the effects and the action are rather good and any time we get to see a DMV that is a portal to hell, it's cool and so is Gladys, a character that definitely does somewhere in season one anyway. And she's funny. But not in this so much. But just watch Soc and laugh.