Dead Like Me: Life After Death
4.0
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  • You actually began to care about the characters in the show and I found myself quite angry over the show's demise
  • I will miss the series, but I think that Life After Death was a good conclusion and a fitting goodbye to one of my favorite TV series
  • My suggestion is, if you had not seen the original series, to buy the Season One DVD

    • by Gonzo808
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      all reviews
      Originally, a series that aired on Showtime, “Dead Like Me” was a series that followed the exploits of a team of Grim Reapers, whose job it was to help the souls of the recently-deceased find their way into the Afterlife. The series’ star was Georgia “George” Lass (played by Ellen Muth), an 18 year old girl who was killed by a toilet seat from the MIR space station that fell from orbit. She then joins a team of Reapers comprised of Rube Sofer (Mandy Patinkin), Roxy Harvey (Jasmine Guy), Mason (Callum Blue) and Betty Rohmer (Rebecca Gayheart).

      The first season dealt with George’s transition from being an ordinary 18 year old to working as a Grim Reaper, as well as George’s family handling their grief over the loss of their daughter, whom George frequently sees and encounters during the show’s run. To say the least, George had a very difficult time making the change. Rebecca Gayheart left the series after five episodes and was replaced by Laura Harris, who played Daisy Adair.

      The Reapers met every morning for their assignments at a local restaurant, Der Waffel Haus, with Rube acting as the group’s leader.

      The second season showed George more comfortable in her new afterlife as a Grim Reaper, though there were still some residual problems.

      The show lasted two seasons until Showtime cancelled it, prompting a “Save the Show” movement of devoted viewers, which culminated in the movie I am reviewing now. I only discovered the show myself when I saw the DVDs for sale at a local store. But, after watching the show’s two seasons on DVD, I have to admit that I was hooked. It was a funny and well-directed program which could be alternatively


      hilarious and sobering, with large amounts of black humor thrown in. You actually began to care about the characters in the show and I found myself quite angry over the show’s demise. However, I have never had much faith in “Save (insert name of TV series here)” campaigns. While it worked for “Quantum Leap”, they usually fail more than they succeed. I simply accepted the show’s end and moved-on.

      Imagine my surprise when news came out that there was going to be a “Dead Like Me” movie! It seemed a stunning victory for the fans.

      However, certain changes in the casting were announced early on that dimmed hopes that the movie would measure-up to the series. For one, Mandy Patinkin would not return in his role as Rube and this was seen as a bad sign for the quality of the upcoming movie. Not a totally bad thing to occur, if his replacement could fill his place adequately. However, the part of Daisy Adair was not to be played by Laura Harris - who was busy with the series “Women’s Murder Club” - but by Sarah Wynter.

      While having a character being played by two different actors may have worked for “Bewitched” character Darren Stevens, most doubted it could work for Daisy Adair. This seemed like a bad decision and it boded badly for the movie’s potential.

      Early in the film, Der Waffel Haus is shown having burned-down, which ended another connection to the original series.

      So, Rube and Der Waffel Haus are gone at the beginning of the movie, with Daisy Adair looking completely different. I was not optimistic at this point. The new leader of the group is introduced as Cameron Kane, played by Henry Ian ...


      • Cusick.

        I have to say that, despite the rather obvious and disconcerting changes from the original series, the movie was actually well-written. The plot moved-along well and you could see a pattern developing as it progressed. The interaction between characters played-out just like in the series and you ever get to see George directly interacting with her sister, Reggie Lass (Britt McKillip) who has matured into an attractive, yet insecure, teenager.

        Despite his personal absence, Rube’s effect upon the characters is felt throughout the movie, especially with George. You can see how Rube’s influence over George in the show’s two seasons on Showtime has a direct influence upon her actions now, as well as on the outcome of the movie.

        So, the good points of the movie are that the script writing and acting are still at the same high level as the original series. You can still find yourself caring about the characters and how the movie will end. I still love the show, despite the changes.

        The only bad thing I could say is that the character of Daisy Adair should have been written-out of the movie, with some reason given for her absence. In the series, she had been transferred to the group in Seattle after having been removed from a similar group in SoHo New York City. Something similar could have been done here. However, Sarah Wynter’s performance of Daisy was very good, though a bit different than as had been done by Laura Harris.

        Maybe I’m being too attached with having the same cast return, as many fans of “Battlestar Galactica” were when the re-imagined series arrived on the scene. But, Real Life is subject to change. Patinkin and Harris couldn’t return to the

        show to reprise their performances, so the show had to go on without them. Even the most diehard fans would have to admit that five years is a long time between the original and a sequel movie.

        Dead Like Me: Life After Death” was released as a direct-to-DVD movie and has been available since February 17, 2009. As of the date this review was written, the Amazon listing of this DVD displays how divided many fans are over the film, with the overall rating being 3 out of 5 stars, with almost as many fans of the series hating the movie as liking it. The IMDB rating is a bit more generous, with the film having a 6.5 out of 10 rating there.

        Personally, I liked the film, despite the differences. I feel that I could get used to the changes from the original, especially if this movie enjoys enough success to result in either a return of the series or further sequels, though I have my doubts about either of those prospects. As the actors said in an interview about the film, many loose ends from the series were tied-up in the film, so this might be the finale of “Dead Like Me”. I will miss the series, but I think that “Life After Death” was a good conclusion and a fitting goodbye to one of my favorite TV series.

        My suggestion is, if you had not seen the original series, to buy the Season One DVD. If you like it, buy Season Two and then the DVD for this movie. I would suggest fans of the series rent the DVD if they can and then decide whether to buy it or not.

        This is a movie I recommend.




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