By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Nick Frost is the lead in the team of Truth Seekers on Amazon Prime. Together, with Samson Kayo, Emma D’Arcy and Susie Wokoma, they make up the quad of would-be paranormal investigators, Gus Roberts, Elton John, Astrid and Susie. They don’t realize the places they are exploring are related. The setup is everything I believe Ghost Wars on Netflix wanted to be, but didn’t ultimately take off. The only difference is with how comedy is injected into the characterizations than the situation.
By the end of series one, just what this gang has to deal with goes beyond chasing down ghosts around South England. They don’t even realize they are stumbling into a global sized conspiracy of Dalek-sized proportions! Pop culture references aside, I think Pegg took an idea from a classic Star Trek episode and went further with it. In reality, it all boils down to what the Draecepta Mortnorum, a book of spells, represents as a tome of untold power.
Paranormal pop star, Dr. Peter Toynbee (Julian Barratt) wants it! He’s the type who loves the attention, and he’s at comic book conventions entertaining with stories. But he doesn’t let on he’s recruiting for his cult. His desire to reach Eternus is far worse than what New York architect, Ivo Shandor, wanted. Instead of bringing about the Apocalypse, it’s about celebrating the Eclipse as though it’s a means to bridge dimensions.
The talents behind this new series are Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, James Serafinowicz and Nat Saunders. They fashioned a truly eerie tale worthy of being Ghostbusters UK Edition. Stealing the show is Malcolm McDowell, playing Gus’ grumpy and irrepressible father-in-law, Richard. The elder isn’t proud Gus is hiding from the world after his wife died. He never learned the truth of what actually happened, but he was traumatized enough to seek escape. As a modem technician for SMYLE, he can dedicate himself to his job.
This company is Britain’s biggest mobile and internet service provider and this man’s skills are praised. Despite his moonlighting, taping himself at haunted places for his video blog, just what he reveals is nothing compared to the larger plot. Sadly, a team of computer coders own the real YouTube channel, and a tie-in is not likely to happen soon unless Dave (Pegg) invades this world and works some magic!
As the tech mogul, he doesn’t say a thing about Gus pulling double duty not only for him but also for his video channel. Instead, he sets the guy up to mentor a newbie, Elton (Kayo). This apprentice is made a cameraman for and by episode five,”The Ghost of the Beast of Bodmin” the boys are knee deep in a situation they didn’t want to become part of.
This series is less about the paranormal in the classic sense, but more about where spirituality can lead us to trans-humanism. The whole thing about ghosts in the shell is played up, and this program can be genre-defying as long as it doesn’t fall into familiar territory ala Insidious’ The Further or Stranger Things’ Upside Down. The creators are essentially pulling from a vast catalogue of tropes from horror movies to deliver the frights, but for how this program can bust conventions in the classic Pegg & Frost tradition, that’s up to series two to define.
My hope for season two is to see Timothy Dalton in a role. He’d no doubt side with the bad guys when considering how well he played a mad time lord in Doctor Who. I’d love to see him and McDowell face off one another.