A story about this — 4 years ago
The first season of Dead Like Me was well written, well acted, and very creative. I think things may have started to go downhill a bit after Bryan Fuller left, and by the second season, the show had been compromised further and seemed to be relying on its weaknesses more than its strengths. Still, Dead Like Me was ahead of its time, and it was shameful that despite high ratings and a cult following Showtime canceled it to make room for things like Kirstie Alley’s “Fat Actress.”
Now, a few years later, finally seeing the error of their ways (not to mention Bryan Fuller’s massive success with Heroes and Pushing Daisies) MGM decided to resurrect Dead Like Me.
The problem is, this direct-to-DVD movie is absolutely terrible and had very little in common with the series. Characters were written out (Rube) or replaced with different actors (Daisy, George’s “undead” appearance, etc.), the storyline was thin and incoherent, the continuity was botched, the reactions of the people who die was tremendously minimized, the dialog of the reapers was out of character, the complex characters themselves were reduced to caricatures, the cheap editing and use of “graphic novel” story-boards were distracting gimmicks, Reggie’s high school appeared to be a Degrassi parody, and the movie created giant plot-holes compared to the series (e.g. in one episode, George tries to share a memory with her mother to prove who she is, the consequence is that she loses that memory; in the film, she has a long heart-to-heart with Reggie where they blithely discuss their shared childhood).
There has always been a sense that execs were meddling with this show, but in this film it is as if the creative team capitulated to every single stupid whim the “higher ups” desired.
Whatever special qualities, depth, or originality this show started out with, they are long gone. Perhaps it is fitting that the “soul” of Dead Like Me was reaped before it finally died?