Like every year, the TV series universe is back from its summer break and the networks compete for a bigger slice of the audience with new projects. They often struggle to produce anything truly original and often revert to revamping or giving a new angle to one of their safe assets.
For Fox, it’ll be a supernatural comedy cop show entitled Ghosted, featuring a dysfunctional duo facing paranormal cases involving parallel universes, ghosts and creatures of all kinds.
The two main actors are household names. There's Adam Scott, the rockstar of the TV series scene, recently spotted in Big Little Lies but mainly known for his role as a sweet geek in Parks and Recreation. Craig Robinson, a veteran of comedy series such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office and Kenny Power, is his partner.
Although the two actors seem to mesh rather well together in the pilot, the jokes often fall flat and the whole thing feels rehashed and predictable.
More Scooby-Doo than X-Files
Fox's new series is obviously a parody of The X-Files, with Mulder and Scully as two goofy cops with an affinity for strange phenomenons. Actually, though, Ghosted is closer to a kind of Live Action Scooby Doo than anything, with specters as common pets.
One of them is Max, an ultra qualified professor hooked on UFOs whom everybody thinks is completely barmy. The other is Leroy, a retired cop specializing in the supernatural and now working as a security guard in a shopping mall.
With the way he talks and his sharp rejoinders, Craig Robinson steals the show, despite Adam Scott's reputation. The characters of Max and Leroy are weird enough to make us smile from time to time but not, unfortunately, make us laugh. The tone oscillates between silly – if not crass – jokes and comical situations that do work, but that are pretty predictable: we've seen this kind of thing before. It's a pity because both actors have real potential and could have made of Ghosted more than just another weird cops show.
The series also fails because of its pre-formatted editing, the bane of this TV series genre. CGI is acceptable despite the small budget, although the camera work is limited to face/reverse angle over rapid-fire jokes and one-liners. The pilot is well done and works well, but feels unimaginative and, well, standard.
Ghosted had a few things going for it though, like the supernatural angle. The music score, composed by Matt Hill and Jeff Russo (which puts us in mind of Ghostbusters and Kavinsky), is great too and add value to the production.
Fox is not about to revolutionize the procedural genre with Ghosted: even the supernatural plot and Max and Leroy's antics are not enough to fully engage the viewers. Despite this though, the casting is solid and the show does have potential, although it is likely to end up just another item on the long list of forgettable shows, the type of easy-watching stuff you slump in front after work and before bed.