For the briefest of moments last year, there was new life in Reaper, one of recent TV’s great canceled-too-soon cases. FEARnet added all 31 episodes to its roster of Tales from the Crypt re-runs and random horror films, and to celebrate the occasion they gathered together the show’s core cast members for a reunion special in which they mostly revealed how much of a blast it was making the show, kind of like a televised version of a Comic-Con panel appearance. Such occasions inevitably lead to talk of perhaps some kind of TV movie or, if you dare to dream, an actual new season of episodes, and during the reunion special the cast did joke about the possibility of a Kickstarter campaign funding a third season.

It’s over a year later and we are still left with no new Reaper.  In fact, and this seems kind of fitting for the perpetual underdog that was Reaper, the cable network which just started airing it in re-runs isn’t even around anymore.  FEARnet died a very quiet death two months ago.

But thanks to new podcast interview we now know just how close we actually came to getting a Reaper revival.

Wait, what’s Reaper?

Just in case you don’t already know, Reaper centered on a beta-male type (Sam, played by Bret Harrison) who has to work for the devil as a bounty hunter of escaped souls due to a deal his parents made with the Devil prior to his birth. His eccentric best friends, the gregarious Sock (Labine) and fastidious Ben (Rick Gonzalez), help him out. Perhaps not surprising considering he had the flashiest role, Ray Wise‘s remarkably hilarious turn as the constantly amused Devil stole the show.  Wise played the Devil as equally delighted by his own fiendishness and Sam’s ineffectiveness (e.g., Sam tries to summon the devil by drawing a pentagram on the ground, but accidentally draws a star of David, about which the Devil chuckles before excitedly proclaiming, “Mazeltov!”).

So, it could have come back?

Personally, I never thought Reaper had a shot at coming back mostly because securing a syndication deal on a cable network no one watched didn’t really seem like that big of a deal, especially not when the show has previously been available in its entirety on Netflix and currently has its first season up on Hulu.  It was still nice seeing the cast back together, though.

Well, according to the show’s co-creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters it was so nice seeing everyone back together last year that a proper set of new episodes almost happened.

Before we get to the pertinent quotes from their recent Nerdist Writer’s Panel podcast appearance, we have to set the stage a little bit:

Reaper was one of those shows that wasn’t actually made by the network that aired it.  ABC Studios produced made the show, but in the U.S. it aired on The CW.  During the show’s 2007-2009 run, The CW was quickly morphing into the home for shows teenage girls loved, specifically Gossip Girl.  That made Reaper, which drew mostly male viewers, the odd man out, and pretty much no one at the network really cared about it. However, ABC Studios loved it and made plenty of money selling it to various international markets. As a result, when The CW canceled the show ABC did everything it could to find it a new home, ultimately failing to finalize a deal with SyFy before Brett Harrison and Tyler Labine’s contracts expired. During this time, Mark Pedowitz was one of the show’s biggest champions at ABC Studios.

Cut to today, and Pedowitz has moved up in the world, exiting ABC in favor of being the President of The CW, which has begun courting more and more male viewers with shows like Arrow during his tenure.

So, here’s what Fazekas/Butters had to say about coming back (the podcast interviewer never actually identifies which one is Fazekas and which is Butters, and I’ve never heard either of their voices before now meaning I actually don’t know for sure which one of the two said the following):

“A return came up when FEARnet picked up the show [..] and we talked about it for a while.  Mark Pedowitz was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do a summer series of that.’  But then it turned into, ‘Well, let’s do a pilot,’ and we were like, ‘I’m not going to do a pilot for a show that I already developed.  We know what the show is already.’  But there was a moment there after we had the FEARnet reunion – the entire cast came, even people who weren’t regulars on the show, like Christina Willes and Ken Marino.  They were all talking about how much they loved the job, and they were all available or didn’t have steady gigs.  We were like, ‘We could do this.’  The other way to do it is to just use Ray Wise as the Devil, and have a whole group of new guys.  We’d hate to do that, though.”

Fazekas and Butters started their careers as assistants on The X-Files before ultimately writing for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Law & Order: SVUReaper was the first show they could actually call their own, and though it only stuck around for a short while the relationships they made with ABC Studios at that time is a big reason they now have not one but two different shows they are running for ABC, Resurrection (soon to return for its second season) and Agent Carter (set to premiere its 8-episode season in early 2015).  So, they’re ever so busy, but neither Resurrection nor Agent Carter existed yet when the Reaper cast reunion went down.  The point is that based on their current schedules the window for a Reaper revival may have been very brief, and it’s probably passed now.

