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Review: "Dead Like Me: Life After Death"

In On Film on March 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

I was one of the unfortunate ones who only saw Showtime’s cult hit “Dead Like Me” after it was cancelled far too soon.  The dramedy followed freshly dead Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth) as she became a Grim Reaper under the tutelage of Rube (Mandy Patankin).  The show was known for its dark sense of humor, a quirky wit and fun characterizations playing with the age old notion of Grim Reapers.

So now, 5 years after it was originally cancelled, 70% of the original cast returns for a direct to DVD movie, “Life After Death”.  Is it as good as the series?  Lord no.  Rube is noticably absence; also gone is Laura Harris, unavailable at the time of filming.  Her Daisy Adair is played by Sarah Wynter who, while doing a passable job, can only be called an “UnDaisy”.

The story picks up in real time, 5 years after the series ended.  Rube is missing and a new head Reaper is in charge, this one far more lax and inspiring the Reapers to enjoy their afterlife.  This leads to the Reapers wondering what would happen if they didn’t do their job, and our first major plot hole in the movie.  The effects of not performing a reap were heavily doted on in the first season of the show, but the characters seem blisfully unaware of hte consequences in this movie, with Roxie (Jasmine Guy) going so far as to actually resurrect a recently reaped individual.

Its not an entirely bad movie, by any means.  The show’s trademark snark and wit are still apparent, and the core storyline of George following Reggie does feel like a natural extension of the series, and Callum Blue returns in perfect character as Mason.  George’s mother also returns, now having written a successful book on grieving over a lost child; her father is written out, having divorcd at long last and moved off far away.  The movie does continue successfully what the series started, but there are quite a few hiccups and missteps along the way.
Overall, “Dead Like Me: Life After Death” is still a fun movie, especially if you were a fan of the series.  But in the long run, all it will make you realize is this was a great series that was either ended far too soon or blissfully put out of its misery.  Regardless, if you were a fan of the series, check this out…just make sure you give it a rental first.