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"Dead Like Me"
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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

It has me hooked.

Author: Zarbon from United States
10 October 2003

[Note: Apparently some people have been comparing this show with Six Feet Under because they are both "dark comedies". Watch them both and you'll see that they are quite different entities. I don't believe comparisons should be made.]

I saw the commercials for this show and was expecting a pure comedy. This show is not a comedy in the purest sense. Was I disappointed? No, not at all. What I found was that the show is much deeper than a comedy could have ever been.

Is the show funny? Absolutely, but there is so much more to the show than just laughs.

The main character, George (short for Georgia), is an 18 year old girl who was killed in a freak accident. After dying, she finds out that her destiny if to become of one the many grim reapers in the world. According to the show grim reapers do not take the lives of human beings, but merely take the souls and lead them to their final destination. Not a pleasant job, but someone has to do it to maintain the balance of the universe.

We find that George and her family were not happy. They didn't communicate, like many families, and their lives are(/were) filled with regrets. George didn't do anything with her life while she was alive. She wasted her gifts, dropped out of college, and worked crappy part-time jobs. While that doesn't sound like the most admirable person, we find that George is actually quite a good person at heart and she had let the world get the best of her. We also find that there's more to her than first meets this eye.

This, in my opinion is where the show really shines. First appearances do not tell the whole story. Take the rest of the cast...

Rube, an inflexible leader who is always on the reaper's case(s). Mason, a young burn out who died from a drug overdose and steals cars. Daisy, a former starlet who's vanity and love of money causes selfishness which effects others. Roxy, one of the most short-tempered and grumpy people you'll ever run into.

On first impression that's what you'll see. As the series progresses, the viewer sees that there is much more to all of these people. We get a glimpse into who they really are and why they have become the way they seem.

One of the other things unique to this show is that not only do we see the way George is coping with her death and after-life, but we also see how her family is effected by George's death. This is often sad to watch, but it is pretty true-to-life. It's not easy to lose someone, especially when you have regrets.

The show goes through a whole range of emotions often with unexpected twists. The obvious doesn't always happen and just like in real life, things aren't always as simple as they first seem. I've found myself laughing out loud at this show, but also crying like a baby too. For a show to do that for me is quite impressive in my book.

Lastly, one of the things I like is the irony of that George is doing more "living" now that she's dead than she ever did while she was alive. Maybe those of us who are just "going through the motions" could take a hint from that.

I wasn't sure I was going to like this show when I first started watching it. Now that I've seen the first season, I'm very much looking forward to new episodes. This show is a surprisingly enjoyable series, and I'm glad I took a chance on it.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Premature Death

10/10
Author: michelvega from Canada
23 November 2015

I've been revisiting this show over the last few days and I still marvel at how good it is, and how much we have been deprived of more by its cancellation after only two years on the air. Dead Like Me remains glorious in writing, casting, fun. How much I enjoy seeing these actors grow into their respective roles over two years. The chemistry between them is magnificent and one has to thank the casting department to have chosen Mandy Patinkin as the leader of the group. His personality and acting skills are second to none. Ellen Muth as 'The Toilet Seat Girl' ties all the episodes together with a kind of dispassionate and sarcastic tone that I can't get enough of. Daisy, so flawed and so beautiful, moving softly through every reaping, cheerful, seemingly unaffected. In this world, this alternate world beyond our own, I would love for her to greet me when I move on to the other side. These characters are all good as gold. Every few years, I take out the DVDs and watch them all again, laughing, being moved, enjoying. Perfect 10 for sure. The movie isn't so good, but it closes the series pretty well. There is one thing I find funny with Ellen Muth. I think she's the most beautiful woman I've seen with a sad face. And when she smiles, it's just like a rainbow after the storm. Endearing to the last of my days. The best of the handful TV series I treasure.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Work of Art

Author: bruce-campbell from Canada
30 July 2011

We sat down and watched both seasons, back to back.

The first season's writing, cinematography and production design contribute to what I consider to be a work of art, as far as TV series are concerned. Layers upon layers, with multiple arcs occurring where they made the best effect to the overall. Of special note is the way the writers managed to use previously shot footage to help tell the story, moving big arcs across the series, as well as satisfyingly move episodes along. Without great writers knowing what was in the can already, it couldn't have been done, so they should be congratulated. I can imagine that the whole cast & crew could feel the magic happening.

The success of season 1 did, IMO, negatively affect the tightness & polish of the second season. That's my analysis for the slightly less pleasing, to me, overall craftsmanship of the second season. Not bad; certainly much, much better than most of the schlock that gets trotted out on typical prime time channels. Season 2 is SIGNIFICANTLY better than most of the best of mainstream TV. It's just that, once you've experienced sublime season 1, there is a bit of disappointment that it wasn't as good as the last time you sampled it. Just a little bit less work of art, a tiny bit seems the work of desperation. I can smell the budget concerns, and the exhaustion.

