TCA: “Reaper” a ‘thrillomedy’

ReapertcaThe pilot of CW’s “Reaper” has been one of the pleasant surprises in this year’s crop of new shows. Everyone I talked to about it says virtually the same thing, that they didn’t expect to like it as much as they did. It’s hard to describe in a logline, which is usually a good sign for a show. The CW has heard all the industry buzz about the show and thus skedded it as the last of their day at TCA Friday, in an effort to get writers to stick around a dark hotel ballroom around on a beautiful Friday afternoon. Show is particularly well cast, with Brett Harrison playing a slacker dude, Sam, who learns on his 21st birthday that mom and dad inadvertently sold his soul to the devil. Devil shows up to enlist Sam in his new chores of helping him track down nasty souls who have escaped from hell.

Ray Wise, known for his role as Leland Palmer on “Twin Peaks” and a plenty of feature character roles, is utterly charming in his role as the Devil, and he turned on that wicked charm (and ultra-bright teeth) for the scribes on Friday. So did Tyler Labine, who is very good in the role as Sock, Sam’s rambunctious friend and fellow coworker in a dead-end retail job at the local big-box Home Depot-esque store. Kevin Smith helmed the pilot seg but he was not on hand for the sesh. Exec producer Mark Gordon said Smith would be around to “help us out once and a while” but didn’t sound too emphatic about Smith’s ongoing participation. Nonetheless, he set a cool funny-scary tone in the pilot.

(Pictured above, left to right, top row: “Reaper” exec producers Deb Spera, Mark Gordon, Tara Butters, Michelle Fazekas. Bottom row: stars Valarie Rae Miller, Rick Gonzalez, Tyler Labine and Brett Harrison. Pictured below, Ray Wise.)