As promised: A Chat with Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine of “Reaper”

“Reaper” is dead. Well, probably, anyway. As of this writing, the show’s fate is technically still in flux, and it certainly can’t hurt for fans to continue to show the series the same support they always have, but to read the comments by two of the show’s stars – Bret Harrison (Sam Oliver) and Tyler Labine (Bert “Sock” Wysocki) – about the future of “Reaper,” it’s fair to say that neither actor is overly optimistic about seeing a Season 3. That’s not to say, however, that they wouldn’t be up for the idea of returning to their characters if they were given the opportunity to do a proper two-hour “Reaper” film. As you’ll soon read, the guys were mostly pleased with Season 2 of the series – now available on DVD from Lionsgate – and would be excited to further explore the events which were set up in the finale. Just as long as there’s no further exploration of Sock’s stepsister…

Just click here or on the icon below, dear readers, to check out the chat in full, and don’t forget to pop back by to leave your comments…

  

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Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine speak out on “Reaper” finale

I recently had a chance to do a joint phoner with Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine in connection with Season 2 of “Reaper” being released on DVD, though it will probably come as no surprise that a sizable chunk of the conversation ended up being about the likely demise of the series. Rest assured, I pointed out that the general tone of the comments from Premium Hollywood about the season finale…well, at least those of John Paulsen, anyway (though it’s clear others share his opinion, too)…were along the lines of, “Oh, my God, this is the biggest gyp I’ve ever seen in my life!”

“Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of that, too,” laughed Labine. “All in all, maybe it could’ve been a better ending for the season, regardless of whether it was the wrap-up or not, but you have to understand that there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen by the end with, like, where you have to leave it. There were a lot of notes coming down from on high, and I think things just get a little bit scrambled at the end of a show that’s on the bubble, technically. I think we have to give the writers a little bit more credit, but, yeah, I think we were all…well, I guess we can speak freely. The show’s canceled. We weren’t super happy with the ending of the show, I feel. But that’s just me. I don’t know. What about you, Bret?”

“No, no, I wasn’t happy,” admitted Harrison. “But I was excited that I got to play Quarters.

“Oh, yeah,” agreed Labine. “We all were.”

The full interview will appear on Bullz-Eye on Wednesday, but to tease you until then, here are a few more choice quotes from the conversation:

“All in all, for a second season, I thought it went well. We introduced some cool characters. But I can officially go on record now as saying that I was not happy with the storyline with me trying to fuck my stepsister.”Tyler Labine

“I think they were planning on leading (Alan Townsend, played by Sean Patrick Thomas) to be kind of part of the finale, from the little bit I heard them talking about it, but deals don’t work out all the time, and I don’t really want to get into too much detail, but…it just didn’t work out, for whatever reason.”Bret Harrison

“If we’d been able to come back and tell the story in Season 3, Andi would’ve been a Reaper, there could’ve been a whole new rebellion with Michael Ian Black as Sam’s guardian angel now, basically, and a full-scale battle between Heaven and Hell might’ve actually started to go on. It would’ve taken a whole new turn.”Tyler Labine

Admit it: you’re already chomping at the bit for the interview, aren’t you? Stay tuned, “Reaper” fans!

  

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Really? This is how they’re going to end “Reaper”? Ugh.

** SPOILER ALERT **

“Reaper” fans have known for several weeks now that the show probably wasn’t going to return in the fall, but we kept watching in the hopes that the series would at least wrap up with some sense of closure.

“Reaper” has been pretty good this season though with the late premiere date it was obvious that it was on the cutting block. Let’s just hope that [Michele] Fazekas and [Tara] Butters can wrap up the series properly instead of letting “Reaper” simply go dark. No one wants that.

Denied.

For most of the season/series finale, “The Devil & Sam Oliver,” it looked like we might get some sort of a satisfying ending. Sam had discovered a way to get out of his deal with the Devil and had picked a contest — “Quarters” — that would give him a legitimate shot of succeeding. (No pun intended.) Even when Steve showed up and broke his right hand, I still held out hope that he’d manage to beat the Devil with his left hand.

Nope.

Instead, with the souls of both Sam and now Andi owned by the Devil, we are treated to a scene of Steve (sort of) explaining that his orders came from “up above.” He shows off his wings and joins a bunch of other angels in the night sky. Cut to Sam and Andi looking up in wonderment. Fade to black.

WTF?

This should be filed under “How Not to Handle a Finale.” The series was on the chopping block for the last couple of months, and even if producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters wrapped up production a while ago, they (or the network) should have had the foresight to shoot an alternate ending or two to give them the option of going in another direction if the show were canceled.

How hard would it have been to shoot a scene of Sam knocking a couple of quarters in with his left hand? Or what about cutting the scene where Steve breaks his hand and have the Devil figure out to cover his eyes after the first miss and force Sam to make all five shots with his right hand? Sam gets his soul back, Andi is safe and the series can end with some sense of closure.

Instead, the series is sent spinning off into another direction, and we’ll never really know how how the story of Sam, Andi, Sock, Ben and the Devil really ends. If we had some closure, I might recommend that my friends watch the show on DVD. But why would I subject them to this painful ending?

Shame on the CW for not insisting that multiple endings be shot. Shame on Butters and Fazekas for the same thing, and for jumping ship even before the fate of “Reaper” was sealed. This finale is a slap in the face of all the fans who stuck with the show for its entire run. Say what you will about ABC’s decision to cancel “Life On Mars,” at least the network and the producers were on the same page in that both sides wanted to give the series an appropriate ending.

More commentary on the “Reaper” finale:

Hitflix
The Star Ledger

  

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Ausiello keeps track of the bubble shows

EW.com’s Michael Ausiello is tuned into the world of television, and his information can usually be trusted. He has an article devoted to the current status of all the shows (renewed, cancelled, on the bubble, etc.) and suggests that readers bookmark it. Here are his thoughts on a few of the shows currently on the bubble.

Scrubs: Prospects brightening.
The Unusuals: A long shot.
Eleventh Hour: Could go either way. Now a long shot. Hearing the crew is looking for other work.
The Unit: A long shot. Now hearing it’s a goner.
Dollhouse: Could go either way. Now hearing it’s a long shot.
Fringe: Sure thing.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: A long shot.
Chuck: Could go either way.
Life: A long shot. Now hearing it’s a goner.
Medium: Safe bet.
My Name is Earl: Could go either way. Fox may rescue it if NBC passes.
Southland: Sure thing.
Privileged: Prospects brightening.
Reaper: It’s a goner.

I’m bummed to hear that the news on “The Unit” isn’t getting better. CBS invited Shawn Ryan to pitch story ideas for another season, and the show has been pretty great the last two years. It’s good to see that “Fringe” is considered a sure thing — I hadn’t heard much about how well it was doing ratings-wise this season. “Southland” continues to get good reviews. I don’t know that the world needs another cop show. My tastes are pretty particular after watching great shows like “NYPD Blue,” “The Shield” and “The Wire,” so I haven’t watched it, but if I keep hearing good things, I may dive in this summer when there isn’t much else on.

If you don’t see your favorite show on this list, be sure to check this link for the latest info. I’d like to see Ausiello tackle some of the basic and pay cable shows on FX, TNT, TBS, USA, HBO and Showtime, but this page only covers the major networks.

  

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