5. "Haunted," Dead Like Me
Air Date: 10/31/04
Before Mandy Patinkin held it down on Homeland, he played father figure to another troubled girl on a Showtime series, in Dead Like Me, a dark comedy from the network's earlier years that is easily one of the best cable series that you lamed on.
The off-beat/supernatural show followed the misadventures of a group of Seattle-based Grim Reapers, including Patinkin's fatherly Rube, Jasmine Guy's tough-as-nails Roxie, and Laura Harris's would-be starlet Daisy, and freshly deceased, new to the ranks, 18-year-old burnout Georgia (Ellen Muth). The series was refreshingly original yet failed to get hot, but thankfully the second season finale "Haunted" works just fine as a series finale, as well as a great Halloween special.
Georgia lives as an undead Reaper in her hometown (and works as a temp; Reapers don't get paid) but she's protected by a mystical plot convenience that masks her face should she come across any old family and friends, namely her mother and younger sister Reggie (Britt McKillip), who haven't been coping well with her death. Legend has it, however, that on Halloween the cloaking is turned off, and the undead appear as they are.
Georgia and fellow Reaper/professional screw-up Mason (Callum Blue) are out to score as much candy as possible, meanwhile the Reapers have a full plate thanks to a serial killer out to claim four random victims in as many hours. The series goes out on a high note, masterfully blending every tone it gracefully pulled off for 29 episodes as a simultaneously darkly funny, genuinely macabre, unsettling, and yet ultimately heartfelt hour of television.