(l-r) Emma D'Arcy, Nick Frost, and Samson Kanyo star in <em>Truth Seekers</em>.
Enlarge / (l-r) Emma D’Arcy, Nick Frost, and Samson Kanyo star in Reality Seekers.

Amazon Prime

A lonely broadband installer with a facet gig as a ghost hunter and his new associate encounter extra supernatural intrigue than they bargained for in Reality Seekers, a brand new comedy sequence on Amazon Prime, created by Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. We’re followers of Paul, Shaun of the Useless, and the remainder of the Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy, so it is good to see Frost and Pegg again collectively on-screen once more. Reality Seekers brings their distinctive comedian sensibility to the subject of paranormal investigation.

Per the official synopsis:

Reality Seekers is a supernatural comedy sequence a couple of group of part-time paranormal investigators who group as much as uncover and movie ghost sightings throughout the UK, sharing their adventures on a web-based channel for all to see. Nevertheless, as they stake out haunted church buildings, underground bunkers and deserted hospitals with their array of home made ghost-detecting gizmos, their supernatural experiences develop extra frequent, extra terrifying and even lethal, as they start to uncover a conspiracy that might result in Armageddon for all the human race.

Frost performs Gus—a lonely widowed man with a boring job putting in broadband for a corporation known as SMYLE—who moonlights as an newbie paranormal investigator. The titular Reality Seekers is the identify of his YouTube channel. Pegg has a considerably smaller function (when it comes to display time) as Gus’ cheerfully exuberant boss, Dave, who sports activities a positively disastrous wig and appears to be very eager on at all times sustaining “one hundred pc protection.” Is he actually that gung-ho about customer support, or is there some ulterior motive at SMYLE?

Gus’ snug routine adjustments abruptly with the addition of a brand new associate to coach: Elton (Samson Kayo, Dolittle), who’s a bit doubtful about the entire ghost-hunting facet gig. However supernatural exercise appears to be on the rise, which is how they meet Astrid (Emma D’Arcy, Hannah). She stops their automotive on the street one night time claiming she’s being pursued by ghosts. The remainder of the forged contains Gus’ cantankerous father-in-law Richard (Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange, Bombshell); Elton’s agoraphobic sister Helen (Susie Wokoma, Yr of the Rabbit, Enola Holmes), who hosts a YouTube channel that includes tutorials on cosplay make-up; and Dr. Peter Toynbee (Julian Barratt, In Material), a magical motivational speaker whose targets additionally is perhaps extra sinister than they seem.

As we reported beforehand, Reality Seekers was envisioned from the beginning as a cross between The X-Information and the British TV sequence Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World—with added comedy. Saunders talked about he wished to make a “humorous X-Information,” and Frost and Serafinowicz had been eager on the thought. As for selecting Gus’ career, “We had been attempting to think about an earthly job that might counterbalance them being ghost hunters of their spare time but additionally would get them into numerous distinction locations and homes,” mentioned Serafinowicz. A broadband set up skilled appeared superb.

After Pegg got here on board, the group realized the Wi-Fi/tech angle supplied an underlying theme for the present about loneliness and the impression of expertise on our lives. “These folks, and the ghosts they’re searching for, are all not directly lonely and attempting to attach,” Saunders advised Ars, and expertise is a time-honored conduit for making these connections. As examples, he cited Nineteenth-century spirit images, the notorious Cottingley Fairies hoax, and extra lately Ring and related Japanese horror movies. (If you have not seen Ring or its 2002 US remake, we cannot spoil it for you, however you will by no means utterly belief your TV once more.)

“It is meddling with the concept ghosts may begin to make the most of expertise to bridge our world and theirs,” mentioned Saunders. “We had this concept of ‘What if a World Conflict II radar station might truly be blocking a modern-day Wi-Fi sign? And what if that Wi-Fi sign was doing extra than simply offering folks with nice obtain speeds? What if it was tied into one thing larger and stranger?'”

Every of the eight episodes focuses on a selected paranormal incident, a throwback to a traditional monster-of-the-week format, though the eagle-eyed viewer will spot a number of key clues to a broader narrative arc that culminates within the closing two episodes. “It is like having our cake and consuming, as a result of we love the story-of-the-week format and having a distinct sort of haunting or spooky location,” mentioned Saunders. “However on this day of bingeable TV, we need to give folks a cause to look at the whole lot so as, perhaps all in a few sittings, and to piece collectively the thriller that builds over the course of the present.”

“It is their day job to be in a distinct place every episode, [and] they only occur to come upon totally different ghosts,” mentioned Serafinowicz. However whereas all of it feels coincidental at the beginning, “There is a cause all this stuff are occurring to them; it turns into clear that each one this stuff are someway associated.”

Slightly than going with pure spoof, Reality Seekers takes its horror critically—fairly intentionally, based on feedback Pegg made throughout a panel this previous summer season on the digital ComicCon@Residence. “It is a balancing act. There’s some issues that may’t work in comedy,” mentioned Serafinowicz, and the identical for the horror style. “We picked two of the toughest genres the place individuals are fast to guage: ‘Go on then, make me snicker.’ Or ‘Oh, you thought that was scary?’ However we by no means wished to only parody the horror.” Additionally they avoided extreme violence or gore, specializing in “the creep and the dread, and some soar scares,” mentioned Saunders, which makes Reality Seekers downright household pleasant (for older children, a minimum of).

“We did not need to have gag after gag when it got here to the comedy,” Saunders added. “We wished the humor to come back from the characters and the way in which they reply to the conditions they discover themselves in. It lets you get to know the characters and love them somewhat than really feel like they are a fixed joke machine.”

On that rating, Reality Seekers most positively succeeds, step by step fleshing out the characters and revealing their backstories. The forged is terrific, gamely taking pictures scenes in creepy previous buildings, darkish tunnels, and even an deserted animal testing facility—though one may want for extra on-screen time between Frost and Pegg, who exhibit their normal sturdy chemistry.

McDowell is especially pleasant because the curmudgeonly Richard, taking full benefit of the chance to display his comedian presents. Each Saunders and Serafinowicz admitted to being a bit star-struck at first when McDowell arrived on set. “He is so good, such a legend, and somebody I’ve admired all my life,” mentioned Serafinowicz. “My mum could not consider that I truly met him.”

Reality Seekers is at present streaming on Amazon Prime.

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