I wrote about this show last year in a posting series I had been contemplating called: Resurrect, Reboot or Retire. I took a look at 3 different shows that I loved and considered my opinion on whether they should be, as the title eluded to be, resurrected, rebooted or retired and one of the shows I inquired of was Dead Like Me.
I thought that I would revisit the idea and expand on it as an entry for the latest Moviepilot Contest.
Dead Like Me was around for two seasons on Showtime in 2003 & 2004 with a follow up movie nearly 5 years later. It was one of those shows that had a really unique concept at the time. A comedy-drama that focused on the life after life of grim reapers, who were just as in the dark about the Afterlife and the Great Beyond as the 'mere mortals'.
It balanced the concept of dealing with death and the emotions attached to being in a limbo of sorts with no end in sight. It blended the gallows humor with the personal connections seemingly built with the characters rather well. It's a really quirky show, and had great potential but with had 'production issues' and creative differences which led to the cancellation prematurely.
It is a show with potential and an original premise and carried a good amount in intelligence which was refreshing, but I think focusing less on the 'dreariness' of the main character, George, would make a world of difference to the possible longevity of the show. I think it's very possible to keep a dark-comedy tone and lose some of the emotionally distant acting that was in the original. Maybe cast an actor that doesn't have a completely bleak outlook on life and tweak the story a little so along with dealing with the issues of being a grim reaper and under the age of 20, also has to deal with the ideas of being so young and learning about all the life that was missed. I'm sure there's potential in that direction somewhere.
Here is how I would recast the 4 main characters:
Character: Actor (age at time of show)
New Actor (current age)
Georgia 'George' Lass: Originally Ellen Muth (24)New Actress: Mackenzie Lintz (19)
George is the main character for the series, as the show revolves around her day to day activities and how she interacts with the people that she may or may not have to reap.
Mackenzie is no stranger to being a main character in a television series, seeing as she's been portraying Norrie on one of my unrequited loves of a television series, Under the Dome. She portrays an often cynical, sulking, pouting character. And to my recollection: that's pretty much a dead ringer (pun intended) for George.
Mackenzie may not have an extensive acting background, but I think it helps her in the long run, because she has the opportunity to create a character with little bias of past characters in her repertoire.
Rube Sofer: Originally Mandy Patinkin (50)New Actor: Paul Adelstein (45)
Rube is probably the hardest character for re-casting. Mandy Patinkin is just one of those actors that's so difficult to replace. Mandy just had a way of portraying the 'fatherly' figure for George as well as the boss figure for the rest of the reapers. Because of the ability that Mandy has to dive into the character and develop it beyond probably what his writers could imagine. That's really tough to find.
Paul Adelstein has a similar ability to develop his characters to an extent that it truly believable. He is most well known for his character Dr. Cooper Freedman on Private Practice and Paul Kellerman on Prison Break both of which show the acting diversity that Paul carries with him. From portraying a pediatric doctor to a government attack dog is a fairly wide range in my opinion, and I think Paul would be able to carry both aspects of Rube's character through a rebooted show. He can definitely show a somewhat distant seeming facade.
Mason: Originally Callum Blue (26)New Actor: Max Irons (29)
Mason is another tough character to cast. Overly likable, but a thief, a drug addict and an alcoholic. He carries the trifecta of bad habits and Callum Blue played that persona very well.
I think Max Irons, although older can carry those traits. He's definitely got the pedigree to be an incredible presence on screen seeing as he has a famous acting father in Jeremy Irons and that doesn't ever hurt your chances.
Max is really just starting to become a name to follow in the film world, he's had a couple solid characters in semi-passable films that failed to meet expectations but that was not because of his lack of acting. He carried a lead character Miles in The Riot Club, as weel as portraying King Edward in the mini-series The White Queen. I think he is a truly gifted actor and there will be many more things to come from him, and playing Mason could be a character that he would breathe new life into.
Daisy Adair: Original Actress Laura Harris (27)New Actress: Diana Agron (29)
Daisy is/was a spoiled actress, who although puts up a bravado of sorts, is truly insecure and lonely, as her dying thoughts were, "why has no one ever loved me?" - She tends to have a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to reaping, but she's never really punished for her actions.
Laura Harris played this character really well, and it was fun to watch her character grow in her relationships with the other reapers as the show progressed.
I believe that Diana Agron would be an amazing addition to the reaper team as Daisy. Diana has that sweet and naive sort of look to her that I remember Daisy having as well as being able to offset that with the brass bravado to push her way into any situation. Diana is no stranger to the television either, although as of late she has had a couple solid big screen characters. She had a small recurring character on Heroes, as well as the long standing character Quinn on Glee. I feel that she has the characteristics to put it all into a character like Daisy.
Roxy Harvey: Originally Jasmine Guy (41)New Actress: Rosario Dawson (45)
Where to begin with Roxy? She's a cynical, no nonsense type. She is a fairly by the books character throughout the show, and Jasmine Guy fit the personality so beautifully. So much so that I'm reaching for Rosario Dawson.
I think Rosario would be a great choice for it, based on personality. Roxy had this sort of dry wit that Rosario can pull off rather well. Roxy also has been seen to carry a temper seeing as she once pulled the soul out of a motorist that was causing her problems.
Rosario has an extensive film background which would go a long way to pushing this reboot into repetitive seasons which the original failed to do outside of season 2.