Shall we blame the computers, or the writers?

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An interesting series about the lives of living-dead slaves

8/10
Author: (sotsfyi@webtv.net) from United States
9 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the world of the living slavery is considered to be a great evil by almost everyone, yet when you think about it, the "grim reapers" of the "Dead Like Me" world are essentially slaves.

Consider these facts: None of them chose to become "grim reapers"; this task is forced upon all of them against their wills. They are not paid for their labor, nor are they fed, housed or clothed by "upper management".

Unlike human slaves, the reapers can remain reapers for several hundred years (remember the "plague reapers" in the park egging on the squirrel to bite a man and infect him with plague? They've been around since the Black Death and have little chance of fulfilling their quotas since not many people die of the plague in Washington state).

If the reapers refuse to "reap" they are punished (tormented by gravelings) or threatened with annihilation (Rube once told Georgia that she would "go away" if she didn't do her job).

The reaper's identities are taken away from them (their appearances and names are changed), and they are not allowed to contact their families or anybody they knew in life. If they do try they are punished (Georgia lost some of her memory when she interacted with her family).

If "upper management" behaves in this manner (and in the D.L.M. world they do) then I must ask where is the goodness and justice of "the powers that be"?

As far as I'm concerned, the "powers that be" of the "D.L.M." world are not to be trusted, and although there may be an afterlife for everybody it may be a mistake to believe that this would be something good to look forward to, since the "powers that be" are practitioners of slavery.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sardonic and Beautiful

8/10
Author: jmbwithcats from United States
27 January 2008

Dead Like Me is one of those unique TV series that will be remembered long after "flavors of the day" shows are forgotten. It is bright and dark, hilarious and sad, awe-inspiring and introspective -- all at the same time. It is a wonderful piece of television.

I recently saw the season one DVD set and I must say this show is a marvel. Although it took me a few episodes to warm up to Ellen Muth as George the slacker grim reaper, the show was easily carried by old pro Mandy Patinkin as food-loving reaper Rube and his co-stars, including the gorgeous Rebecca Gayheart who makes a welcome - though all to brief - return to TV after coming off her own real-life tragedy which rivals anything seen on Dead Like Me. I won't rehash the details or the debate -- go look up her IMDb biography if you need more information.

The rest of the cast is outstanding, including Jasmine Guy - much older and wiser than her Different World days - Callum Blue and latecomer Laura Harris as George's fellow grim reapers. Harris, as wannabe actress Daisy, starts out annoying but very quickly develops layers that make her among the show's most interesting characters.

The format of the show is fascinating as there are two arcs going at the same time: George adjusting to the afterlife, and her family slowly falling apart because of her death. Central to this is George's kid sister Reggie, played by newcomer Britt McKillip. It probably isn't considered kosher to refer to an 11-year-old as beautiful unless you're a parent, but keep an eye on this one as she is going to develop into a spectacular talent.

Of course, a supporting cast means nothing without a strong lead, and Ellen Muth more than delivers. As I said above, she took a little getting used to, with her unconventional looks and a performance that gives "quirky" a whole new twist. It wasn't long before Muth truly owned the show and the character, and her narration is hilarious and touching throughout.

There were a few minor missteps in the show's first year. For some reason it was decided to do a flashback/clips episode at the 3/4 mark of the season. I will admit that the episode is fantastic and actually one of my favorites, but it might have been stronger without the flashbacks. Such things might be necessary when you're trying to create a jumping on point for an arc, but this isn't the case with Dead Like Me -- and the first season was only 14 episodes long; too short to need a recap.

The other problem I have with the show is the apparent use of the "Reset button" between most episodes. The events of one episode do not necessarily carry over into the next. This is very apparent as George appears to forget certain lessons learned in the previous episode on occasion. This is probably a minor quibble as this might not be so apparent if you watch the show in weekly chunks rather than all at once.

On the other hand, Dead Like Me is the first made-for-cable series I have seen that integrates adult language and sex (though the latter is relatively minor) in a way that is not jarring. This is not a kid's show, but I wouldn't have a problem letting a teenager see it.

Dead Like Me is easily the best series of the 2003-2004 television season, with Wonderfalls -- created by the same man -- in a very close 2nd place though it only aired 4 episodes. Dead Like Me deserves all the Emmys it can get.

After watching Dead Like Me season 2, episode 7 - I knew this show deserved an Emmy.. I felt it all along, but this episode touched me even more so then any other episode up to this point. Truly, amazing dynamics involved. Perhaps because 2 people in the show tell a mortal something about who they are, what they are.

Daisy to the priest, and Mason to Vandar and his group. In the end the priest dies anyways but the dynamic from when the goth chick finds out and is so into it, to the time Mason takes the soul and she sees, and totally cant handle the actual truth that is at the crux of her romanticism with death, the truth of her fear of death, one is blown away by the sheer force of this episode.