Reaper left off with Sam’s girlfriend now stuck in the same position as him, i.e., tied to an eternal contract with the devil.  In prior interviews, we’ve learned that a season 3 would have put her to work with the DMV demon and that the mystery surrounding Sam’s father would have been resolved.  At this point, it’s not clear where they’d go with the story considering how much time has passed, and that cartoon or comic book continuation which has been teased in the past has never moved beyond the teasing stage.

But maybe it’s best that it stays dead, its legacy untarnished by an Arrested Development-like good-but-not-good-enough batch of new episodes.  Heck, Tyler Labine is basically starring in his own version of Reaper right now on Hulu’s Deadbeat, in which he plays a Sock-like character who can see dead people.  It’s actually better than you’d guess based on the trailers, but it’s no Reaper:

In the rest of Fazekas and Butters’ interview, they discuss their entire career and what it’s like working with Marvel on Agent Carter.  About Reaper, they discuss the origins, the pitch process, how Sock was based off one of the show’s writers (who now writes for Agent Carter), how The CW initially inundated them with notes on the scripts but then seemed to stop paying attention to them altogether, and what it was like watching Louie C.K. and Paul Feig (Bridemaids director) audition for the part of The Devil.  They apparently still run into people from The CW who admit they shouldn’t have canceled Reaper.  As you might expect, that doesn’t actually make Fazekas or Butters feel better; it just annoys them.  You can listen to the full interview at Nerdist.com.  If you want to re-watch the first season (or experience its brilliance for the first time) head over to Hulu Plus.

What about you? Would you welcome a Reaper return?  Or think they should just let it stay dead? Just impressed I resisted the urge to make some lazy pun about a show named Reaper being resurrected from the dead? Don’t be – I didn’t go there mostly just because I suck at puns. I’ll stop writing now.  If you want to take over for me get started in the comments section.

Source: The Nerdist Writer’s Panel Podcast 

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

34 Comments

  1. Sasha Shafranko June 24, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    One of very few shows that made me laugh every episode. Sometimes i wonder how qualified the decision makers for cancelling shows really are…

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    1. It’s funny that the Reaper creators were later told that the network realized their error and regretted canceling the show, yet such a revelation offered them no comfort, instead making it seem worse.

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  2. I’m from the UK and I loved this show so much every week a new episode came on i was ready to watch it. I have even bought the Dvds, and got a dvd player to play us region films just so I can relive the moments of both two seasons. Even to this day 2015,8 years after the show started i still watch this when I go sleep. I love the show and i would love to know whats happens regarding Steve braking Sams hand and then saying God works in weird ways and your not alone. I got chills watching that moment and I just wish it would be bought back so we can see what he meant by this and how does he finally get out of his deal with the devel.

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  3. I just found reaper and it soo sucks there is no other seasons!

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    1. Totally agree. Once you finish Reaper, if you long for more I’d recommend the Hulu original series Deadbeat which stars Tyler Labine as a medium who helps ghosts move on. It’s a bit of a spiritual cousin to Reaper, kind of like what if Sock grew up, moved to New York City and had his own supernatural adventures with a new set of friends. They clearly have a tiny budget, though, meaning there are some rather poor special effects on display. Once you get used to that, it’s a pretty fun show for anyone who liked Repear. Hulu currently has two 10-episode seasons of Deadbeat. No idea if it’s coming back for a third.

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      1. It is comming back for a third. I loved reaper as a kid and have watched both season almost 20 times now. Once i saw deadbeat I got the same rush I had when I watch reaper. In case you want to know, it premiers on 4/20

  4. Just finished binge-watching the last few episodes of Reaper.
    It’s too bad that we likely won’t see how this series would have properly ended. Maybe someday there will be a TV-ovie or mini-series to wrap things up.

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  5. I really loved the show Reaper. I wish they would bring it back, I was very disappointed that it had been cancelled.

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  6. im searching for it and i can only find 1 season on hulu…so disappointed

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  7. just found reaper and loved it. wish there was another season.

