Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dead Like Me - The Complete Second Season|
Actors: Ellen Muth, Mandy Patinkin, Callum Blue, Laura Harris
Directors: James Marshall (III), Tony Westman, Milan Cheylov, David Straiton
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television
Proving that "reapers are anything but grim company" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), this "deliciously dark comedy about the afterlife" (Newsday) returns for "a second season as strong as its first" (Philadelphia Daily News). Th... more »
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Robert G. (rural631) from SPRINGFIELD, MO
Reviewed on 1/29/2011...
Ellen Muth plays George, a teenage girl who gets killed by a toilet seat fallen from a Russian space station and becomes a Reaper. Funny, irreverent and thoughtful, this just might be one of the best TV series ever made.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
That rare show that is even better in its second season
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"July 2007 Update!!!!!! There is going to be a movie! So the first sentence in my original review below turns out to be inaccurate. Star Ellen Muth goes so far as to hint that that a renewal of the series might be possible. Details are still forthcoming and apart from the movie (and I'm sorry, I don't know if this is a TV, a direct-to-DVD, or theatrical release) nothing definite is known about the chances of the series being revived, but this is definitely good news. There is some recasting. Mandy Patinkin, unfortunately, will not be back as Rube nor will Laura Harris as Daisy. It appears Rube's character is being replaced by a new head reaper, while a new actress will be playing Daisy. Otherwise all the other actors will be back.
Tragically, this will be the final season of DEAD LIKE ME that we will get. Although there is currently a campaign being waged to rescue the show, these campaigns inevitably and unfortunately result in failure. The cancellation of the show is hard to explain. It isn't as if Showtime has such a great string of hit shows that their valuable time slots had to be freed up for new critical and popular hit series. The fact is that DEAD LIKE ME was the finest show the network ever hosted, and its cancellation is both a blow to quality television on Showtime in particular but also television as a whole. The past few years have seen a host of the very best shows on television get cancelled. The list is long and contains some very impressive shows: FIREFLY, ANGEL, WONDERFALLS, KAREN SISCO, FARSCAPE, and many others. My lone cause for hope for the short term future of quality television is that LOST enjoyed such tremendous success in its first season that networks are currently scrambling for long story arc shows with well written, deeply interconnected scripts that typified all of the shows I mentioned above. Maybe, just maybe, the tide has turned. Unfortunately, not soon enough to save DEAD LIKE ME.
In its first season, DEAD LIKE ME quickly established itself as one of the quirkiest and finest shows on television. As any watcher of the show will know, Georgia Lass was a young girl who became a grim reaper after dying in a bizarre accident. The show explored what it means to be alive through the struggles of one who was no longer alive, but who nonetheless still was confronted with the need to persist in a world in which in many ways she no longer belonged. Issues of friendship, work, belonging, responsibility were all dealt with in clever, intelligent, and funny ways. The great news for those who haven't seen this series (and there are many who don't have Showtime and therefore rely on DVDs for their experience with the show) is that Season Two is a much, much better season than the first. Without exception, the writers manage to develop and expand all of the major characters, with the exception of George's father, who plays a lessened role. George becomes a far richer character, finally at ease with being a reaper and acknowledging that she has responsibilities. Her challenge in Season Two is deciding what she wants with the unlife that she has. She struggles with issues of love, and grows considerably as a human being. Even more than George, Rube (Mandy Patinkin) becomes a more complex, interesting character. In a slowly developed story arc, we learn more about Rube's life, we get glimpses of his family (he learns that a daughter he fathered in real life is still living, and he visits her in a nursing home immediately before her death), and are given some hints as to his death (the results of a bank robbery, the details of which might have been explored in Season Three). Mason, without ceasing to be a bit of a clown (in one episode, "Send in the Clown," literally), is revealed in far more complex and interesting person than he did in Season One, while Daisy Adair becomes vastly more than the mere self-obsessed sexpot she was earlier. In fact, Daisy becomes a many layered, sympathetic, impossible-to-predict individual. In particular, her relationship with Mason, who is completely smitten with her, is developed in great detail. George discovers that her parents are divorcing and that they are selling the house she grew up in, and we see her mother exploring new romance, and we watch her relationship with her daughter Reggie gain some depth as George's sister gradually comes out of the shellshock that gripped her in the first season following George's death.
What is remarkable to me is that the show managed to become richer and more complex on virtually every level, all while generating a string of great individual episodes. The frustrating thing about the show not being renewed is that there were a host of unexplored possibilities, so many unanswered questions. Would George manage to find love? Would her parents reconcile or find new relationships? Would her mother find a buyer for the house? Just how did Rube die, and was it related to the bank robbery? Would anything ever happen between Daisy and Mason? And there were a host of life experiences that had not yet been explored. There was unquestionably a large amount of room for many more stories.
