Disc 1: Dead Like Me: Life After Death — Disc 2: Dead Like Me SSN 1 Disc 1 — **PILOT — **Deleted Scenes (30:00) — **Audio Commentary by Cast — **Behind-The-Scenes Featurette — **"The Music of Dead Like Me" Featuring Exec Produce... more »r John Masius & Composer Stewart Copeland
"THIS REVIEW IS ABOUT "DEAD LIKE ME - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION", 9 DISK SET
So my wife and I started watching Dead Like Me on Video On Demand, and were both so caught up in it that we didn't want to wait for the second season to be made available that way... so we ordered the box set.
The box set *includes* "Life After Death", the movie MGM made in 2008.
Let me start with the DVDs of the ShoTime TV series:
Disks 1 through 4 contain the series pilot, and the 14 episodes of season 1. Disks 5 through 8 contain the 15 episodes of season 2 and the bonus features for the series.
Up through here, that's 5 stars. If I could have give 6, I would.
Disk 9... contains the straight-to-DVD movie.
If you're interested in DLM and reading this review (and the many others), I don't have to tell much about the series - they stand firm as they always did, in high, widescreen quality, uncensored and uncut (and the bonus features contain a bunch of deleted scenes and other fun stuff about the series.
The movie, though. Oh dear lord, the movie.
The movie was made to appeal to an audience that is not in the know about what DLM is about - so the first 15, 20 minutes are an introduction (with cuts from the series), done in comic-book style, with Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth) narrating about what the premise of the story is. After the introductions are done, we're introduced to a flaky storyline about Rube (Mandy Patinkin, direly missed in the movie) having gotten his light, and having been replaced by a Cameron Kane (played by Henry Ian Cusick), who... has... some sort of agenda, plan, whatever, and uses the merry band of reapers to... cause chaos... or something, by having them mess up their reaps.
The role of Daisy Adair was performed by Sarah Wynter, who - I'm sure - is a great actress... just not a great Daisy. The series' last episodes had gone through great lengths to turn Daisy into someone with a secret that's eating her, a seemingly callous but very human, confused and hurt woman, who warmed up with every episode, showed fear, love and understanding.
In the movie, however, Daisy is a callous, uninteresting, selfish, vulture-like and petty wanna-be actress, with no depth, no heart and no struggle. One of the bonus features actually tried to explain away the Daisy part, but regardless of the reasons, it was painful to watch, and did not do the part of Daisy Adair any justice - better they had had her "get her light", just like Rube. Callum, Ellen and Jasmin Guy could have carried it off by themselves...
... or maybe they just shouldn't have bothered at all.
The storyline about the relation between George and Reggie (Britt McKillip) was done nicely, and actually allows for some feeling of closure.
My initial plan was to get the series, and rent the movie to see if it was worth buying.
If you buy this box, the movie is included... but if you already have the series, and consider yourself a hardcore DLM fan, do not bother with the movie. It felt like it was thrown together in a hurry (and the fact that *neither* of the writers of the movie had been involved with the series shows, big time), and feels more like an extended "crap, we need a finale" episode than anything else...
Aside from the Reggie/George interaction, the only good things about the movie were:
1. We finally got to see Murray the cat 2. The very, very last scene, after some consideration (had to sink in for a moment).
My wife and I... we'll toss in the series, every now and then, for a DLM marathon session... the movie will remain in its box, though. It's part of the set, but as far as we're concerned... only to keep the outside box from being too wide for the series' DVDs.
And that's why the product gets only 4 stars... I'm not averaging (the movie would make the average be negative, and that's no good) because the series and bonus features are excellent, as expected. The movie just... takes it down a notch. Sad, but true."
