tek's rating: ½

Dead Like Me: Life After Death (R)
IMDb; MGM; Muse Entertainment; TV.com; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

This is a direct-to-DVD follow-up to the TV series Dead Like Me. (Or it could be a TV movie, since it aired a month earlier on a Canadian channel, though I didn't know that until long after I watched it.) It came out in 2009, five years after the series ended (though it's set five years after the series started; not a big difference, since the show only ran for a couple of short seasons). I didn't get around to seeing it until 2013, which I guess is sort of appropriate, since I didn't see the series when it originally aired, either. Still, it's been a few years, so my memories of the show are a bit fuzzy. It's not really important, though. The movie basically plays like a regular episode, just one that happens to be about twice as long. The only major difference is that Rube isn't in the movie, and Daisy is played by a different actress. Oh, and Der Waffle Haus burnt down at the beginning, after which the team of reapers begin meeting at a fancier restaurant.

In case you don't know (and don't bother clicking the link to my review of the show), the main character is a girl named George Lass, who died at 18, and after that became a grim reaper. Her fellow reapers include other dead people: Daisy Adair, Roxy Harvey, and Mason. (Mason, Mason, Mason.) And their boss was Rube Sofer, who would give each of them post-it notes with the names of people who were about to die, along with when and where it would happen. And the reapers would have to go and reap their souls. (It's a bit problematic not knowing what the people looked like or how their death was going to happen.) But anyway, the gang meets their new boss, Cameron Kane (played by Henry Ian Cusick, from Lost). He tells them Rube got his lights (which means he passed on, which happens to all reapers eventually, though they never know when it will happen). It's unclear whether Cameron was telling the truth about this, or if Rube is still around somewhere.

Anyway, Cameron does things differently than Rube did, and for the most part, the gang seems to like his way of doing things (though Roxy takes a bit longer to come around than Mason or Daisy, and George never does). George is upset because her latest reap, of a high school football player named Hudson Hart, doesn't go as planned, and he ends up living... at least a bit longer. Meanwhile, the others start breaking the rules on their own reaps, after Cameron encourages a more relaxed attitude toward such things. One thing that bugs me about the movie is that it never really became clear to me exactly why he did this. I mean, he sort of explained it at one point, but his explanation didn't really make any sense to me. It's a whole "chaos theory" kind of thing, which I get, but I still don't understand what was in it for him... unless it was to drive up some kind of stock prices or something. Or maybe it was just for kicks. But I really don't believe that was sufficiently clear. Anyway, George spends very little time dealing with this, as she has more personal things to deal with (as usual). But eventually, Roxy, Daisy, and Mason realize Cameron is up to no good, and... deal with the problem themselves. I won't say how, but I will say there's a good reason reapers are called "grim." Even if they do make being grim darkly amusing.

What George is dealing with is her discovery that her younger sister, Reggie (who was 11 during the series and is 16 now) was in a secret relationship with Hudson. Reggie doesn't have any friends, which may be due to her strange behavior during the series (which presumably continued to some extent in the time between the series and the movie). Even so, I don't really get why Hudson was keeping their relationship a secret, or why he had a "real" girlfriend, named Jennifer. I do understand a popular boy not wanting to be associated with an unpopular girl, but still... it's really hard not to think of someone who would do that as a major jerk. And yet, it seems clear that he wasn't a jerk, and that he really did love Reggie. But whatever, human interaction is often a mystery to me, anyway. But George eventually makes a connection with Reggie, to help her through this issue. Which is against the rules, but... she's always been a rule-breaker. Oh, and I should also mention that George has a second identity, as an office-worker at a temp agency, named Millie. Part of her time in the movie is also spent dealing with stuff at the office, and the fact that her boss, Delores, has a beloved cat that's nearing death.

I don't really want to say any more about the plot, except that there's a scene at the end that I didn't really understand. I kind of guessed it meant that Rube would be returning at some point, but I guess I guessed wrong. Because Wikipedia's explanation of the scene... says something different, which makes more sense to me. (I probably would have understood the scene if I remembered the show better.) Anyway, I really liked the movie, and I wish there'd be more to the series, but I doubt there ever will. Oh... and I also want to mention the song that played at the end of the movie, "Boom Boom Bâ," by Métisse. It's a really awesome song and I thought it worked really well here. And apparently it was used in the series, but I didn't remember it. Hopefully I won't forget about it again. I'll probably buy it on mp3. And I guess that's all I have to say.

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