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  8. Bring it back. Funny show the cast were great together

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  9. I am surprised to see a comment about Reaper from this year!!! Well I am and I’m not, it was/is one of my favorite shows. It was a roller coaster ride for the fans, it was almost cancelled after the 1st season. When word got out that it might not get a 2nd season the cast was very vocal about their love of the show and rallied fans to show support for the 2nd season by mailing socks (in honor of Tyler’s character “Sock”) to CW exec’s. It worked and they/we got it another great season. At the end of season 2 they started saying it was going to be cancelled again. It was hard to believe because from what I could tell it had a large fan base. A lot of people were speaking up asking what could we do this time but the cast wasn’t as vocal as before. It was around the time that season 2 was being released on DVD and I read somewhere that Brett said to show support for a 3rd season by buying season 2 on the release date and emailing a copy of the receipt to the CW execs. There were also multiple websites set up for instructions on who to email and what to say to show your support and petitions to sign. There was talk about it going to other networks with a big budget cut and that Tyler was getting “too big” for the show and was hoping it would get cancelled to pursue “bigger and better” things. That was the rumor and at the time he didn’t show as much support for a 3rd season as he did for the 2nd. And even long after they officially announced it was cancelled there were still people protesting trying to get a comeback. For me I would have loved to see it come back even on another network with a budget cut but only if it had the full cast and they all wanted to do it. One of the cool things about the show is that it looked like they were having a great time doing it and if that changed then it probably wouldn’t be the same. It would be crazy to see it comeback after this long but I would definitely watch it. BRING REAPER BACK!!!

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  10. Hulu doesn’t even have season 2 which sucks… But I sort of don’t want to watch it because then it will be over for real. Reaper is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen and would love them to pick it up again – even if they did a reboot with a new cast I’d be interested.

    The premise is what made it engaging… Some say go to Deadbeat but I’m not sold. it is cool and all but everyone does the ghost medium thing and the only new addition to that premise is the fact they are high asf always… So not original. Funny, but not original.

    Now Reaper… That was original IMO; a bounty hunter (son of the devil) taking evil souls back to hell? That was engaging to me.

    Who cares if networks don’t want to carry it… There are other ways now. Maybe Hulu would pick it up like they did The Mindy Project- another great show they were smart to continue without tv contracts. Online is the way to go. Heck, use the reaper site and embed on your own, even. Ad revenue is all yours then.

    Forget the TV networks and Bring it back online. Shows can do it their way online without the network nonsense and regulations. Internet streaming is better and is taking over TV anyway…

    Bring Back Reaper… Online! Thanks.

    Reply

    1. I get almost not wanting to see Reaper season 2 because as long as it’s out there for you the show will never truly be over. I will say there is a storyline involving Sock which I loved but it had a lot to do with killing the show as it caused a bit of controversy at the time, controversy which didn’t translate to more viewers (instead, fewer).

      As for Deadbeat, the stoner aspect of the show was enhanced exponentially this past season with the addition of Kal Penn to the cast. The show underwent a slight creative overhaul and lost most of its sweetness and veered off into straight-up stoner comedy territory. The first two seasons were quite different, although I don’t know which season you were referring to when you mentioned “the only new addition to that premise is the fact they are high as always.” I’m still slightly amused at just how little money they clearly have, though, even in season 3. You could make an argument that if they can make Deadbeat for such little money surely they could make Reaper, but it had a bigger cast, more sets and hour-long as opposed to half-hour episodes.

      Agent Carter was just canceled meaning Fazekas and Butters are theoretically available, but according to IMDB they’ve moved on to producing The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez. They are probably more concerned right now with saving Agent Carter or engineering some kind of wrap-up movie (or something) than circling back around to Reaper. However, if Gilmore Girls can come back then never say never, I guess. Perhaps the most important step to any true Reaper revival would be getting it up on Netflix in its entirety, and see what happens from there. That was the precursor to the Gilmore revival, after all.

      Reply

  11. Netflix needs to bring it back

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  12. I would really love it if the creator of Reaper continue with season 3. I’ve been waiting since the last episodes of season 2 when Steve broke Sam’s hand. Please start the season 3. Its been soooo long. 😫😫😫

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    1. Last I checked, the Reaper creators are free. Agent Carter was canceled, and the other show they were attached to didn’t get picked up at the upfronts. So, there’s that, not that it necessarily means anything at all for the hypothetical future of Reaper.

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  13. Don’t tell me that!! what a tease. Reaper was and still is my favorite show of all time. I thought the show was brilliantly funny and cast perfectly. I’d love to see it return.