One of the finest series of recent years
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 12/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bryan Fuller has now created three television masterpieces that three separate networks have saw fit to cancel. There is absolutely no question that he is one of the most prodigiously talented people working on TV, up there with Joss Whedon and J. J. Abrams and Ron Moore or whoever. It is an indictment of the American television industry that such an enormously talented man who has produced three shows as incredible as PUSHING DAISIES (honestly, as good a show as I've ever seen), WONDERFALLS (one in a long string of super shows that FOX has cancelled), and DEAD LIKE ME (one of Showtime's more regrettable mistakes) have been cancelled. One can argue that the networks had to consider the bottom line, but the brute face it that networks no longer nurture shows like they used to. Hits of yesteryear like SEINFELD and THE X-FILES would have been cancelled well before they became huge hits. Bizarrely, in an era where potential viewers can catch up on shows through watching DVDs, networks have less patience with shows than ever before. The financial model that all the networks have embraced, where a show is either an instant hit or gets cancelled, is a bad one. It is bad for artistic reasons and it is bad for financial ones. The networks all need to relearn patience.
DEAD LIKE ME ended way before its time. Thankfully a new DEAD LIKE ME movie is due for release this February. There had been some hope for a revival of the series, using this movie as a sort of restart pilot, but given the current attitude of retrenchment among the networks -- ABC idiotically canceling gems like PUSHING DAISIES and NBC gutting its scripted schedule by stuffing Jay Leno into five hours of prime time programming next season, one of the most blatant attempts to create a schedule on-the-cheap in TV history -- it is difficult to imagine DLM being given life again. Although Bryan Fuller was not involved with the movie and would not be involved in a series restart (nor, for that matter, was he involved with Season Two), the cancellation of PUSHING DAISIES certainly doesn't help DLM's cause. So, in all likelihood, this could be the last we hear about George Lass. And that is to be lamented.
All three of Bryan Fuller's creations deal with the question of what it means to live a life. In two of them, that question is approached through individuals who have died only to experience unusual resurrections. In PUSHING DAISIES Chuck Charles is brought back to life after her murder by her childhood sweetheart Ned, who has the ability to bring any dead thing back to life for up to a minute without consequences (the consequence being that if he doesn't touch them again, someone else has to die in their place). Resurrected, she and Ned discover what it is to love. In DEAD LIKE ME, Georgia Lass, a sullen 18-year-old -- always called George (what is it for Fuller with women whose names could also be used for guy's? The protagonist of WONDERFALLS is a woman named Jaye) -- is hit by the toilet seat off the MIR space station as it is destroyed by earth's atmosphere during her lunch hour while working on her assignment with the Happy Times Temp Agency (in Season Two's PUSHING DAISIES premiere, Ned pretends to be a Happy Times temp in order to infiltrate a company, a nice nod to DLM). The advertising line for DLM when it was running was that death was as good an excuse as any to start living. And that truly is what the series is about. Sullen, uninvolved, prickly, uncaring George, played wonderfully by Ellen Muth, finds herself resurrected to be a Grim Reaper, and in her new role is forced to confront all the issues she refused to deal with when she was alive. As part of a team of reapers who congregate at Der Waffle Haus, she learns to be self-sufficient, learns to become emotionally vulnerable, learns to care. Sadly, her story was cut short when Showtime declined to renew the series after its second series. Thankfully, the two seasons that we got did a great job of exploring her character.
Ellen Muth's George was supposed by a very fine cast, none better than the spectacular Mandy Patinkin, who plays Rube, the supervisor for the reapers. His story was getting very, very interesting in Season Two when the show was cancelled. Unfortunately, because of his involvement on CSI (which, ironically, he quickly quit) he was unavailable for the DLM movie, and was replaced by LOST's Henry Ian Cusick [Desmond], who plays the new head reaper). I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed Patinkin more than in DLM. He becomes more than George's boss on the show; he becomes her mentor and surrogate father. There is a wonderful chemistry in all scenes that George and Rube have together. Callum Blue is marvelous as British punk (circa Sid Vicious era) Mason, an appalling git who is still as hapless as he was when he was alive. Many of the reapers take jobs to support their reaping activities, but Mason, very much in character, is perpetually jobless. Jasmine Guy is Roxy, a tough as nails female who in addition to being a reaper is a cop. The final reaper slot was filled first by Rebecca Gayheart as Betty and then by Laura Harris as Daisy Adair (Harris was also not available for the movie and her role filled by another actress). I could go on to list everyone who plays her family (all of whom were excellent), but will save some space by not doing so. I do, however, have to single out the wonderful work by Christine Willes as Dolores Herbig, George's boss at Happy Times. Willes is a veteran of Vancouver television (where DLM was filmed, as a stand in for Seattle, where the action of the show reputedly takes place). For instance, she was in REAPER and I've spotted her in THE X-FILES and DARK ANGEL. But this is hands down her best role.
