Review by Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions
This is a non-spoiler review.
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg reunite to bring you Truth Seekers, a new series now streaming on Amazon. Gus (Nick Frost) is a broadband installation technician who hunts ghosts on the side for his Truth Seekers YouTube channel. He enlists Elton (Samson Koyo) into paranormal investigations while the two install coaxial cable and routers all over Great Britain. Along the way they encounter Astrid (Emma D’Arcy), a young woman who they attempt to help rid of the spirits that are pursuing her. As the mysteries mount they enlist Elton’s sister Helen (Susan Wokoma) and Gus’s dad (Malcom MacDowell). Simon Pegg is Dave, Gus’s doddering boss who sends him out on his installation assignments which happen to be located at sites of paranormal activity.
The series has strong performances throughout, and Nick Frost shines as the lead of the ensemble. Gus is driven and passionate about the paranormal and can be a bit of a bully at times, brushing over or just unaware of the feelings of others who may not share his enthusiasm and willingness to enter possibly dangerous situations.
As the episodes unfold we get more and more hints at the backstories for each of the principal characters who seem real and well-rounded and have great chemistry with each other. Elton and Helen seem like real siblings, and their bickering reflects that of Gus and Dad.
An obvious comparison for this series is Ghostbusters. They’re both ensemble comedies that deal with the paranormal. Truth Seekers, like Ghostbusters, takes its supernatural elements seriously; the ghosts are all real and frightening. It’s a supernatural mystery with comic elements rather than a comedy with supernatural elements like Ghostbusters. Tonally the two works are different. Truth Seekers doesn’t have the dry, irreverent sarcasm of Ghostbusters but instead has more of a heart.
Another main difference is in the characters. In Ghostbusters the main characters are all static, but in Truth Seekers each of the main characters has an arc and personal mystery to solve, and if they don’t resolve them completely, they’re closer to a resolution by the end of season one than they were at the outset. They are seeking truth both within and without. The characters keep us invested, and their personal stories are even more compelling than the overarching plot.
Another comparison would be to Scooby Doo-Where Are You? Gus, Elton, Astrid, and Helen literally ride around in a mystery van solving mysteries. The only thing missing is a cowardly dog and a mask to pull off the old man behind the “haunting.” Truth Seekers is like Scooby-Doo, but for grown-ups.
There are some meta elements to the show as well. The company Gus and Dave work for is called Smyle which has a smile in its logo similar to the Amazon logo. This is also a show about people making a show. Truth Seekers is the YouTube channel, a sort of amature version of Ghost Adventures. As host of the show, Gus has a flair for the dramatic not unlike Zak Bagans, the host of Ghost Adventures.
The only real flaw can be found in the show’s pacing. It’s a bit uneven, moving slowly in places and then racing to the finish in the last couple of episodes, but this is a minor quibble.
Truth Seekers combines elements of episodic and serialized storytelling over eight episodes. Each week Gus and his band of misfits encounter a new mystery. The dramatic irony is that each of these little mysteries feeds into the overall story arc and builds to a climax. It’s by no means a reinvention of the form, but it makes for a compelling series that I highly recommend.
Truth Seekers is now streaming on Amazon Prime.