Many times when a TV series is prematurely cancelled, fans and critics alike lament that a show was “never given a chance,” even though a glance at the ratings would show that a TV network was well in reason for giving it the axe.
The CW’s Reaper, which lasted for only two seasons (neither with a full 22 episode order), was thankfully given a second chance with a second season, but unfortunately, it didn’t fit the mold of what the network was trying to present back in 2008, despite being one of the higher-rated series on the network. The notion that it wasn’t produced by CW partners CBS nor Warner Bros. Television probably also contributed a bit. That meant the loyal Reaper fan base was left with only 31 adventures of Sam, Sock, Andi, and Ben as they deal with the Devil, played deviously by Ray Wise. If ever there was a show that ended too soon, Reaper would certainly qualify.
Fans of the series are going to get to see their favorites again, though… and, they didn’t have to make a deal with you know who to get it. FEARnet has purchased the rights to air all 31 episodes of Reaper, beginning in June… and, they’re doing a reunion special reuniting the cast, which airs May 28. To promote this special, we’ve been able to talk to several Reaper favorites about what we have to look forward to, and while we’re at it, we’re getting some of those long-standing Reaper questions answered about the original series. First up: Rick Gonzalez, who played the good natured, easily injured Ben on the show. We’ll be posting our questions to Rick in bold; his answers won’t be. Enjoy:
KSITETV: When Reaper wrapped five years ago, did you ever think you all would be reuniting for a TV special like this?
RICK GONZALEZ: Absolutely not. I knew the interest that the fans had on the show, and I was completely bummed out for them, knowing how abruptly we finished. I knew that the guys went on to do other projects and things, so I knew that the hope in us coming back together would be very slim.
This was a great surprise. It was really just fun to see everyone get together. We had a great time, just bringing up our favorite episodes and just reliving the camaraderie and chemistry we all had. That was really great.
Had you kept in touch with any of the rest of the cast?
I keep in touch with Tyler [Labine] through Twitter, from time to time. We tweet each other every now and then, which is cool, but that’s it. He’s pretty much the only person I’ve come across. I’ve seen Bret [Harrison] one time at the Arclight. You know, you see certain people in passing because we all live in Los Angeles.
So what was it like to all be together?
It was just great. It was almost like a mix of coming back to school, like a back to school feeling, mixed with a high school reunion. Reliving the glory days. It was just fun. It was great to see Ray Wise again, and it was also awesome to see Christine Willes who played Gladys the DMV Demon. She definitely brought to the table a great dynamic to the cast. It was just so much fun to see everyone, and we all just had a great time and a bunch laughs ensued right away.
Why didn’t Reaper take off in the way that it should have on the network?
I was told that in terms of the business side of Reaper, it didn’t exactly fit the mold of the people that were running The CW at the time. We were lucky enough to even be picked up. At the time, Gossip Girl was pretty much the flagship for The CW, so we did not fit in to that ideal. 90210 and I believe Melrose Place was also picked up. Those shows don’t really mix in with a show about the Devil and a boy who has to capture souls.
We did do really well, and we did have our own audience, and we were gaining fans, and we were doing really well in our demographic. I believe, had we gotten a little more support, we could have totally sustained ourselves and possibly done even better.
I think politically, there were other things involved that didn’t fit with us, and ultimately it led to our demise and us being cancelled.
Do you think the show airing on FEARnet could possibly expose people to the show who might not have been able to see it the first time around?
Absolutely. That’s why I’m excited for it being picked up, and for it to come back on the air, to expose a whole new fan base to the show, and how important it was to get us back together and do to the Reaper reunion, to show people how much fun it was, and maybe shed some light on things that they didn’t know or that they would love to know. I totally believe that it could even open more doors.
Were you all caught by surprise when The CW didn’t go for Season 3?
No. I wasn’t. I don’t think a lot of us were. We were hearing the rumblings. We were always on the bubble. The first two seasons, we weren’t picked up cleanly for an entire season; it took us a while to get everything in play, so we were never really comfortably working from a place where we knew our timeline and our time frame, and how interested the studios were, in terms of ourselves. It was always a show on the bubble.
Do you think this is the entire interview? NO! Come through our portal to read Part 2