The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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"Tru Calling" vs. "Dead Like Me"

Thanks to the magic of downloading, I recently saw the pilot of the new Eliza Dushka (Faith on Buffy) show, Tru Calling. The premises is that she's a morgue attendant who can go back in time whenever an "untimely" death comes in and try to prevent it. her character was a track star in school, which comes in handy as there were about a dozen transition shots of her running from one place to another. As a poor student she can't afford cabs all the time. Although with the time travel bit you'd think she'll start playing the lottery. She also has the requisite computer geek friend who sits at his machine all day, can get her any piece of information she needs, and of course is secretly in love with her.

The show was competent, but not much else. The dialogue usually verged on the inane, and the show was completely without humor. Unless they fix it up, I don't see it lasting past 13 episodes. Which might work out for the best for Eliza, as she had already made the commitment to do this when she was offered the "Faith" Buffy-spinoff show. If this tanks fast enough, she might be able to still do that.

Also that night I saw two episodes of Dead Like Me which were much better. Heck, the opening credit sequence of this show beat out Tru for original ideas. As that's on Showtime, I'll have to rely on Aaron's copyright violations if I want to see any more.

Dead is about a 20-ish woman, George, who's leading not much of a live when she gets creamed by a re-entering toilet seat from an old space station. Now, just before you die, a Grim Reaper is suppose to touch you to free your soul from your body, and then you go to the lights. But George's reaper just got his quota, and now she's stuck with his job.

Being a Reaper complete sucks. You have to live in the real world, get a day job to pay your way, and still go around touching people just before they are supposed to die. George's controller is Mandy Patinkin, who's wonderful as usual, and her fellow reapers are an assortment of weirdos. They specialize in people who are die in offbeat accidents, which adds a real note of dark humor to the show.

There's only a few episodes made so far, but the writing and acting is completely top-notch.

Adding to the weirdness, we tried to watch the first episode of the show, but it was literally mixed up with an episode of Space: 1999. I mean we'd get a few second of Dead, then some Space, etc. Aaron had never had anything like that happen before and is at a loss to explain it, especially as he had watched the episode before and it was fine.


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