Friday, March 28, 2008

Basketball and Reaper

I'm not too into the whole March Madness thing, especially when my alma mater isn't in the mix (and they usually aren't), but I'm keenly interested in one of the games tonight. My adopted home team, the Texas Longhorns, go up against the archenemies of all that is good and right, the Stanford Cardinal (boo! hiss!). Pray, all of you! Pray to your gods that the Longhorns triumph over the vile, despised Cardinal! Hook 'em Horns!!

Let's see, what's going on in TV? I'm in withdrawal from Lost (next new episode: April 24), which I think has been tremendously entertaining this season, but I'm still enjoying my only other Thursday night TV pleasure (at least until 30 Rock and the other NBC sitcoms return -- what's the deal with that?): Reaper. Yes, really!

It's been... I was about to say "up and down in quality," but that's really not quite right. It's been going at a pretty consistent level of quality most of the year (solidly amusing), when it's really my interest that's been going up and down. It's been a little frustrating, waiting to see if Reaper was ever going to kick it up a level to become essential viewing. And this week's episode, I think, made that step. The relationship between Sam and Andi finally made some headway, what with her professing her feelings to him and the kissing and whatnot, though the return to basically the same status quo at the end of the show (in the style of the ending of the first Spider-Man movie) wasn't unexpected. But it's the relationship between Sam and the Devil that's truly fascinating. Over the past few episodes, the back and forth between Sam and Ray Wise's brilliant portrayal of the Devil, which is always the best part of the show, has deepened in twisted ways; the Devil seems to regard Sam as a real friend, while simultaneously showing him a darker and more malevolent side than we've seen before. The additions of Cady, the (maybe) daughter of the Devil, as Sam's girlfriend (seemingly now his ex), and Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino as Sam's gay demon neighbors, who are apparently plotting to take down the Devil, have been welcome signs that there is an actual overall story being told here, that there is a mythology that is being created and developed, which will hopefully elevate the show beyond its predictable bad-guy-of-the-week routine. A lot of new potential is being revealed, and I'm very happy with that.

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