When I was growing up, I lived in a haunted house. I never saw a ghost, but there were definitely unpleasant energies milling about – I had the same nightmare for five years while living there, and when talking to my sister about it years later, she confessed that she, too, had a nightmare over and over, and it only stopped when we moved. The house was old and grim, with shadowy corners and deep closets, and there were always creatures scurrying or slithering around. It felt heavy, as if we were slowly being suffocated.
I’ve never missed that place, but if I’d had company like the people in “Ghosts,” I might have enjoyed my time there. “Ghosts” is the story of a woman, Samantha, who inherits a house from a distant relative, and after a fall down the stairs, she can see the ghosts that inhabit the house and the land, including soldiers from the Revolutionary War, a jazz singer, a Lenape Native American, a troop leader, a Wall Street tycoon, and a hippie, and more. A shaky truce is established, where the ghosts promise not to interfere with the Arondekar’s plans for the house, and Samantha helps them by fulfilling their requests, like making pizza, playing jazz, and translating for her husband while he DMs a game of Dungeons & Dragons with some of the ghosts.
I have not seen the original British TV show, but the American version piqued my interest, so I’ll be attempting to find a place to stream it to see the differences between the shows. I appreciate the American version because of its cast (a normal group of Americans instead of just white people), the humor regarding American history, and the nerdy references, particularly regarding Dungeons & Dragons. If you’ve ever wanted to know what The Office, Parks & Rec, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine would be like if everyone were ghosts, you’d get a pretty good idea of how “Ghosts” unfolds.
I have to admit, however, that I was skeptical going in. I don’t enjoy sitcoms very often, as many of them focus on characters without ever seeing them grow or change, instead relying on the same old issues to write tired jokes that don’t go anywhere and wouldn’t be funny without a laugh track to tell you when to emote. I enjoy the rare episode here and there, but until “Ghosts,” I figured I just didn’t enjoy sitcoms. Luckily, that has changed with the advent of shows like this and Alan Tudyk’s “Resident Alien.”
I think the reason these are so refreshing is that they aren’t afraid to step outside of most sitcoms’ comfort zones. Aliens, ghosts, history, murder, etc., don’t often start as the premise of a sitcom, even if they occasionally show up in several random episodes. I think too that these premises also allow for character growth and change, so as long as they don’t continue for the next twenty years, we should see a satisfactory ending with plenty of resolution to satisfy viewers.
Though I’ve gone through my share of weird paranormal experiences, they were not enjoyable or humorous, unlike Samatha’s interactions with the ghosts inhabiting her relative’s house. This was a great change of pace from the horror of the dead to the appreciation of those who have gone before us and who might still have a thing to teach us about the world and ourselves. Or, we can at least learn from their mistakes.
If you’d like to see “Ghosts,” you can do so by going to Paramount Plus.