What to say if you liked it
Second series of this intelligent, polished drama laced with originality and crackling one-liners from the vaults of American TV that puts 99% of our dour efforts to shame.
What to say if you didn’t like it
Take one part Clarissa Explains It All, a little of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, sprinkle with Quantum Leap and douse liberally with Six Feet Under and you get this teenage drama with swearing for people who think Buffy is a bit beneath them.
What was good about it?
• This was a polished, accomplished drama, very sure of itself and with characters who were interesting if a little too quick with the wisecracks.
• The break-up of Georgia’s parents was handled unusually well with subtlety and thick dark comedy rather than the more usual mawkish ‘think of the children’ concerns.
• The growing of lead character Georgia’s morbid humour, as she admits early on to becoming annoyed if she reads the obituaries (“The reapers’ sports pages”) and finds someone has lived to over 50.
• Some superb comedy writing: Georgia’s mum, Joy: “I don’t think your sister smoked pot… I searched constantly.” Joy answering her smug shrink when he claims he and his wife have been “in cahoots” for ten years: “So she does or doesn’t know that you’re gay?” causing him to sheepishly admit that she “probably” knew. And Mason’s comment when seeing a tattoo revealed on the small of an attractive woman’s back when she squatted at a children’s party: “I believe that’s the Chinese symbol for ‘aim here’.”
• Mason explaining how many people it takes to die in a single accident for it to be termed a “disaster”.
• Reaper/meter maid Roxy is played by Duane Wayne’s object of affection (after he was finished with the divine Denise) uptight rich girl Whitley on Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. We love unexpected reminders of our early teen years.
What was bad about it?
• We weren’t huge fans of the regular stylistic quirk of the action fast-forwarding around a normal-speed Georgia, which seemed to be suggested by someone more used to directing adverts and was perhaps there for the sake of looking different rather than a clever artistic purpose.
• The show occasionally seems to forget that Georgia looks like a crack addict to everyone who isn’t a reaper, which meant it was a little strange when her new co-worker Brennan, a floppy-haired young stud that all females in the office lusted after, immediately went all googly-eyed over her.
• Rube is no Ziggy.
• We’re not sure about the gravelings, the creatures who cause the deaths, either. Is Joe Dante paying them in the hopes he can get Gremlins 3 – Son of Gizmo off the ground? (If that came off, there are breathy whispers in Hollywood corridors of Gremlins v Critters)
• This is apparently the second and final series. Crying shame