from Amazon Prime Truth seekers by Sean of the Dead duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is a mix of British comedy and ghost hunting. Let’s hope the series becomes today’s Ghostbusters, says Emily Wilson
November 4, 2020
Jim Champ Smith
Amazon Prime Video
COMEDY duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have specialized in writing and starring films (Shaun of the dead, end of the world) that blend warm, beautifully drawn British comedy and classic horror themes. Their latest release, a TV series called Truth Seekers, stems from that same delicious tradition.
The title’s Truth Seekers are a gang that travels across England to investigate the paranormal. Given this, I asked my editors at new scientist why i was asked to review a show about ghosts when i was not allowed to review the witcher at its output. At the time, I was told, “There has to be science in this. We are a science magazine. Witches are not science. This time they said, “Is it like ghost hunters? Are there gadgets? Because if it is, it matters. It’s technology.
And indeed, it’s kind of an amplified English version of ghost hunters, complete with homemade ghost-detecting gadgets that flash and make noise whenever ghosts approach. So, yes, of course it should be commented on in a scientific magazine!
Our ghost hunters here are Gus (played by Frost), broadband installer by day, ghost hunter vlogger by night, his nervous new sidekick Elton (Samson Kayo) and additional sidekick Astrid (Emma D’Arcy), whom they pick up along the way.
This triumvirate is variously supported and hindered in their ghost hunting by Gus’ father, Richard (Malcolm McDowell), Elton’s sister, Helen (Susan Wokoma) and what really amounts to just a Pegg cameo, playing Gus’ boss (in a very weird wig) at a high speed. company called Smyle.
Frost, who co-wrote and is also a producer on the show, is never wrong, but for me the star of the show is Kayo. It’s hard to play a big, loose flan and be really funny, but Kayo pulls it off. McDowell’s presence of course adds extra class to the already chic ensemble, and there’s a clever nod to A clockwork orangethe truly heartbreaking dystopian film of his young career, in a plot involving the eyes.
“The star of the series is Kayo. It’s hard to play a loose flan and be really funny, but he pulls it off”
As with anything filmed before the pandemic, you’ll have to get used to how close the characters are (especially when they’ve only just met) and how often they needlessly pat each other and take cups of tea from each other. hands of strangers without apparent concern.
My worries about Truth seekers are double. First of all, is it funny or scary enough, or both? To me, it was only mildly funny – although I liked the gorgeous writing – and it wasn’t in the least bit scary. I wonder if that’s enough, although maybe the show is aimed at a much younger audience than I represent.
Second, the structure. Because the show isn’t exactly densely plotted, the story arc advances little in each 30-minute episode. So you end up not getting a lot of comedy and certainly not a lot of creepy woo-woo for your episode money, and then on top of that not a whole lot of new story either.
Eventually, the plot heats up pretty nicely, and I ended the eight-episode season intrigued and ready for more. But will people still be watching? What I’m hoping is that this turns out to be the quiet first season, establishing who our new friends are and why we should care about them, and that it leads into something a little more inescapable – and potentially as much of a smash hit as the first ghost hunters in 1984.
Emily also recommends…
A clockwork orange
Kubrick’s 1971 retelling of Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel is brilliant, visually stunning, and deeply moving. It deserves to be called a classic, and I think Malcolm McDowell is superb in it, but I can see why – due to the elegant, aloof way in which Kubrick delivers horror and violence – it’s always been controversial.
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