Picks and Pans Review: Reaper

updated 03/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CW, March 3, 8 p.m. ET |

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The endearing horror-comedy returns with its first new episodes in almost a year, only to go up against the pagan altar of pop worship called American Idol. Reaper, you're in ratings hell! That's too bad, because the premise—nice employee at home-supplies chain moonlights as a bounty hunter of souls who've escaped Satan—has gotten a few twists to increase the hero's tortuous predicament. Sam (Bret Harrison) now believes he may be the son of the Devil (Ray Wise, funny and snarky), although his maybe-Daddy has many spawn and doesn't really like any of them. And one of Sam's friends is involved with a lady demon who conceals her horns and scaly flesh in the guise of a vapid strawberry-blonde. The show's charm is that the humans are innocently juvenile—except for Sam's disciplined, sensible girlfriend (Missy Peregrym, see box)—but also willing to do what they can to fight evil. Preparing to challenge a boxer back from the dead, Sam trains by letting his slacker friend Sock (Tyler Labine) fire baseballs at him.

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