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  14. We were blessed from 2007/09 with 31 wonderfully wicked episodes of Reaper over two seasons in which the we saw perfectly cast actor Ray Wise give a supreme twinkle-in-the-eyed performance as the Devil surrounded by a cast energetic actors whose combined talents, humour, wit, chemistry & camaraderie made the series what is was, and still could be, if allowed to shine once more . All I can say the ones who have the power to resurrect this sleeping beauty is this. Drop your golf clubs immediately. Put down that glass of expensive French plonk in that exclusive Beverly Hills restaurant. Leave that Nudy Bar, oh but before you stick those crisp $20 dollar bills back in your wallets, do tip Candy as she’s danced her hooters off as needs the money for collage studies. Go straight home in your BMW convertible to your wives or partners, apologise to them on bended knee for being such a dick by giving them flowers & fine Belgian Chocolates promising to put a padlock you zipper, then Immediately call the creators of Reaper namely Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters by confirming interest in commissioning a long awaited season three of Reaper, which then can enable them to inform all the cast members of this classic series i.e Brett Harrision, Tyler Labine, Missy Pergrine, Rick Gonzalez, Jenny Wade, Valarie Rae, Donavon Stinson & Andrew Airlie ect… , who then themselves can free-up space in their busy workload to film this much loved & lamented gem, thus releasing us passionate Reaper fans from our angst & televisual limbo. Thank you.

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  15. I love this show and they definitely need to start season 3!

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    1. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything new on this front. If you liked Reaper I’d recommend Hulu’s Deadbeat (which stars Tyler Labine, and is similar but clearly operates with a lower budget and leans much harder into stoner comedy) or Netflix’s British collaboration Crazyhead (which, again, is similar but has two female leads and far more British sensibilities).

      Reply

  16. This is by far my favorite TV series of all time. I found this show when I was going through a lot of stuff. I never heard of it before 2013. In that year, damn near everyone I knew died. Friends, family- all unrelated deaths. I started watching horror movies because things were just kinda grim and I wanted something lighter. I liked Shaun of the Dead very much and I looked for movies in that style of comedy horror. I found Dale and Tucker vs Evil and I loved it! I looked for the actors in that movie in similar roles and of course, I found Sock. I was amazed by this show because each character is so very well fleshed out and it even made the Devil look good lol. The show is still amazing and on 5/14/2017 I have been marathoning this series. It is a shame that all this reality tv crap succeeds and this show was cancelled. I hope the cast and crew well in the future. If it comes back as ANYTHING, we at the Comic X-Change Show will all be there!

    Reply

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your terrible 2013. My belated condolences. I can certainly see where Reaper would make for quality comfort food TV. It’s inherently appealing to simply hang out with Sock and the gang and look forward to The Devil’s every hilarious appearance. I’m somewhat surprised that Reaper hasn’t at least become a comic book because, seriously, doesn’t ever geeky show end up as a comic book these days? I’m not sure what Reaper’s showrunners are up to right now since we’ve long since moved past the cancellation of Agent Carter. And other than Tyler Labine I almost never see any of Reaper’s actors in anything, which is a shame. But I get the impression the time for a Reaper revival has either passed or not yet come. Hell, Roseanne’s back for some reason. So, never say never, but for now we still have those 2 seasons and as you said they’re just as funny today as they ever. I’m glad you found your way to it, and especially glad you found your way to Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil because holy hell is that film hilarious. FYI: Labine also had a Hulu series, Deadbeat, for a couple of seasons that has a low-rent Reaper feel, but it’s nowhere near as good and not for everyone. Still, the three seasons are all on Hulu if you want to give it a chance.

      Reply

  17. Tammy L Klingensmith July 9, 2017 at 7:45 AM

    Please make season 3 of Reaper!!!
    I love the show, but you have to have the same characters. The end of season 2 really left me and my family up in the air, we were hoping for a season 3….I have been looking for it since I found season 2.
    Please, please, please bring it back!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    1. There doesn’t seem to be much movement on this right now, but these days you can never count out a return or revival from any show with enough fans crying out for such a thing (and even sometimes for those shows no one was really asking to see again).

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  18. please bring Reaper back. I want to know what is supposed to happen in season 3

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    1. It’s TV in 2017 – anything’s possible, re: a Reaper return. However, if you like Reaper I’d recommend checking out Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, which is the newest show from Reaper’s two showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters.

      Reply

  19. I was about 3 years late learning of the show Reaper. A friend knew that I would get into it, and sure enough the bond with the characters and the theme was instantaneous. As soon as I got through the second season I called my friend and asked why the H-E-double hockeysticks there wasn’t another season and he told me the story of why it didn’t continue. I think all we can do now is take a break from the two reaper seasons, and come back to it once it is less fresh in your mind.

