I remember the first time I watched a Dead Like Me episode. It was back in the day when I still had Showtimes on Demand from Rogers, and I decided to watch it after browsing through the different shows during the Christmas holidays.
Needless to say, I was hooked since.
The series, was about a bored college drop-out girl named Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth), who had died from being nailed by a falling space-station toilet seat. Instead of moving on to the pearly gates, she had unknowingly become the newest member to the grim reaper team. George would be assigned souls to take by the fatherly Rube (Mandy Patinkin), and interact with fellow reaper misfits: Bitter meter maid Roxy (Jasmine Guy), alcoholic thief Mason (Callum Blue), Carefree and adventure girl Betty (Rebecca Gayheart), and vain actress Daisy (Laura Harris). George also has to work at Happy Time, a temp agency under the direction of the motherly Delores Herbig (Christine Willies), all the while spying on her grieving family, dad Clancy (Greg Kean), mother Joy (Cynthia Stevenson), and younger sister Reggie (Britt McKillip). The series was great and well written, drama were intense but not filled with cliché, and the comedic timing were usually spot on. The story had tight narratives and creatively uses subplots to tie it all together.
Unfortunately, the series only lasted two seasons, leaving fans and viewers shocked, hurt, and confused — Dead Like Me was dead, it was so young, and had so much potential.
Enter Dead Like Me: Life After Death, a movie set five years after where the TV series left off. It was a direct response to fans after a demand for a third season was made — If the response to the movie is good, then maybe we’ll see more movies, or dare I say, an new season! Yes, I know, a pretty crappy response, but I’ll get what I can get, especially these days when TV shows just seems to disappear without a trace.
Mostly every cast member returns to the movie, with the exception of Mandy Patinkin and Laura Harris, and the acting is every bit as good as the original show. The new Reaper Boss, Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) was a bit of a let down, as the writer seem to have just used him for a convenient plot device. We never really get to know Kane, and thus never really feel the threat and the complexities he adds to our reaper friends. The casting of the new Daisy (Sarah Wynter) replacing actress Laura Harris, was a miscast. Harris’ Daisy, had a sense of mystery, and often uses perkiness to hide her true feelings, while Wynter’s Daisy seem to be very melodramatic, to the point where she seemed a bit of a ditz. That said, the writing appears to be fairly consistent with that of the show.
The movie also felt like a long episode, which I thought was appropriate given the original medium for the story. However, it seems to be lacking some of the dark comedy and quirky charms that were so prevalent in the TV series, perhaps due to the lack of involvement from the original writer/producer Bryan Fuller. The story also felt a bit recycled, using themes and lessons from previous episodes that our characters have already been through and learned. The movie also leaves little to no explanation to some of story-lines of the series, and have a less than expected closure to offer. Which, I suppose, could be a good thing if MGM ever decides to revive the series, a thought that sounds more like wishful thinking than a possibility.
Watching this movie made me realized how much I missed this series. Despite some let downs, the movie is a somewhat enjoyable one. If anything, fans should treat it like a small love note rather than a letter from the writers, and be somewhat content that we at least got to see the Reapers on the job one last time.