Dead Like Me: Life After Death gave the cult series an epilogue following its cancellation. Bryan Fuller is a television writer and producer who’s developed a cult following after creating several short-lived, but acclaimed shows. One of his earliest projects was a TV movie remake of Carrie, which is unique among every other version of the story because the title character lives in the end. That’s because a TV series was planned to follow, which never came to fruition. Fuller would go on to create such cult shows like Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.
Arguably Bryan Fuller’s most popular series is NBC’s Hannibal, a reimagining of author Thomas Harris’ famous cannibalistic psychiatrist. The show starred Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy and would win acclaim for its performances, art direction and elaborate use of gore, especially for a network show. The series has a devoted fanbase known as “Fannibals,” but despite a rabid following, it was cancelled after three seasons. In recent years, Fuller worked on both American Gods and Star Trek: Discovery, though he quickly exited both over creative differences.
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Another Bryan Fuller created show with a big fanbase is Dead Like Me, which debuted in 2003. This followed a sardonic young woman named Georgia (Ellen Muth) who is killed in the opening episode and forced to become a grim reaper. She has to ferry the souls of those who died in accidents to the afterlife, and after she hits an unknown quota, she can move on too. The series also followed her interactions with supervisor Rube (Mandy Patinkin, Criminal Minds) and the aftermath of her death on her parents and sister. Dead Like Me was a great mix of deadpan humor and surprising warmth, but it soon ran into trouble.
Following frequent clashes with MGM over the direction of Dead Like Me, Fuller left the show after five episodes. Without his leadership, the second season took a noticeable downturn in quality and was cancelled in 2004. Fans got their wish for a revival with 2009 STV movie Dead Like Me: Life After Death. This takes place five years into Georgia’s grim reaper job, where she and her co-workers have to deal with the arrival of sleazy new boss Kane (Henry Ian Cusick, Lost) whilst she tries to reconnect with her sister.
Sadly, Dead Like Me: Life After Death didn’t live up to the series. Neither Bryan Fuller nor Mandy Patinkin returned for the movie and it lacks the wit and charm of the show’s best episodes. Ellen Muth is still great as Georgia and director Stephen Herek (Critters) manages to squeeze some laughs out of proceedings, however. The DVD movie was produced with the thought of making another series, and the movie ends with Georgia being promoted to head reaper. Had the show continued, this could have been a fresh new direction, but Dead Like Me: Life After Death proved to be the show’s epilogue.
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