    In 2011, I was new to the power of Netflix and the hours of entertainment it could provide, and Reaper was one of the first series I watched on there while it actually still listed there. I am enthused to see there is discussion of the show in late 2017 with comments leading up to even this MONTH! Last thing I can say, is it’s been about almost a decade since the Reapers’ fade-away…and I must say we live in different times even after just a quick decade. For anyone of us watchers who were in our late teens when the show was new, keep digging up those old interests of yours, that’s what I’ve been doing and it sure is nice to remember how I used to identify.

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    1. A comment like your’s is a reminder that people are still discovering old shows like Reaper all the time. In a different era, uncommonly good shows unjustly ended without any real closure all the time. There was no recourse. You just had to suck it up and be thankful for what you got. Now, in this era that old mindset just doesn’t compute because any old show can instantly become someone’s new favorite show, and when they get to the unsatisfying end they can join the list of people demanding a revival. These things don’t always happen, of course. Jericho never came back. Reaper still hasn’t. Ditto for Happy Endings. And sometimes the shows that do come back shouldn’t have bothered.

      However, it has to be the ultimate compliment to the creators, cast and crew of a show to hear of new fans finding their show years later and asking why there wasn’t more. Actually, it has to be a bit bittersweet because as David Simon once joked he doesn’t want to hear about how you fell in love with The Wire after it was off the air. If you’d actually watched when it was around maybe it would still be on. Unfortunately for the ladies behind Reaper, they’ve experienced that a couple of times now. Add Agent Carter to the list of their canceled-too-early shows.

      “For anyone of us watchers who were in our late teens when the show was new, keep digging up those old interests of yours, that’s what I’ve been doing and it sure is nice to remember how I used to identify.”

      Well said.

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      1. Glad I could contribute to the topic. You’re certainly spot on about people starting to go back to old TV shows, movies, and maybe even music artists. Big time celebrities, actor/actress’, and music artists are beginning to grow old and die off. They expanded on ideas done in the 80’s (some of the greatest works of human history) and are now having to comform to a newer, more current tastes and interests of the 21st century culture.

        Lastly, I will certainly look into the similar shows aforementioned in the comments above. (Jason Ritter (probably) savs the world, Deadbeat, and Agent Carter)

  20. I know everyone is recommending Deadbeat, but if I might offer up another suggestion of another cancelled too quickly show. That would be Dead Like Me.

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    1. Deadbeat is the more obvious because of Tyler Labine, the supernatural premise, and the bro humor, but Dead Like Me is a great recommendation as well. Like Reaper, it’s about someone forced through supernatural means to finally get their life together, the difference being that George literally has to die to finally learn how to live and become an adult. But a lot of the workplace satire humor with George and Delores is similar to the Work Bench stuff on Reaper, and the quirky cases of the work also occupy a similar comedic space. Plus, both shows only lasted 2 seasons, and unlike Reaper Dead Like Me at least got some closure in the form of that TV movie. So, it wouldn’t have occurred to me but I second your Dead Like Me recommendation.

      I would also add in Crazyhead, a British show on Netflix that is basically the female version of Reaper. Sadly, just like Reaper and Dead Like Me its a canceled too soon victim, except this time it didn’t even make it to a second season. But if you like Reaper Crazyhead’s a great binge, especially since it’s just 6 episodes long.

      The premise: After being attacked by a Demon only she can see, Amy (the Sam of the Show) is saved by Raquel (the Sock of the show), a demon hunter. From here she knows that she’s not alone and isn’t crazy, even though she has to see her Psychiatrist Callum

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  21. We want reaper, not show like Reaper 😦

    Reply

    1. Well, we did just get an actual Reaper reunion. Kind of. In a different show.

      http://ew.com/tv/2018/02/20/kevin-probably-saves-the-world-reaper-reunion-clip/

      If you haven’t seen the episode yet – and spoiler warning if you’d rather track down this (Kevin) Probably Saves the World episode for yourself on Hulu or wherever else – basically Jason Ritter’s character and his girlfriend have to track down some old Chuck E. Cheese-like animatronic animals, and their internet sleuthing leads them to these two weird guys who sell random items out of a bunker-like warehouse. Those two dudes, of course, turn out to be Sock and Sam, who are never actually named on screen (mostly because they use fake names) nor is their supernatural past directly referenced. Instead, they make a vague reference to how they happened upon most of the stuff in the warehouse as part of their past job. The scene is oddly placed and performed as it pertains to the natural rhythms and worldview of (Kevin) Probably Saves the World, but as a treat to Reaper fans it’s a lot of fun.

      So, looks like Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas never totally forgot about their old Reaper pals, even though they’re onto like their fourth or fifth post-Reaper show at this point.

      Reply

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