When I read that Nichole Sakura would be appearing in the second season of the American adaptation of Ghosts, I decided to binge the first one, which the Beeb has kindly made available on the iPlayer! I bailed on the British original after a couple eps, though I don’t really remember why… something about the tone, I think… but I didn’t have any problems wolfing down this version, in short order. For those who don’t know, the series follows a New York couple (‘Sam’ (Rose McIver) and ‘Jay’ (Utkarsh Ambudkar)) who inherit a dilapidated country mansion which they hope to renovate as a bed-and-breakfast… though their plans are complicated when Sam has a near-death experience, and gains the ability to see and hear the many ghosts haunting the property, who don’t take kindly to the new interlopers. Tonally, the show’s quite an odd-duck, as the overall vibe is quite cosy and comforting, but the world-views and attitudes espoused by some of the ghost characters can be quite disturbing and malevolent, especially towards the “livings”, even if their archaic/misanthropic/homicidal outbursts are generally played for laughs.
At first the main draw for me character-wise was the eternally-spaced-out hippie-ghost “Flower” (Sheila Carrasco), but all of the ensemble cast/characters are fun to watch, individually or in combos, and they’ve really grown on me over the last few months… though the douche-y, Yiddish-slinging stockbroker-ghost ‘Trevor’ (Asher Grodman) still kinda looks/acts a lot like ‘Schmidt’-from-New-Girl, so it’s kinda hard not to compare them… and for the first few eps of S1, I was worried that Revolutionary-War-ghost ‘Isaac’s (Brandon Scott Jones) closeted homosexuality was just going to be treated as a cheap running joke, but thankfully in ep #1.8 (“D&D”) they actually gave him a ship-worthy love interest, and started nudging him towards accepting and acting upon his attraction. Yay!
Obviously my fave eps were the ones that gave Flower the most screen-time, such as #1.7 (“Flower’s Article”), which revealed a little more about her past, allowing Carrasco to show her range, while also giving the character some affirmative encouragement. It was also a lot of fun seeing Ivers cosplaying as a fake Flower for a “dumb deaths” TV-show in ep #2.8! And, of course, I greatly enjoyed the (all-too-brief) arc where gossipy Native-American-storyteller-ghost “Sass” (Román Zaragoza) romanced the permanently-tipsy-“car-ghost” ‘Jessica’ (Sakura) (#2.11-13), even if her premature departure did leave a gaping hole in the series, imho. I mean, aside from my fondness for the actress, I was looking forward to seeing how Sam & Jay would deal with taking on a new employee (the haunted-car’s living owner, ‘Freddie’ (Mike Lane)), and when-or-if they’d loop him in on Sam’s powers and the existence of ghosts… but that was all given the shortest of shrift, and frankly the way Sam & Jay kept gaslighting* and manipulating Freddie made them look extremely dickish (and borderline abusive). Oh, and ep #1.6 (“Pete’s Wife”) actually made me cry a little, so there’s that.
Aside from Sakura, my fave guest-stars would have to be Odessa A’zion as ’80s-“mean-girl”-ghost ‘Stephanie’ (eps #1.17, #2.20), who hibernates in the attic, and only awakens once per season… Katharine Isabelle as ‘Liz’ an old (but still-living) “influencer” friend of Sam’s (ep #1.13)… Rachael Harris as Sam’s disapproving mother ‘Sheryl’ (ep #1.11)… and Crystle Lightning as Sass’s old crush ‘Shiki’ (now also a ghost, haunting a newspaper office) (eps #1.7, 2.4/21).
* I accidentally typed “ghostlighting” there at first!
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