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Ellen Gray | The devil's in charge on 'Reaper'

"SOME ARE born great . . . and some have greatness thrust upon 'em," wrote William Shakespeare, who I'd like to think would be tearing things up at HBO if he were alive today.

"SOME ARE born great . . . and some have greatness thrust upon 'em," wrote William Shakespeare, who I'd like to think would be tearing things up at HBO if he were alive today.

I've been telling people for months that geeks are in this fall, but that's oversimplifying.

With the exception of CBS' sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (8:30 tonight, Channel 3), where the geeks (or nerds, if you prefer) were clearly born that way and the only thing being thrust upon them is the dim hope of a social life (and some even dimmer hopes involving their new blond neighbor's breasts), much of what I've been referring to as Geek TV is really the stories of people who've had greatness, not geekiness, thrust upon them, mostly in the form of unrequested superpowers.

It should probably disturb me, but somehow doesn't, that the best of these, the CW's "Reaper" (9 p.m. tomorrow, Channel 57), is about a slacker (Bret Harrison) who learns on his 21st birthday that his parents have sold his soul to the devil (Ray Wise).

Like George (Ellen Muth), the young heroine of Showtime's late, lamented "Dead Like Me," who only got a life after she'd lost hers, Sam Oliver (Harrison) has frittered away his first 21 years, leaving college after a month (because it made him tired), underachieving on the job at the Home Depot-like Work Bench, hanging out with his equally aimless friend Bert "Sock" Wysocki ("Invasion's" Tyler Labine).

The devil, though, is about to make a man of him.

Sam, who is drafted into a war against the escapees from Hell, finds himself working as a bounty hunter for the Big Guy Downstairs, using a variety of tools (starting with a very special model of the Dirt Devil) to get the job done.

Wise, of "Twin Peaks" fame, is terrifyingly charming as Satan, offering Sam the only true guidance and discipline he's apparently ever received and reducing his parents (Allison Hossack and Andrew Airlie) to the role of hapless, if not entirely innocent, bystanders.

It's a dicey, even devilish, situation, but the Kevin Smith-directed pilot manages to let Sam's parents just enough off the hook to keep "Reaper" comic while giving the devil, well, his due.

NBC, meanwhile, has decided that a struggling network can't have too many "Heroes," tonight bookending the returning sci-fi hit with "Chuck" (8 p.m., Channel 10) and "Journeyman" (10 p.m., Channel 10), and introducing an updated "Bionic Woman" on Wednesday.

"Chuck," which may remind the few who saw "Jake 2.0" of that short-lived UPN series, stars "Less Than Perfect's" Zachary Levi as another big box-store employee, Chuck Bartowski, who goes from zero to hero when he accidentally downloads an entire database of government secrets to his brain and suddenly finds himself in constant danger.

And you wonder that TV executives so fear the Internet?

"The O.C." team of Josh Schwartz and McG keep this one fast and mostly funny, but it's no "Heroes."

Neither is "Journeyman," which stars "Rome's" Kevin McKidd as San Francisco newspaperman Dan Vasser, who begins blowing deadlines when he becomes a time traveler.

An overly complicated pilot had me feeling that I, too, would like to time-travel, if not actually fast-forward, but a more straightforward second episode made me decide not to cancel my subscription just yet.

Geeks who've waited decades for the return of Jaime Sommers may not all be happy with "Bionic Woman" (9 p.m. Wednesday, Channel 10), which has had a "Battlestar Galactica"-style makeover, courtesy of "Galactica's" David Eick (who also enlisted Katee "Starbuck" Sackhoff in what appears to be a recurring role).

Not that there's anything wrong with Sci Fi's "Galactica," which is smart in a way few network sci-fi imitators aspire to. But like the new "Bionic Woman," it comes from a darker place than the original "Six Million Dollar Man" spinoff did (as a measure of inflation, Jaime's new hardware now costs some $50 million).

Jaime herself (Michelle Ryan) is also darker, as in dark brunette, and there's a distinct "Alias" overtone to her initiation into the dark side of the force.

If I'd liked "Alias," this might have me all excited. But I didn't, so I'm not.

The readers weigh in ...

Daily News

Reader Reviewers didn't exactly stand up and cheer for the new "Bionic Woman," awarding the NBC remake a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

"I want to like this show, but the plot sort of left me cold," wrote Bob Johnson, of Warminster.

"There were too many pieces of the show that do not seem to fit together," wrote Tanea Hubbard, of Southwest Philadelphia.

"I wouldn't be surprised if this is popular," wrote Sandi Steinmetz, of Holmesburg. "I could take it or leave it, though." *

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