Sam Oliver is a local slacker who discovers on his 21st birthday that his parents have sold his soul to the devil, who materializes to recruit him to be his personal bounty hunter to track down, captured, and return escaped evil souls back to Hell. Sam, with his doper fellow slacker friend, Sock,, an retail store co-worker, Ben, must try to stop a serial arsonist, masquerading as a fireman, and Sam in so doing his job discovers his newfound abilities of telekinesis, and communicate with Hell-bound hounds, to help him and save himself from death and eternal damnation, and hoping to survive his first job to get Andi, the attractive co-worker as his retail store job, to notice him, and for Sock to get his ex-girlfriend, Josie, a local district attorney, to get back together. Written by
Most people try to make their 21st birthday something special but for Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) it becomes something more than he could ever have imagined when he finds out that many years ago his parents (Andrew Airlie and Allison Hossack) sold his soul to the devil (Ray Wise). Thankfully, the devil doesn't want to drag Sam down to Hell. Oh no, he wants Sam to do some work for him on Earth, he wants him to capture souls that have escaped from Hell and to put them back where they belong. Sam doesn't feel up to the task but, then again, Sam hasn't really ever been up to any task. Neither has his best friend, 'Sock' (Tyler Labine), who finds out about the situation and wants to help. If they can get the job done without harming their colleague(Ben, played by Rick Gonzalez) or ruining Sam's chance of a date with the lovely Andi (Missy Peregrym) then that would be fantastic. Unlikely, but fantastic.
This Pilot episode, directed by Kevin Smith, is all about setting up the premise, of course, but also shows Sam after his first spirit - a dangerous fireman (Fraser Aitcheson) who looks set to burn down any building that he holds a grudge against. Sam needs to find out the reason for the fires and then work on capturing him, while adjusting to the whole situation.
Written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, people weren't too surprised to see Kevin Smith's name attached to the show (he may have directed this episode but was also on board as a producer) when the adverts for it quickly highlighted the slacker comedy vibe of the thing. If you don't like that kind of comedy then you may hate this but do give it a go before you make up your mind because the script is a lot of fun and it's buoyed by great performers in the lead roles.
Bret Harrison is very good as Sam, a young man who is used to giving up on things instead of putting in some extra effort, while Tyler Labine is a real treat as the best friend who is both completely selfish and yet also completely loyal. Missy Peregrym is both pretty and cool while Rick Gonzalez does well in his role, even if it is the weakest of the group. Ray Wise has a lot of fun as the devil and his character is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best of the lot.
This does everything that a good pilot show needs to do - setting up the premise, characters, running gags, etc - and it gets the first season off to a cracking start.
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