Some months back, when still living in New Zealand and with spare download bandwidth on my account, I downloaded two seasons of a now-canceled TV series called Dead Like Me. Don't ask me how I came across it. It certainly was never shown or heard of in NZ. * I guess it must have been in some other context; but it sounded interesting and I had the spare bandwidth—and so, why not?
Summary of the basic premise, shamelessly copied and pasted from Wikipedia:
Eighteen-year-old Georgia 'George' Lass (played by Ellen Muth) is the show's protagonist and narrator. George dies early in the pilot episode, leaving her mother (Cynthia Stevenson) and rest of her family behind at a point when her relationships with them were on shaky ground. She becomes one of the 'undead', a grim reaper.
George soon learns that a reaper's job is to remove the souls of people, preferably right before they die, and escort them until they move on into their afterlife. The show explores the 'lives' and experiences of a small team of such reapers — led by Rube (played by Mandy Patinkin) — as well as the post-mortem changes in George and her family as they deal with George's death.
I finally got around to start watching the show, and it's...well, a gem. Truly. I doubt I've ever seen better. It's slow, and not much really happens; but once it gets to you it won't let you go.
As Mandy Patinkin wrapped up the message of the show: "You have a finite amount of time here, don't waste it. Even if it's a cloudy day or you're living in darkness, fight like hell to find the light."
The spirit of the series is kind-of represented by the snaps below. And if you go here and turn on the sound on your computer, you'll hear an endless loop of one of the songs that gets played at the oddest of places.
And in this next one, they are—probably, because I haven't seen the episode yet, and so I'm guessing—looking at the scene of yet another gruesome massacre, with twisted bodies, faces in ricti of agony and bucketloads of blood. George's way of dying by falling space-station toilet seat was, after all, one of the less bizarre ways in which people in this series meet their demise; and the Grim Reapers of Dead Like Me.
Very cool. Wickedly funny and wry. Very deep. Very wise. Joss Whedon, eat your Absurdist heart out.
* Homer Nods: As my buddy Hazari pointed out, I was mistaken in saying this. Now I wonder if I may have read about it in the TV Guide when still in NZ, and decided that there was no time in my life right then and so downloaded it.