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RUNNING TIME: 1415 min
• Audio Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
• “The Music of Dead Like Me” Featurette
• Photo Gallery
Dead people need jobs too.
Ellen Muth, Laura Harris, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Cynthia Stevenson, Rebecca Gayheart and Mandy Patinkin
George Lass is an underachiever. When she’s struck in the skull by a piece of flaming space station debris, Lass gets a new lease on her afterlife. Meeting up with a group of Reapers, George attaches herself to a new occupation. She’s going to start reaping souls, as a means of rediscovering who she is and what it means to be dead. Thrill to the two seasons and DTV movie that make up the story thus far.
Where to begin about this cult show. Do you address this series as the start of showrunner Bryan Fuller’s obsession with death and masculine named female leads? Much has been said about this show and I hate to keep re-hashing the same points over and over again. But, there’s a time to gush over a show that never got the respect it so deserved. This is the time.
Dead Like Me is a series that does what so many other shows dare to do. It follows a young female lead, as she actually develops into something not resembling a world leader or a supermodel. She’s a sullen fuck-up that’s slowly growing up in the face of terminal adversity. There’s a lot to be said for a show that treats a young person as the rudderless meat puppet that they are. Yet, it doesn’t turn into her a helpless peon.
Even if you run over a kid, you still need to look great.
The first season of the show centered around George’s accident and her introduction to the Reapers. She slowly starts finding her way under the tutelage of Betty (Rebecca Gayheart) and Rube (Mandy Patinkin). When Betty departs for greener afterlife pastures, we start to see George develop. Miss Lass soon realizes that no matter what kind of life you leave, it’s plagued with potholes of shit that derail your best plans.
George Lass makes her way through the latter half of the first season dealing with her new Reaper roommate Daisy. Daisy is a Reaper that’s fucked around most of the world and has managed to wedge her way into George’s new life. Meanwhile, George also has to work a shit job at a temp agency. That’s right, kids. Even in death, you’re still stuck in the middle.
The second season is where the show was starting to gain ground. George was becoming more accustomed to getting the little Post-Its that determined whose soul she had to reap. Her family was changing, but George was becoming more used to the fact that they had moved on without her. Sure, her little sister Reggie would still have freak-outs. But, that’s to be expected.
The show collapsed when it became evident that Showtime wasn’t bringing it back for a third season. The episodes tend to run together after George loses her virginity. Which is kind of fucked up, when you realize that the guy thought he was bopping a living girl. Throw in a bit about George having to make her peace with the elderly and the other Reaper divisions. Thus, we see how the entire thing needed to have a Direct-to-Video movie to tie it all together.
Life After Death was an effort to rebuild the show five years after its last airing. Patinkin and Harris had walked off from their roles as Rube and Daisy. Therefore, a bit of re-casting and careful re-writing had to work around them. Naturally, they tried to create a Rube replacement with Henry Ian Cusick. It was a failure, as he never really connected with what made Rube work. Rube isn’t a prick, he’s a doting father figure. Missteps such as these painted the film a dour color for most fans of the show. But, I hope that it can raise interests in the series at large.
Photo Gallery - A collection of still shots taken from both seasons and the Life After Death movie.
Featurettes – The biggest bulk of the supplemental material is found here. You get looks at both seasons of the show. Plus, you get a look at the effort to bring the show back to life for the DTV movie. Plus, there’s a look at how the original vision was created by Bryan Fuller and some say corrupted by MGM.
Deleted Scenes - There’s not a lot of material here. Most of it was cut due to being repetitive or not adding much to the show’s A or B plots.
Director / Cast Commentaries – The commentaries range from weak on most of the episodes to strong on the DTV movie. The Life After Death commentary shines because you can tell that Director Stephen Herek and Lead Actress Ellen Muth really had something to say about the attempt to revive this beloved series. There’s not life-changing material heard on any commentary, but they’re fun.
Rube is The Stygian Pimp.
9.0 out of 10