Ghosted First Look Review: Exorcising never felt so borrowed

Chad White

Season 1, Episode 1

This is a First Look Review of Ghosted starring Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Ally Walker, Adeel Akhtar, and Amber Stevens West.

It's like a package-like deal.

There’s a reason why Ghosted holds a distinctive 80’s vibe. Make no mistake, this show is a dead ringer for a Ghostbusters/Beetlejuice hybrid with splashes of actual horror (thanks in part to today’s visual effects capability). It’s simply interesting to watch – even if not everything is falling into place. The show is like Men in Black for today with all manners of the supernatural slated to appear. Ghosted stands on its own but has trouble defining itself in its premiere. The pace fights with the scripts and two dimensional characters can’t jump off the screen. With that being said, the show is fun to watch – capturing the popcorn feel of the referenced decade.

Max (Adam Scott) and Leroy (Craig Robinson) are thrust, quickly, into the roles of paranormal investigators they did not want. Max is a disgraced professor turned book store employee and paranormal theorist while Leroy is a disgraced LA police officer turned mall cop. Their lives change when an agent for The Bureau Underground names them as his successor. The initial dichotomy between the two heroes is astoundingly overused. Scott is nerdy and needy. Craig is grizzled, annoyed and hates Scott. Thankfully, this is rectified well before the credits roll. Ally Walker, Adeel Akhtar, and Amber Stevens West lead the guys as they try to solve the mystery of the missing agent. None of them were defined well enough to form definitive likability yet.

The show – created by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten – is fast and fluid but has its share of stumbles. The script moves at a pace only noticeable to those looking for issues. Max and Leroy cover as much ground as Riggs and Murtaugh do in double the time. An entire episode could’ve focused on a nuclear power plant the two escaped from in record time. Jokes are funny yet often foreshadowed before the punchline, leaving what should be funny tags falling flat. Still, there are those that excel and take the show to new heights. With the pace in tact, the bad jokes are swept under the rug in favor of the good bits. Constantly drugging Max and Leroy proves to be a solid joke. Having a Bureau worker comment on them waking too soon brings it home.

Musical composition from Matt Hill is also a highlight. Here, he uses the synths and pop style music that was so trendy within its original decade. Character interaction and scripting mixed with the music is what gives Ghosted a confident feeling. Director Jonathan Krisel is no stranger to weird shows. He handles his duties with the same distinction that made his other projects special. On top of that, the quick cuts and editing emphasize everything from the camera movements to the music. It’s all picture perfect.

Should you watch Ghosted?

It all depends on if the show attracts your sensibilities. Fans of Ghostbusters and the like as well as the 80’s will be satiated. Even though it’s only a pilot, there’s still a lot of kinks to work out.