Dead Like Me marks the return of a SciFi Channel series that met its end a
few years ago. In a way it's appropriate that the series has returned from
the dead since it was about a group of "reapers", dead people left on Earth to
release the souls of people at the moment of their deaths. While
familiarity with the original series goes a long way towards understanding the
characters and what they do, the film does open with a synopsis of the series'
premise told through comic book panels. It gives the uninitiated just
enough of the basics to get going, but if you're new to the series you won't be
able to shake the feeling that you've walked into the middle of something.
Technically this is a standalone movie, but for all practical purpose it's a gift
to the series' fans and they'll be the ones who will appreciate it the most.
In Dead Like Me, the team of four reapers from the original series converge
on the Waffle House where they receive their assignments for the day each
morning from their boss, Rube Sofer, only to find it leveled by a fire and Rube nowhere to
be found. A limo soon arrives to pick them up and takes them to meet their
new boss, Cameron Kane. Kane has a completely different approach to reaping than
considers it secondary to the pursuit of luxury and riches. His influence
on the reapers is strong, and soon each of them is violating one of the major
unwritten rules of reaping. But every action has consequences, especially
when it comes to cheating death, and before long the reapers begin to regret
It will take fans of the original series to really appreciate the way this
movie takes the characters in some new directions and asks the question, "what
happens when reapers break the rules?" They'll appreciate the chance to
spend some time with their favorite characters, even though there are a couple
of new faces in familiar roles due to the practical realities of reassembling a
cast that has moved on to other things. Others may find their interest in
the series piqued by this movie and may find it entertaining, but they won't be
able to shake the feeling that they're watching an extended episode of a series
that they've never seen before.