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Ghosts - Spies - Review: It's Spice Girls Season

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Has there been a more perfect timing for a TV show to return than Ghosts premiering just on the cusp of October? If you're anything like me, then just the idea of Spooky Season being upon us has you a little giddy inside, and Spies was the perfect way to celebrate that.

When Ghosts premiered last season, I was genuinely surprised by how well it balanced its dark humor with key, emotional beats, enough to separate itself from the original material (BBC sitcom that premiered in 2019 and also returned for another season this week). I've always been drawn to ensemble comedies, but they can be hit or miss, especially with audiences (still missing Trial and Error here). Luckily, this show has managed to keep folks coming back week after week. Part of it is due to the fantastic cast--Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar make a perfect TV couple trying to open Woodstone B&B in a mansion full of ghosts--but another huge winning element is the clever writing.

Within the first two minutes, the show debunks a major theory that had been circling around since the season one finale aired: would Jay be able to see the ghosts this season? The fakeout, while disappointing to some, especially after seeing the promotional pictures, is just genius. Personally, one of my favorite things about this show right now is the balance of POVs between Sam and Jay, and giving away "Sam's powers" so easily like that after just one season would have been a bit rushed. I absolutely look forward to the day Jay sees and hugs Pete, but it's too soon right now. Let's give it at least another season or two?

Spies takes great advantage of the show's premise by using the ghosts to spy on Sam and Jay's first B&B guests, and what horrible guests they are. The Midwestern couple appears to be exceedingly congenial in front of Sam and Jay's face, only to be 1-star Yelp reviewers who complain about every tiny little thing (the audacity of grumbling about complimentary chocolate chip cookies and cocktails!). This gives the entire cast a ton of material to work with, but the episode shines when it focuses on Sam and the lengths she would go to please her guests. The storyline neatly ends with the reveal that the guests never realized they weren't being anonymous on Yelp, but luckily they are going to unplug the laptop now and all is set in the world.

I'm happy to report that Nigel and Isaac are still together to some extent, and it makes sense for the show to pull the focus on the friends Isaac has made, like Thor, and how a boyfriend could fit in to all of that. It's a classic "early relationship woes" subplot, and the show handles these characters very well, especially as the possibilities for Nigel/Thor are endless. Having Hetty hilariously point out that bottling your feelings inside will eventually turn into "sweet, sweet milk of mother morphine to numb the pain" is very on-point with her character and was a major laugh-out-loud moment for me. And as if this show couldn't be any more perfect, they go ahead and throw in a Spice Girls reference. That's the moment in my notes-taking process where I just went "yep, 10/10, no notes".

It's so good to have Ghosts back just in time for Spooky Season - and yes, this is a desperate cry for the show to give us a Halloween-themed episode this year. If this premiere is any indication, we are in for another hilarious, fun stay at Woodstone this year. I, for one, cannot wait.

Scary Delights from the B&B:

- "The fates of industry should not be decided by commoners. Sometimes you bite into a sausage and you get a worker's thumb. Get on with your miserable day and let the factory owners be."

- "Avoid relationship conflict at all costs. Yes. Bottle it up. Allow the resentment to fester until the hatred becomes so ever-present you must turn to the sweet, sweet milk of mother morphine to numb the pain."

- "Where are you going, Tom?"
- "To unplug my laptop, Debbie. We got to get those reviews off-line."

- "If you wanna be my special companion, you gotta get with my Viking friend."

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