"Dead Like Me" is a new series that began a few weeks ago on Showtime. This show was completely off my radar, but I caught two episodes at a friend's house last night. If you're any kind of science fiction/fantasy fan, this show is well worth watching. (I can't say whether or not this show alone is worth the expense of becoming a new Showtime subscriber, so I'd suggest finding a buddy to tape it for you.)
In the darkly comedic pilot episode, we meet a disaffected 18-year-old girl named George (Ellen Muth) who lives in Seattle. While on her lunch break from her first day at a dead-end job, George gets hit with the flaming, hurtling remains of a space station toilet seat. Newly dead, she discovers she's to become an afterwordly wage-slave and join the ranks of the undead Grim Reapers who patrol the city extracting departed souls from their bodies and escorting them to their afterlives. Her lack of faith and direction in her life made her unsuitable for either Heaven or Hell, and as a consequence she became the final soul to fill the spiritual quota of the Reaper who harvested her; she must act as his replacement.
The show also stars Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend, Scream 2) as Betty, Jasmine Guy as Roxy, Callum Blue as Mason, and Mandy Patinkin (probably best known as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride) as Rube. All are Reapers who tutor George in her new job and unlife.
Being undead in this show's world is rather unglamorous: the Reapers still need food, shelter, and clothing, but they don't get a salary for the work they're compelled to do for the universe. So, they either have to rob the dead and squat in their apartments ... or they have to get a low-profile, dead-end job to get by.
The series is directed by Scott Winant, who also directed episodes of "Once and Again", "The West Wing", "thirtysomething", and "My So-Called Life".
The writing is top-notch; most of the scripts so far have been done by Brian Fuller, who wrote for Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and also did the script for the recent, very good TV adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie. The musical score and song selections are done by ex-Police member and veteran composer Stewart Copeland.
While the acting is uniformly strong, Patinkin is especially wonderful to watch. The special effects are very decent, and because this is Showtime, the series is fairly uncensored when it comes to language and sex.
Georgia "George" Lass: Ellen Muth
Mason: Callum Blue
Betty: Rebecca Gayheart
Roxy: Jasmine Guy
George's Father, Clancy Lass: Greg Kean
George's Sister, Reggie Lass: Britt McKillip
Delores Herbig: Christine Willes
George's Mother, Joy: Cynthia Stevenson
Rube: Mandy Patinkin
Musical score: Stewart Copeland
Editor: Dona Nogan
Production Designer: Richard Hudolin
Director of Photography: Danny Nowak
Executive Producer/ Writer: Bryan Fuller
Director: Scott Winant
Servo5678 says I have been looking for a tape trade, but nobody seems to get the channel! So very frustrating.
"Dead Like Me" is too new to have a fan network established. However, both director Scott Winant and actress Rebecca Gayheart are alumni of "Earth 2", so you might check on web boards and discussion lists for fans of that show to see if you can find a local person who'd be willing to lend tapes to you.