Normally ghosts are portrayed as scary, but when they’re actually funny instead, it’s a whole different feel.
This is the case in a series simply called Ghosts.
In the half-hour comedy, married New Yorkers Samantha and Jay believe that their dreams have come true when they move into a beautiful country house. They’re shocked to discover that not only is the structure falling apart but it’s inhabited by a number of ghosts who died on the grounds of the mansion and are now bound to the area until they can reach the afterlife.
To make things just a bit more wacky, following a near-death experience, Samantha can see and hear the ghosts, but Jay cannot.
The series is based on a UK version, which laid the groundwork for this endeavor, but the executive producers still have some questions about procedures for the ghosts, explains Joe Wiseman. “Obviously, since it’s based on another show, there were already a number of rules in place. But one of the things I most enjoy in the writers’ room is sort of bringing up some things we don’t have an answer for. I think [someone asked], ‘why can we walk through walls but we don’t fall through the floor,’ and stuff like that. On set we have all sorts of debates about [things like], ‘Can they lean on furniture? Can they sit down?’”
That mythology is a big part of the show, says Wiseman, but, “[while] we want to be consistent, we also want to push the limits and find out where the rules [can] bend.”
He lets it slip that in a future episode there is a discovery of a material that the ghosts cannot pass through.
Fellow executive producer Joe Port adds, “We [also] like to reveal things slowly.”
He points to an example in which the creative team dropped a line in the pilot about a certain ghost’s power, and then paid it off several episodes later. “We got to learn at a very opportune time that when she walks through people, they get super happy. It’s fun to kind of drip these things out slowly as we move forward.”
MORE FOR YOU
The cast is rather large, with eight ghosts haunting Samantha and Jay’s residence.
But, says Urkarsh Ambudkar, who plays Jay, says, “I think we’ve really developed a nice rhythm as an ensemble. Technically, the show requires a lot to make it work, so we’ve been able find our pace. I think we all know each other’s strengths and less-strengths. We’re supporting each other better every day. It’s really a fun work situation to be in.”
He admits though that, “When we showed up [for the first time on set], we didn’t know each other’s names. We had no idea what was happening. I had no idea who was alive and who was a ghost.”
Brandon Scott Jones, who plays the ghost Isaac, agrees, “I remember not knowing who was alive and who was dead.” Then he laughs and adds, “But that had nothing to do with the show. That was just my genuine way I approach most rooms I go into.”
Playing ghost Alberta is, “a dream of a lifetime,” says Danielle Pinnock, explaining, “I was in the middle of a global pandemic, in my PJs watching a ton of Selling Sunset, and this audition happened over Zoom. When I got cast, it was the greatest moment of my life. I’ve been in this industry for a very long time, getting paid in pizza, doing a ton of theater, so to be back in the network with my CBS family – I’ve been doing Young Sheldon for four years – just felt like it was kismet.”
A surprise to all had been the reaction to the show on social media.
In fact, interaction between Rose McIver, who plays Samantha, and viewers has sparked CBS to run a Ghosts marathon.
McIver explains what transpired, saying, “A lot of people ask me which is my favorite ghost, and I’m always like ‘I can’t do that. That’s like choosing which is your favorite child. But I’m going to put you guys all in the position where you have to choose your favorite episode.’”
Then the team announced that viewers could vote for their favorite episodes using Twitter, Instagram and TikTok with the top five episodes airing in what they’re calling a #Ghostmas Catch-Up, airing on December 23rd from 8:30pm – 11pm ET.
Port says, “I’ve seen the episodes a thousand times by the time they air, but I love watching them just to basically look at Twitter. I’ve not been involved in a lot of shows where there’s so much real-time stuff happening when the show is airing and the fan response is great.”
McIver adds, “I feel like the audience is so wide for this show. When you go online and you can find people all over the world, from all different backgrounds and life experiences, finding something in your show they connect with, it’s a complete honor.”
She really feels that it’s the closeness of that cast that really pulls viewers in, saying, “I think we all genuinely like each other, and I feel like that translates [on-screen]. It feels like a connection in a time [when] that’s something we all need and want more than ever.”
The ‘Ghosts’ marathon airs Thursday, December 23rd 8:30pm to 11pm ET on CBS. The regular timeslot for the series is Thursdays at 9/8c. ‘Ghosts’ is also available for streaming on Paramount+.