‘Reaper’ is an American comedy series that aired from 2007 to 2009, with Ray Wise’s portrayal of the Devil standing out as a highlight in the show. Today, we’ll explore why the show remained an underrated series, although it was already filled with strong performances and innovative storytelling.
What Was ‘Reaper’ About?
Created by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, ‘Reaper‘ centers on Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison), a young man who discovers on his 21st birthday that his soul has been sold to the Devil. After this revelation, he starts working for the Devil and capturing escaped souls from Hell. What sets ‘Reaper’ apart is its blend of horror elements with a lighthearted approach.
Why ‘Reaper’ Was Canceled?
The show premiered on The CW on September 25, 2007, initially following ‘Beauty and the Geek.’ Despite a promising start, the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike affected its continuity and led to a halt after ten episodes.
The show returned for a second season but was eventually canceled by The CW in May 2009. Post-cancellation, attempts to syndicate the show or sell it to cable networks were unsuccessful, though FEARnet acquired syndication rights in 2013.
Ray Wise’s Performance as The Devil
Among the cast, Ray Wise’s portrayal of the Devil is noteworthy. Wise brings a blend of charisma and wit to the character, making him both menacing and entertaining. His performance often involves a balance, as he portrays the character as both a formidable antagonist and a source of comedic relief.
Wise’s Devil is not just a villain but a complex character with layers we become aware of as the show progresses. He makes us believe that there is indeed Satan behind his eyes.
According to some users from IMDb, his role has glimpses of ‘Twin Peaks’ Leland Palmer; however, it is a bit more over the top. Others also claim that this role is the biggest and best performance in Wise’s career.
Fans Want ‘Reaper’ Back
Despite its short run, ‘Reaper’ left a lasting impression on its fans. The unexplored plotlines, especially the one concerning Sam’s heritage and the potential destiny awaiting him, left many of them on the edge. As seen in Reddit discussions, almost all of the Redditors who watched the show state it’s a shame that ‘Reaper’ was canceled.
The show’s creators’ later project, ‘Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,‘ also suggests a continued interest among the show’s fanbase.
In a 30-minute reunion special that FEARnet aired in 2013, the cast implied that a Kickstarter campaign might bring the series back to TV, but as many years have passed, it seems there wasn’t enough interest in such a campaign.