G vs E (aka Good vs Evil). USA. July 18, 1999 to October 31, 1999. Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) March 10, 2000 to May 12, 2000. Rockfish Films / USA Studios / Universal. Cast: Clayton Rohner as Chandler Smythe, Richard Brooks as Henry McNeil, Marshall Bell as Ford Plasko, Googy Gress as Decker Benbow, Tony Denman as Ben Smythe, and Deacon Jones as himself. Executive Producers: Jonas Pate, Josh Pate and Paul Biddle. Created by Pate Brothers (Jonas and Josh).

   This Cable original series from the USA Network had a fun premise that offered up enough laughs to make it entertaining. Yet there were too many flaws that eventually doomed it with the Heavenly Listeners on its Day of Judgment.

   G vs E (as it was called in the first season on USA) featured the adventures of two dead men working for the Corps, God’s bounty hunters. Chandler Smythe and Henry McNeil are two murder victims trying to earn their way into Heaven after living a life not worthy of either Heaven or Hell.

ORANGE VOLVO. (July 18,1999) Written and Directed by Jonas Pate and Josh Pate. Guest Cast: Troy Evans and Dominic Keating Recurring Cast: Susie Park, Blake Heron and Ashley Rogers. *** Reporter and widower Chandler Smythe is killed during a mugging gone bad. Next Chandler finds himself still in Los Angeles and being told he is dead by two men called Ford and Decker. They offer him a second chance at redemption if he joins the Corps, God’s bounty hunters.

   Stationed in the Hollywood division of the Corps, Chandler and new partner Henry hunt down people who have made a deal with the Devil. They try to get the person to renounce the deal but should they fail the Devil takes their client’s soul and turns them into a Morlock (demon). Morlocks and the Corps fight a constant deadly battle, a war of good versus evil.

   The leader of the Corps is tough mean Deacon Jones. Played by the real Deacon Jones a Hall of Fame NFL player that terrorized quarterbacks during his career in the 60s-70s. He brings his no nonsense approach and the ability to inspire fear to his leadership of the Corps.

   Here Deacon gives some advice and also explains the three rules of the Corps:

   The Corps rules are simple:

   No sex. Morlocks look like normal humans except when they die or seen in a mirror. Morlocks use sex to trap Corps agents to kill and turn them into a Morlocks.

   Agents can not contact friends and family. Their loved ones will not recognize them and the Morlocks would use them against the Corps agent.

   Corps agents have no special powers or magic. They can be killed and if they die they face immediate judgment for where they will spend their afterlife.

   While Deacon Jones was a better football player than actor his character is one of the best parts of the entire series. However the rules are a major flaw of the series and while offering conflict for the drama, the rules are responsible for most of the buzz kill when the story gets fun.

   A bigger mistake is the series focus on rookie Chandler Smythe, the worst part of the series. Chandler is a self-absorbed whining loser who refuses to give up being involved with his son. The son is a teenage boy on the edge of going bad. This running plot point is a constant source for Chandler to do something stupid and put everyone in danger. Neither actor Clayton Rohner (Chandler) or Tony Denman (son Ben) are able to make their unlikable characters any less unlikable.

   Richard Brooks’ portrayal of dead 70s cop Henry McNeil is another highlight of G vs E. The series does a fine job parodying 70s TV cops shows from the visual style to the buddy cop relationship between experienced and groovy Corps agent Henry and bumbling idiot rookie Chandler.

   The last two regulars are Ford and Decker, Chandler and Henry’s superiors. Both Marshall Bell and Googy Gress have fun with their roles as bumbling inept superiors and are fun to watch.

   My favorite episode of the series is “Buried,” the third episode of season one. This is a fun episode as the focus is on the buddy relationship of Chandler and Henry as Gods bounty hunters trying to save souls. But even this episode could not avoid spoiling some of the fun with maudlin scenes between Chandler and son.

BURIED. (August 1, 1999) Written and Directed by Josh Pate. Guest Cast: Reno Wilson, Michael Paul Chan and Emmanuel Lewis. Recurring Cast: Susie Parks. *** Chandler tries to save a young boxer from Hell but ends up buried alive. He calls Henry (by cell phone) and Henry begins a quixotic adventure across Los Angeles to find and save Chandler.

   NBCU cable networks USA and Syfy have often shared original programs. USA ordered 22 episodes of G vs E. It aired Sunday at 8 pm and lasted eleven episodes. USA has always aimed at the general audience so G vs E was much better suited for the SciFi (now SYFY) channel and its different smaller audience. The series changed its name to the easier to understand Good vs Evil and moved to the Sci-Fi channel on Friday night for its final eleven episodes.

   The series did a good job exploring the inner workings of the Corps. In an episode from the second season, “Portrait of Evil” wraps itself in parody of 70’s TV buddy cop shows and the film Rear Window as it shows the process of possible promotion (aka Judgment Day) for members of The Corps.

PORTRAIT OF EVIL. (May 5, 2000) Written by Marshall Page. Directed by David Mackay. Guest Cast: Thomas F. Duffy and Jack Donner. Recurring Cast: Jack Esformes. *** Henry retrieves some important documents the Corps was after, kills two Morlocks and saves Chandler’s life. Hero Henry is offered possible promotion to Heaven while Chandler wallows in self-pity.

   While not totally forgotten today, man, if they had just been satisfied doing Starsky and Hutch fight demons, Good vs Evil could have been a cult classic on the level of X-Files and Twin Peaks. Instead it is just another series of many during the wild cable/syndicated days of the 80s through early 2000s that a few viewers remember with fond memories.