Truly an award winning show all the way around, but I would vote DLM an Emmy for season 2, episode 7 in a heartbeat.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Excellent no Fla Show!

10/10
Author: zuzu33
7 April 2007

The first time I watched this show I was at a small get-together. Every single person there was absolutely loving it. It is brilliant- dig the small jokes scattered and the few absolutely hilarious ones. It is also on my watch brilliantly acted. A+ by far. If you are thinking of renting this definitely do but first rent both discs because 1 only has the Pilot on it and you WILL get hooked! I think it got canceled because it was too dark for a few people, not me. It did not appeal to SOME people because of the cursing or the Grim Reapers. Also I think they should have put it on ABC or something. I rented it. Wasn't it on showtime or something? Anyway it is a yes do but sorry for leaving such a long passage just to say to watch it!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Refreshingly original

10/10
Author: Bigpackrat from United States
9 January 2007

I caught this on the rebound, 2006-07 Sci-Fi channel. I really wish i had seen it in its infancy. It is bright, unique, and compared to many want-a-be's, really funny. So many of the situations parallel the questions and answers that we come up in our own lives or our families. A subject that easily could become corny and overdone, is handled with tact and humor. The number two secret to a success is the ensemble cast. Again a winner, enough variety to keep up the interest but not enough to make the choices look obvious. There was plenty of story lines unexplored, what happened? This show like 'Firefly' hit the chopping block before we had the chance to make a difference. Once it showed up on Sci-fi it takes off like the hit it should have been. As my wife likes to say 'Dead like Me' is a hoot.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

S10 Reviews: Dead Like Me (2003)

Author: suspiria10 from The Void
21 August 2005

Georgia 'George' Lass (Ellen Muth) is your average ordinary 18-year-old. A direction-less college dropout who has the world figured out and decides to stay out of the way. Pretty lame for sure but her life takes on a bit of a twist when on the way to a job interview she is hit and killed by a falling toilet seat from the Russian space station. You may think the story ends there but her tale is just beginning. George gets tapped to replace a retiring Grim Reaper and that's where George's "life" truly begins. Now she is part of a small crazy ensemble of a group, led by Rube (Mandy Patinkin) responsible for collecting the souls of the dead.

"Dead Like Me" is a truly enchanting but twisted series. Snappily written "Dead" is equal parts sarcasm and sweetness all while celebrating the lives of us mere mortals. This well written series can have you howling with laughter one moment and bringing tears to your eyes the next. Genuine and heartfelt "Dead Like Me" sadly went before its' time.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

unique, enjoyable, and unforgettable...

8/10
Author: kalonquark from United States
30 March 2008

'Dead Like Me' is bound to become something of a cult classic. It's hard not to be drawn to the quirky characters, witty dialogue, and ridiculously complicated circumstances. It successfully takes a dry, mocking outlook on serious themes- life and death being the most obvious- and gives us a chance to find humor in otherwise bleak conditions.

The only large detraction from the series is the bundle of unanswered questions we're left with at the end of the second season. Rumors and theories circulating the internet take stabs at answering those questions, but it's just not enough. There's also the issue of broadcast. When aired on Sci Fi, there was plenty of censoring (mostly language) and, believe it or not, that seriously takes away from the flavor of the characters' personalities. This is a show definitely worth watching uncensored.

All in all, it's a good show. There are a number of notable differences between the two seasons, such as a slight shift in tone, but they aren't enough to be considered a distraction. Few of the characters are likable, but we learn to love them anyway. Great acting, deadpan deliveries, and absurd situations hook us from the start. The writing and directing are highly stylistic and good. If you're looking for a series that's fun to watch alone or while having pizza and beer with friends, 'Dead Like Me' is your show.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This is the way it should be done

8/10
Author: erik-137 from Denver
21 September 2006

While there is always room for improvement in anything from Hollywood, this comes far closer to the unattainable upper end of the scale than most.

When I first saw this show (about episode 2 or 3) I was expecting some teen-angst 'why me?' 'Friends' variant.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Of COURSE there's angst! The show is about a young lady suddenly bereft of life - and she's still a virgin. I don't know about you, but if I were a dead 18-year old and not allowed to cross over, I'd be pretty darn angsty, myself.

George deals with it, though, sulking like any teenager - but offering a bit of rare insight, hidden behind some of the best understated humor I've seen in quite a while.

But then, maybe my sense of humor is warped - I really do find the idea that somebody kicking off (pardon the pun) by having the heel of a lady's stiletto shoe stuck in his forehead hysterical. Add to that the interaction of the main characters - meeting in a *DINER* for crying out loud! - and it's amazingly bizarre.

The producer/director had the good sense to let the show stand on its own - no laughtrack, no overacting, and the humor, while it tends to be black, isn't over the top.

I'm sorry this series didn't last longer - it's certainly deserving of a much longer run.

All in all, it rather makes me hope that, when I eventually leave this mortal coil, I can spend time as a reaper.

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