Alisa Cohen
June 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

With its absurd death sequences and smart-ass dialogue, Showtime’s Dead Like Me: The Complete First Season can be exhaustingly quirky. But buried underneath the eccentricities is a thoughtful observation about growing up. After teen malcontent Georgia Lass (Muth) gets pulverized by a Mir space-station toilet seat that’s plunged to earth, she joins a motley crew of undead — and unpaid — soul collectors. In her postmortem quest to find a job, a pad, and a purpose, the feisty Lass learns to, well, live. Even when such ”death lessons” border on predictable, the nimble cast keeps the show animated: Cynthia Stevenson (playing Georgia’s ironically named mother, Joy) is brilliantly brittle; and Patinkin, as Rube, middle manager of the Great Beyond, does deadpan to great effect. Death should be proud. EXTRAS Fairly standard DVD fare, though on-screen ‘zine Dead Like Us Weekly captures the series’ irreverent tone (sample headline: ”Necromance! Do You Believe in Love After Life?”).

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