I watched a television show last night that I can only describe as Joan of Arcadia in reverse. The show is called Reaper and it revolves around a young man who discovers that his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born. The devil comes to collect on his twenty-first birthday and wants him to become a bounty hunter to return escaped souls to hell.
The show’s premise sounds ridiculous and I didn’t really have much desire to see it. That being said, I’m glad I did. It was a riot. It was hilarious and well written and left me wanting to see more.
The show really owes its concept to Joan of Arcadia. That is one of my all time favourite shows. The show revolves around a teenage girl who is approached by God. He talks to her every week and asks her to do something. He is usually cryptic but when Joan obeys good things happen. It was dark at times but very well written and a great dramatic show. It was a travesty that it only was on the air for two seasons.
Since the demise of Joan of Arcadia, a slew of shows have come out that really owe their existence to it. Ghost Whisperer, a horrible show about a girl who talks to ghosts is one example. Reaper is another. And there is another show coming out this year about a man who can bring back the dead with a touch.
I have watched several new shows this season and so far this is the only one that I think is good enough to be written about here. I should be mad that it is a rip-off of one of my favourite shows but it has such a different tone and it doesn’t come off as a cheap clone like Ghost Whisperer does. It is one of those shows that crosses genres and avoids easily categorization. It is part drama, part comedy, and part light-hearted romp. And although this theme has been tackled before on television with shows like Brimstone and The Collector, I think this new show has potential. Check it out!