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the early word

The CW's ‘Reaper’: Don't Fear It!

Harrison and Labine in Reaper.Courtesy of The CW

Vulture's taking a look at some of the most prominent of the picked-up fall TV shows. Which are good? Which are horrible? And most important, which will be worth a precious DVR season pass?

Title: Reaper

Stars: Bret Harrison, Nikki Reed (Thirteen), Tyler Labine, Ray Wise (24)

Network: The CW, Tuesdays at 9

The pitch: Kevin Smith–directed comedy-drama about a slacker who is forced by Satan to collect the souls of the damned who have escaped from Hell.

Pilot report: On his 21st birthday, college dropout and Home Depot–esque store employee Sam (Harrison) notices strange things happening: His parents are exceptionally nervous around him, he has telekinetic powers, and Satan (Wise) appears in the backseat of his station wagon. It turns out before he was born his parents sold their firstborn's soul to the Devil, and now Old Scratch has come to collect. Satan demands Sam act as a kind of infernal bounty hunter, tracking down souls who have escaped from Hell and sending them back where they belong. As Sam and his friends, including sarcastic Sock (Labine), track down a nightmarish escaped arsonist, Sam also tries to seize the moment with the girl he's crushing on, Andi (Reed).

Representative dialogue:

Sam: "It was like I moved it with my mind or something! And that's not the first time it happened today. Something is really — AAH!"
[Sock has thrown a full detergent bottle and hit Sam in the face.]
Sam: "What the hell, man?"
Sock: "You were supposed to move that with your mind."

Breakout star: Obviously Labine, who's surprisingly endearing as the Kevin Smith stand-in — that is, the fat, scruffy, wisecracking best friend.

Worth a season pass?: Sure! An engaging tone and funny actors go a long way. With its smart writing, well-observed big-box-store setting, and story of a wallflower coming into his own — plus its Hellish twist — it's like The 40-Year-Old Virgin meets The Devil's Advocate.