In regards to television we live in a perplexing time. On the one hand, scripted television shows have never been better. We have witnessed a long string of absolutely stunning shows, like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, MAD MEN, SIX FEET UNDER, THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, THE SHIELD, THE GILMORE GIRLS, LOST, PUSHING DAISIES, FIREFLY, VERONICA MARS, ANGEL, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and many others. So, on the one hand, we truly live in TV's golden age. TV has never, ever been this good. On the other hand, except for LOST none of the shows that I mentioned have attracted a large audience. Many survived merely by being on smaller networks. But the audiences have flocked to low budget reality shows like DANCING WITH THE STARS and AMERICAN IDLE. And as I indicated above, the networks seem to be embracing a cheap-is-good mentality. So NBC tragically guts their schedule by putting Jay Leno on five days a week (anyone concerned with quality TV will pray for Leno's show to crash and burn, the quicker the better). Scripted shows cost a lot more money and they attract fewer viewers. CBS has managed to attract large audiences with its unending string of mediocre cop shows and procedurals (though interestingly CBS does not have a single show that is critically acclaimed, except the half hour comedy HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, one of its least watched prime time shows). ABC has embraced mediocrity by canceling its best show in years, PUSHING DAISIES, and several other scripted series, including ELI STONE, which was quite intriguing. It has also cut back the order for nearly all of its new Spring 2009 shows to as little as 9 episodes. And NBC has simply eliminated a third of its programming by the absurd Jay Leno experiment. Paradoxically, FOX, which for years was guilty of canceling one show after another prematurely, is now under the guidance of Kevin Reilly, who at NBC kept a string of low-rated but critically acclaimed shows alive long enough for them to find success, including THE OFFICE, 30 ROCK, and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. So far at FOX he has not shown a tendency to kill shows with the old FOX fervor. The test case will be DOLLHOUSE this spring, easily the most anticipated new show of the 2008-2009 season, but which has been packaged on Fridays along with TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, easily the most improved show of the year. If both those shows are back in 2009-2010, then I will officially forgive FOX for its past misdeeds. Let's just hope ABC and NBC repent and let's hope that sometime in the next two decades CBS starts making good shows again. The moral? We know that TV creators like Bryan Fuller and Joss Whedon and Ron Moore can make spectacular TV shows. But will the industry continue to make a home for them? I yearn for a time when shows like DEAD LIKE ME will be embraced for the gifts that they are."
This box set INCLUDES the movie.
Courtney Clark | Denver, Colorado, USA | 01/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The press relese from MGM notes that this box set contains the complete series as seen on SHOtime as well as the forthcoming "Dead Like Me: Life After Death" full-length feature film. Both this box set and the individual film will be available on February 17th, 2009."
Get it for the series, not the movie
Micah Cowan | Silicon Valley, California | 03/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series is one of my all-time favorites, easily worth five stars.
The brand new movie, Dead Like Me: Life After Death (see my separate review there), however, is not. To say I was disappointed by it would be an understatement. As films go, it is complete junk.
However, buying the set is still very much a worthwhile purchase if, like me, you didn't already own the DVD sets for the TV series's two seasons. The series itself is great fun to watch, beautifully written and acted, with characters that have depth; for this reason, I've given a five-star rating, as this is the best way to obtain this excellent series on DVD. But the movie is a jarring contrast: badly written, with characters whose previous complexities have been thrown out the window, and a mind-numbingly, painfully stupid plot."
The Flaming Toilet Seat That Started It All...
K. Futrell | 04/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of the show Dead Like Me then you'll love the complete collection. Not only does the collection include both seasons it also includes the new movie that just came out. If you have not purchased the seasons in the past you need to invest in the complete collection. It's a really good price for this set. You won't want to miss this box set.
If you have already purchased season 1 and season 2 seperately then there is no need to get this set. You would be better off just purchasing the movie because there is nothing special about the box set.