DEAD LIKE ME is a great example of a show that doesn't fit traditional entertainment economic categories. It was produced by MGM television, but shown on Showtime. The latter at least in part declined to renew the show because its rating were not strong, while MGM wanted it to be renewed in part because of the strong DVD sales. We have seen a number of shows that have enjoyed weak ratings on TV experience huge DVD sales. FIREFLY, FAMILY GUY, and WONDERFALLS are three examples. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is one of the best selling TV series ever on DVD, but never enjoyed especially large ratings on TV. My guess is that at some point the television production companies are going to have to work something out with the broadcast and cable networks to make it more attractive for the networks to keep shows that are highly successful on DVD but that do not get great ratings on the air. At present, most of the benefit of keeping DEAD LIKE ME on would have primarily benefited MGM, but not Showtime. Last year Twentieth Century Fox (not to be confused with FOX TV; though both have the same parent company, they are separate companies) very much wanted to keep ANGEL going because of its strong DVD sales, but the WB wanted to go in new directions (bad directions, it turned out, since none of its shows this year have gathered the ratings that ANGEL did, nor have any enjoyed the critical acclaim that it did). More and more overall viewership of TV series is declining, while DVD sales and rentals of TV shows is increasing. This is good for production companies, but bad for networks, and some formula needs to be found to make it good for both. ANGEL was cancelled in part because Twentieth Century Fox refused to reduce the amount it charged the WB to show the series. Until the production companies agree to help close the loss of income the networks are experiencing, I think we are going to see a lot of shows that have a small but dedicated audience fail to be renewed. Everyone loses. The production company loses the opportunity to sell their product to the networks and the potential DVD sales. The networks lose because they are getting cheaper but more mediocre product. And the fans of shows lose because they find high quality shows like DEAD LIKE ME pushed aside for blander and less interesting programming.
At least we have two very fine seasons to watch of this very, very good series. We can only hope that the television industry can find the right alchemy to make it possible for superb series like this survive in the future."
FINALLY! I was worried that they'd never set a date...
Elisha Clark | Connecticut, USA | 04/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I hate that this show was cancelled. Cable TV used to be a safehaven for excellent scripted series like this one. Now "Dead Like Me" is gone, and its been replaced by "Fat Actress." It seems that reality TV is invading even the premium channels now - its unfortunate. "Dead Like Me" was the best and yes, most successful show on Showtime's lineup, and the only reason it was cancelled was because the head of the network didn't really find it to his taste.
DLM, excellent in its first season, really hit its stride in season 2. All the characters were already well established, so the second season really allowed them to open up and do some interesting things, and the acting was never better. George (Ellen Muth) has adjusted to her death but still hasn't forgotten her family. Her family (Cynthia Stevenson, Greg Kean, Britt McKillip) is still affected by the loss of George but begin to recover and establish themselves as individuals - especially Reggie (McKillip), who is one of the best characters in the show this season. Thats saying something, considering that all of the reapers (Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Laura Harris, Mandy Patinkin) are all at the top of their game as well. Rube (Patinkin) becomes even more of a father figure to the reapers, especially George, while at the same time beginning to reflect on his life, something he stayed far away from in season 1. Roxy's (Guy) identity becomes more defined, and Mason (Blue) is EXCELLENT as the screw-up older brother figure to George, and his pursual of Daisy (Harris), provides much of the hilarity as well as a good deal of the season's emotion. Daisy, who was added midway through season 1, is now a fully established character and it reflections into her past that provides many of the questions that will unfortunately be left unanswered due to the show's premature cancellation.
I can't wait for the season to reach DVD. Season two really turned DLM into a week-to-week addiction, and its episodes are among the series' best. The show is definately the funniest and most moving its ever been, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'll be counting down the days until July 19th."
Dead and buried but not forgotten
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Dead Like Me" managed that rare feat in TV; it was both funny and intelligent without pandering to the lowest common demoninator. In the second and final season George must grapple with a number of issues including becoming infatuated with someone from the world of the living--even worse he's about as clueless as they come. Mason continues to be a sober reaper for a little while at least until he sees the impact he has when he takes the soul of a father at his little girl's 6th birthday party. Even worse, Mason is forced to be the clown for the girl's party. It's no surprise that when he makes animal balloons they all look like genitals.
As if the life of the dead couldn't get any worse, the group must take the souls of a serial killer in the season finale and final episode of the series. There's a pretty good featurette on how the optical effects are created for the series including those nasty Gravelings, a photo gallery and 10 minutes of deleted scenes. Unfortunately, MGM doesn't incorporate the deleted scenes on the DVD so they are at the end of their respective episodes which makes viewing these are a bit surreal.The featurette on the second season features brief interviews with most of the cast and executive producer Steve Beeers.
The drawbacks to the set are few. There's no commentary tracks on this set which is a pity. Even after the departure of creator/writer/co-producer Bryan Fuller the second season of the series continued to break new ground and the writing continued to be top notch.
MGM seems to be regressive when it comes to DVDs; these sets don't have a chapter break after the opening credits which is a bit odd. Also, the concept of the "play all" feature that has become the standard for most TV series on DVD somehow continues to elude them. Other than that, the picture quality is exceptionally good with little video noise and a sharp anamorphic widescreen transfer. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround is utilized extremely well unlike a lot of TV shows that are put on DVD so those are factors in favor of this transfer.
Sadly, also missing this time out is the clever packaging that housed the first season with it's transparent casing that surrounded the box that holds the slimline DVD cases.
Another great TV show departs leaving a hole that Showtime can't fill at the moment. Supposedly (this is according to TVonDVD.com)the show was cancelled because it was expensive to produce but only had a cult following and Showtime wanted to use their limited resources for original programming for a big blockbuster type hit like "Deadwood" or "The Sopranos". Maybe they should have dropped the increasing weak "The L Word" or one of their insipid original series. I'll mourn the passing of this clever show but at least it didn't over stay its welcome and become a ghost of its former self. "Dead Like Me" left the TV plane too early but it won't be forgotten."