Dead Like Me: The Complete Second Season

Cancelled just as it found its stride, Dead Like Me's second and final season makes its way to DVD in the form of a four-disc collection. For the uninitiated, DLM originally aired on The Movie Network, and follows the afterlives of five grim reapers that have been held back on Earth to free the souls of the "about to be departed" moments before death. A job that doesn't even pay! Where season one primarily dealt with George's death and assimilation into her new position as reaper, season two delves further into the lives of the group as a whole. Rube, Roxy, Mason and Daisy all get their share of screen time as they struggle with their faith, their inability to truly connect with the living and the past they left behind. Armed with its own unique brand of quirkiness and a subtle black comedy sensibility, DLM succeeded in making death good entertainment. This was achieved through a combination of great writing (it was a stroke of wisdom having George and her fellow reapers handle "accidental" deaths) and wonderful performances from the cast. Ellen Muth (George) shines in season two, as her character comes to accept her lot in life (and afterlife), discovering a newfound confidence in herself and her work along the way. Similarly, actor Callum Blue embraces his drunken screw-up Mason, and keeps him both engaging and lovable, despite his many flaws. But DLM wasn't a vehicle for Muth or Blue, it was an ensemble show in the most honest sense of the term; it worked because the chemistry between the actors worked. It worked because the writers knew this and tailored their scripts accordingly. That said, its cancellation is one of the biggest disappointments of this past TV season. And from the extras included, one gets the feeling that MGM was equally quick to drop the DVDs and run. The collection includes one featurette comprised mostly of the actors discussing their characters and their role in the series, a second incorrectly named "featurette" that is in fact six individual clips discussing what went into the special effects for the show, nine deleted scenes and the obligatory photo gallery. Yes, you read that right, there is not a single episode commentary, which is embarrassing for any show filmed in the DVD age. Still, nothing will change the fact that Dead Like Me was one of the most original series to hit the airwaves in years, and while it may be gone, buying and enjoying it on DVD will ensure that it will not be forgotten. (MGM)