tek's rating:

Dead Like Me, on Showtime
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I never got to see it on Showtime, but I eventually saw reruns on Sci-Fi Channel.

Georgia "George" Lass (Ellen Muth) is an 18-year-old college dropout who isn't really doing anything with her life. She's rather apathetic and sarcastic and cynical and whatever. Then she dies (hit by a toilet seat that fell from the Mir space station). And then she becomes "un-dead," recruited to be a grim reaper. People see her as someone else, so no one from her past life will recognize her. Reapers get new identities, and George's new name is Mildred Hagen, though of course only the living will call her Millie. Meanwhile, she hangs out with some other reapers, who call her George. The leader of the group is Rube (Mandy Patinkin), who receives information about people who are about to die, and assigns the reapers in his group souls to collect, with name, location, and Estimated Time of Death (ETD) on post-it notes. Besides George, other reapers in Rube's group include Mason (Callum Blue), Roxy (Jasmine Guy), and Betty (Rebecca Gayheart). A way into the first season, Betty leaves, and is replaced by another reaper named Daisy Adair (Laura Harris). Mason is a rather goofy British guy who drinks too much and who Rube calls a screw-up. Roxy is a meter maid with a gruff attitude, who eventually becomes a cop. Daisy was an actress. Um, I don't really know what else to say about any of them, but I feel I'm definitely not describing them very well. Sorry about that. But they make for an interesting ensemble. Anyway, they always gather in Der Waffle Haus to eat, and get their post-its from Rube, and talk about whatever. There's also a waitress there named Kiffany who serves them all the time. I sometimes wondered if she knew they were reapers, or anything....

Reapers work in different divisions, depending on the circumstances of their own death; because her death was accidental, George works in the external influence division, collecting souls of those who die of accidents, murder, or suicide. The whole reaping gig doesn't provide a lot of answers; they don't seem to know anything about God, Heaven, Hell, or any such thing. They may help souls in their transition, but they don't know where the souls actually go. There are strange, shadowy creatures called Gravelings who seem to cause accidental deaths. And... well, there are various mysteries, and George has a hard time dealing with some of this stuff, especially accepting the fact that she has to take souls she's assigned to take, rather than trying to let people live. And Rube is sometimes displeased with her, though he himself has unanswered questions....

Aside from her reaper duties, George has to deal with mundane things like finding a place to live and making money. Reapers have to either loot from dead bodies, or find jobs, because being a reaper doesn't pay. If they can't afford a place of their own, they often have to squat in the unoccupied homes of the recently deceased, until the place becomes occupied by someone living, again. "Millie" ends up working at the Happy Time temp agency, with a rather annoyingly perky woman named Delores Herbig (from whom George had gotten a job the day she died, coincidentally).

And then, there is the family George left behind. She isn't supposed to have any contact with them, or anything, but she seems unable to stop at least watching them. She never really related very well with her parents, Joy (Cynthia Stevenson) and Clancy, and totally ignored her little sister, Reggie (Britt McKillip). Welp, now Reggie is having a lot of trouble dealing with George's death, and is acting in a lot of odd ways (such as stealing toilet seats). Joy is having trouble dealing with her, and thinks Reggie should get therapy. Clancy doesn't seem able to deal with anything, and would rather Reggie didn't get therapy, so there's a lot of strain in the marriage. And now George regrets a lot of things about how she lived her life (or failed to really live it), including her family relationships. Oh, and one of the people George reaps had a dog named J.D., and George anonymously leaves him with her folks. Reggie and Clancy both get pretty attached to him.

So... not sure what else to say, but I quite liked it. The show actually seems more sort of "quirky" than "supernatural," because it isn't that much about the reaping, it's more just about characters having to deal with the afterlife, or rather... life... after death. Which, for reapers, is mostly the same as life before death. Except different. I should also mention there was a direct-to-video movie after the series was cancelled, called Life After Death.

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